What you need to know:
- Asikoye’s plan is to rally for as many artistes and industry player from the continent as possible to establish an African Chapter of the Grammys.
- Joseck, together with his brother Justo Asikoye, founded Jabali Afrika (in 1990), which originally included Victor Elolo, the late Mutua Mbole, Jumba Robert and Steve Wafula,
Kenyan Afrofusion singer Joseck Asikoye, also know in the industry as Muzi,has been picked to a team that will select nominees and winners of the Grammys.
Asikoye is one of the founding members of Jabali Afrika Band, and also doubles up as the band’s producer.
“I was part of a meeting between musicians of African heritage and the Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr following the outcry over the lack of transparency in the process and he promised greater representation in the academy that votes on nominees and eventual winners,” says Asikoye.
Following the hosting of this year’s 63rd Grammy Award ceremony that took place on March 14 in Los Angeles, the Academy on April 30, 2021 scrapped the previous voting system.
The organisers announced the scrapping of their anonymous voting committees following a huge outcry and allegations of favoritism, rigging and racism.
The academy suffered criticism from several artistes of colour, especially blacks, on its voting structure. Celebrities blasted the Academy’s selection process, terming it as unfair and one that lacked transparency.
In recent years, artistes of colour have been getting the short end of the stick at the awards. They, for instance, have been winning in categories that are traditionally associated with blacks such as Rap or R&B, but losing out in the main categories of Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artiste.
Only 10 black artists have won Album of The Year awards in the history of the Grammys, with only six people of colour winning Best New Artistes in the last 20 years.
African Chapter of the Grammys
In efforts to address the problem, the Academy announced a number of changes, key among them the elimination of nomination review committees, a reduction in the number of categories in which voters may vote, and an addition of new category — Best Global Music Performance (Global Music Field).
Prior to the changes, the Grammys voting process had been notoriously complex, with committees made up of 15 to 30 music experts having the final say in the 72 categories that have now increased to 86 with the new changes.
However, Asikoye is still not contented with the changes, maintaining that there is still much more that needs to be done to ensure more African artistes are launched onto the mainstream international market, as was the case with Nigerians Wizkid and Burna Boy, who recently clinched his third BET Award (Black Entertainment Award, Best International Act).
Asikoye argues that despite Wizkid and Burna crossing over to the mainstream international charts, they are still lumped together with other artistes across the world in that newly created category, Global Music Field
“Burna and Wizkid are now appearing in the Top 100 music charts internationally. They are good to compete with everyone else and leave the Global Music Field category to artistes who are not on the mainstream,” he says.
With the privilege to have a seat at the Recording Academy, Asikoye’s plan is to rally for as many artistes and industry player from the continent as possible to establish an African Chapter of the Grammys.
He, together with his brother Justo Asikoye, founded Jabali Afrika in 1990. Originally, the band also included Victor Elolo, the late Mutua Mbole, Jumba Robert and Steve Wafula, who later left to pursue other interests.
Their greatest hit is Aoko.