Music

Marlon Wayans and the Mamas - SA doesn't get satire

Rhodé Marshall

Despite tweets about MTV Africa Music awards host Marlon Wayans's supposedly offensive jokes, the US star was a great host, writes Rhodé Marshall.

Marlon Wayans at this year's MTV Mamas in Durban. (Supplied)

OPINION

Let’s address the elephant in the room: MTV Africa Music awards (Mamas) host Marlon Wayans’s supposedly offensive jokes. I fail to understand why everyone got all riled up about his skits during the awards ceremony. Especially considering that prior to the first skit, Marlon said: ” ... a stupid American reporter and his misconceptions of Africa”. He later said, after seeing the reaction on Twitter I assume, that the skits are there to highlight the “ignorance people have of Africa”.

Let’s be honest, South Africans simply don’t get satire. It’s not one of our strengths as people.

I think Wayans was a great host – not that I had any expectations. He managed to keep the momentum going; he was comical and didn’t take himself or his inability to pronounce names (including that of the province) too seriously.

But I would have to express disappointment in the scriptwriters of the show. Were there no rehearsals? Why weren’t the names of presenters, performers and the province written so that the host would easily be able to read them off the teleprompter?

Perhaps it’s Wayans’s local relevance that’s being questioned? Why was he chosen to host the Mamas, some might ask. There are other successful African comedians shining abroad, like South Africa’s Trevor Noah and Nigeria’s Basketmouth ... if African comedian was the prerequisite as event host.

‘Ignorant African jokes’
One report read, “What was supposed to be a night to celebrate the best of African music was overshadowed by Wayans’s blatantly ignorant African jokes that angered many.” But I actually think it was the blatant ignorance of viewers that overshadowed what could have been the benchmark for music awards the world over.

At the Durban International Convention Centre (ICC), invited media was seated at the back of the venue and right in the glare of the bright stage lights, rendering the performers and presenters indistinguishable. It was even more difficult to hear what was being said between all the screaming fans that couldn’t contain themselves every time Miguel, Trey Songz or Khloe Kardashian moved an inch.

French Montana. (Supplied)

Performances
Still on the subject of the venue, everyone inside the convention centre lost their cool when US singer Trey Songz’s microphone cut out while he was performing his latest hit Na Na. While watching the repeat at home on Monday evening I discovered that it was actually the monitors inside the ICC that weren’t working and that viewers at home were not affected.

Throughout the weekend there were a lot of questions from journalists and entertainers about the artists selected to perform at the awards show. Miguel, Trey Songz and French Montana were part of the line-up and even collaborated with other artists like Sarkodie and D’Banj. But it was really Khloe Kardashian – the alleged girlfriend of Montana - who stole the show.

Khloe Kardashian. (Supplied)

Personally, I am not too interested to know why those three artists were selected to perform but I would like to know why there weren’t any female artists selected when two of the biggest pop stars at the moment are in fact women – Rihanna and Miley Cyrus.

Awards show competition
Considering the fact that the Mamas have been on a break for three years, the awards were well executed unlike the annual South African Music Awards (Samas).

Why compare the awards ceremonies? One word: sponsorship. When the Samas were dropped by MTN, the show went from bad to worse.

Therefore the Mamas stands a chance to give South Africa’s leading music awards show, the Channel O Awards, a run for its money. More so because the Mamas has the support of the team that puts together other international MTV award shows.

List of winners at the Mamas 

Winners best male: Davido (Nigeria)
Best female: Tiwa Savage (Nigeria) 
Best group: Mafikizolo (South Africa)
Best new act: Stanley Enow (Cameroon)
Best live act: Flavour (Nigeria)
Best Collaboration: Y-tjukutja, Uhuru Ft. Oskido, DJ Bucks, Professor and Yuri Da Cunha (South Africa/Angola)
Best hip-hop: Sarkodie (Ghana)
Best alternative: Gangs of Ballet (South Africa)
Best Francophone: Toofan (Togo)
Best Lusophone: Anselmo Ralph (Angola)
Artist of the year: Davido (Nigeria)
Song of the Year: Khona, Mafikizolo ft Uhuru (South Africa)
Best video: Clarence Peters (Nigeria) 
Best pop: Goldfish (South Africa)
Best international: Pharrell
Personality of the year: Lupita Nyong’o (Kenya)
MTVBase leadership award: Ashish J. Thakkar (Tanzania)
Transform Today award by Absolut: Clarence Peters (Nigeria)


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