Charterhouse Ghana, organisers of the annual Ghana Music Awards have said they were “taken aback” by the behavior of dancehall artiste Shatta Wale during the 20th edition of the event which brought proceedings to a temporal halt and put the image of their brand into disrepute.
At a press engagement, Thursday, Theresah Ayoade, Chief Executive Officer of the event company recalling interactions they had with Shatta Wale prior to the event said the organization took a decision to include the dancehall artiste who had been barred from the scheme for insulting it, because he had on countless occasions shown remorse.
She told the media that there were series of engagements with Shatta Wale who at a point gave assurances that he would be of good behavior.
“He apologized publicly, came to the office several times with several entourages. So when it was time for this 20th anniversary celebration, we decided to give him another chance,” she said. “We had a one-on-one session with him and he promised me personally that ‘all those issues are gone, he was young then, now he’s older, he’s grown’”.
According to Mrs. Ayoade, the demeanor of Shatta Wale was evidence he was a changed man. Nonetheless, Charterhouse wanted him to sign an undertaken in order to be rest assured but that was not realized.
“We did everything we could to ensure that we’re on the same footing… After the Xperience Concert, we called him back to the office that ‘some of your guys were being too rough so we are not happy about that. We want you to assure us…’ It shows the kind of engagement. It wasn’t the normal type of engagement,” she said, stressing that they were shocked he broke his promise on the night.
“We were all taken aback. We saved him his five seats just like Stonebwoy. There are things you’d regret but you cannot beat yourself over it. We had saved his five seats for him; he said his father to his father and sister to come and sit in the seat. The rest of the three seats remained empty the whole night [thinking] Shatta Wale was coming to sit on his seat… We didn’t anticipate that going to sit with his fans meant they were planning something.”
She continued: “We took his word for it. We trusted him, we trusted the good intensions, we trusted the fact that he appreciated the industry and he would behave. We gave him that trust and he abused that trust by pulling that stunt.”
Shatta Wale and Stonebwoy were banned indefinitely from the awards scheme, stripped of all the awards they won last year and asked to return the plaques after they disrupted the 20th edition of the event.
While Stonebwoy was up the VGMA stage taking his award, Shatta Wale, his rival on the music scene, was seen approaching the stage with a host of others presumed to be his fans.
Stonebwoy who felt threatened, pulled out a handgun handed him on stage by one of his entourage, a scene that sparked a scuffle between the two artistes and their followers.
The awards event was temporarily halted and the topmost two awards for the event, Most Popular Song of the Year and Artiste of the Year, were deferred due to the melee.
While stating that the incident “threw a dumper on our efforts in making the awards ceremony a glamorous one”, Ayoade noted that the inclusion or otherwise of the two dancehall giants in this year’s edition will be determined by the board when constituted.
“The decision to hand indefinite bans to Shatta Wale and Stonebwoy was taken by the last board and the newly reconstituted board are yet to meet to decide on the way forward. But we would announce a decision after our industry stakeholders meeting having gathered insights on the way forward,” she said.