Headies 2016: Why musicians ‘boycotted’ Nigeria’s most prestigious music awards

Olamide, Adekunle Gold, Lil Kesh, Viktoh (YBNL Crew)

So why did celebrities boycott the Headies? Why did Nigeria's most prestigious awards get a low celebrity turn out?

The Headies was boycotted by Nigerian musicians. That fact was evident as the award show started. A huge number of fans were quick to point out the long rows of reserved seats for nominees and stars who failed to turn up.

The show which held on December 23, 2016, at the Eko Convention Centre, Eko Hotels & Suites, had a very low turnout of celebrities. Their absence was glaring with numerous nominees and awardees absent at the award.


The show which was hosted by Falz and Adesua Etomi and celebrated the best of Nigerian music had many awardees fail to turn up. Numerous awards were left unclaimed by the winners as some presenters had to take the awards with them backstage.

Notable absentees were the entire members of Mavin Records and YBNL Records, two music companies whose bosses had a bitter spat at the previous edition.

Simi failed to claim her award for “Best Vocal Performance”, Kiss Daniel failed to claim an award, Illblisss who was a big winner in two categories, Patoranking who won the Best Reggae/Dancehall single was absent, and Olamide won two awards, but was a no show.

So why did celebrities boycott the Headies?

The first reason is that celebrities didn’t really boycott the Headies. A lot of them came too late to be given a seat at the head of the table, or step forward to accept their awards. Over the past two years, the Headies had started the show late in a bid to accommodate the lateness of stars. But this year was different. The organisers decided to kick off the award without the artistes. And the results was poor for TV.

Also, the Headies date for this year is in December, a holiday season when the stars are booked for numerous paid events. With clients to satisfy across the world, many artistes, being businessmen, would rather make the right choice of making money, than showing up at the Headies.

The Headies provides recognition and promotion, but performance fees are the reason why many stars do this, and they will rather be making money than making good waves on TV. This tweet below sums it all up. The Mavins are on their way to Cote D’Ivoire for a concert in Abidjan, while the entire YBNL crew have a paid appearance date at a club in Osogbo.


Finally, many celebrities just don’t care. It’s the truth. After 11 years of attending the Headies, many have become jaded, especially those without nominations or a chance to win anything at the trophy. Why dress up, and drive down to the Headies, when I have no important role to play? Why? Why come out to watch other artistes win prizes that I also qualify for?

Also, others just want to avoid the limelight of live TV. Unlike what they are familiar with in their careers, the Headies is streamed live to millions of homes across the continent and beyond. As a star, you always have the cameras on you. This means you have to be of your best behavior and stay guarded all through. One wrong facial expression, a misplaced move, and ill-timed gesticulation, and you will forever become the butt of social media jokes, and endless memes. Ask Dija how she felt after last year’s enthusiastic jumping earner the bashing of her life.

Also, ask Eva Alordiah’s fiancé – Caesar – who got snubbed by Wizkid, “ How Market”?



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