Ayo Animashaun, chief organizer of The Headies, Nigeria’s most credible and most prestigious music awards, which held on Sunday, December 14, 2014, has apologized for late
commencement. He has also addressed some controversies surrounding the
awards and more…see excerpts below:
How does it feel about the success of The Headies?
The Headies has actually grown. For the first time, an
entertainment brand trended for five straight days, I think it’s
unprecedented. I just think we have put in so much to develop The Headies brand and we are seeing the result. It feels great, we are happy about the success.
A lot of people expected Comedian Bovi to co-host the show
with Toke Makinwa. Can you tell us what really happened why he didn’t?
December is very busy in Nigeria. When we changed the date
from October 25 to December, it affected his schedule. Bovi had another
event that was already paid for. He wasn’t available anymore to host the
awards. He wanted to, but he had already been paid for another job that
coincided with The Headies’ new date. So, we had to hug each other and said we’ll see next time. Nothing other than that.
I believe the organizers made every effort to ensure that the programme started as scheduled, but as usual it did not…
(Cuts) Let me address that and this is the first time anywhere I’ll
be addressing that. Yes, we put in our own bit to ensure that we start
early, but there were peculiarities for a huge awards like this. You
know, people now compare us to the Grammies. But Nigeria is not America.
For Grammy, you have several weeks to plan for the venue.
The venue is known for several weeks. I was at the last Grammies,
weeks to the awards, they already had their run. But back in Nigeria,
the reverse is the case. Not too many venues can host the kind of events
we want, even if you are going to pay, they give you four to five days.
Unfortunately, this time around we started setting up in the early
hours of the day of the event. We wanted four days to set up and we were
ready to pay for four days to set up, but we only had a few hours.
These were the peculiarities. Yes, we are not happy that we started late
and we apologized. But it was an amazing show. It didn’t take away much
from the fact that it was a very good show and it was talked about. A
lot of people tend to concentrate on the side that is not so positive
when you do something. You don’t need a license to organize a music
Other people can start their own and start early, with due respect.
Instead of just concentrating on the negative, support us. We need
encouragement, we need support.
The business started with just N1,000 that was borrowed 10 years ago.
We’ll put in effort to start early next time. But the reality is that
there are some factors in Nigeria that will just work against you.
Let’s talk about Wizkid. He was expected to perform, but he did not…
(Cuts-in) Wizkid was not meant to perform. Wizkid was expected to
attend as a guest and a nominee. He came as a guest and a nominee.
But there was no reserved seat for him and there was a report that he actually walked out…
Wizkid has already said that he didn’t walk out. Wizkid and I spoke when we left the venue. Wizkid and The Headies are cool. Wizkid is part of the Headies family. He’s won several Headies awards. He has performed on the Headies stage. He has also done a theme song for The Headies.
He didn’t walk out on The Headies and he has said
it himself. For reasons known to him, he couldn’t stay any longer at
that point and he left. We don’t feel bad about it. He was talking to me
on his way out, so we are cool.
What is your assessment of the whole event, would you say you are satisfied with the outcome?
I think the judges did a good job. I thought they put in a lot of
work and we saw the result. Like awards ceremony all over the world, not
everybody would be happy, because some people will go home empty handed
and these are all nominees that deserve to win. When you nominate four
people in a category, they are as good as winning the award.
That’s why in some awards, we don’t say The winner is we say The award goes to“.
Meaning out of all people that deserved to win, one person is taking
the award home. I believe the screening team did a great job. I’m happy
that we’ve grown over the years. When some people talk about who they
think should have been nominated or won, opinions are different.
Some informed, most of the time are not so informed. Some people who
didn’t even have songs within the year in review asked why they not
nominated. They say it’s because they are this ambassador or that
ambassador, whereas they didn’t even have a song within the year in
review. People should learn to educate themselves before commenting. I
think we should show more love to ourselves and encourage each other.
It’s not perfect anywhere. The Grammy is in its 56th year, but go
online and read people’s comment about it. Snoop Dogg even did a song
saying Fuck the Grammies! That it is big does not mean it is
perfect! When there were other awards show in Nigeria, we stepped
forward and we contributed, so I’m expecting other people to do same.
Tell us how much was splashed on the just-concluded The Headies?
We don’t discuss figures, but it is a lot of money.
Like N200 million…?
I’m not going to mention figures, it was a lot of money and it was only 20 percent of it that was sponsored.
Can you give us a rough estimate…
Why do you want to know? When you start your own awards, you’ll spend money on it.
It’s barely a week after, I know the organizers would have
sat down to see whether they made profit or not seeing that it was a
We’ve not made profit on The Headies since 2008.
Despite the fact that it was a sold out event?
80 percent of the people in entertainment think it is their birthright to attend The Headies
without paying and it is! By time you count all the musicians (past and
present nominees), the celebrities, the Nollywood people, the media and
top personalities, 70 percent of the auditorium is gone already. So,
you’ll never make money from a show like The Headies by selling tickets.
So, where do you make money if not through ticket sales?
It is not all the time that money drives everybody. If it was just
money, then I would just face my hip TV and forget awards. It’s not
money that drives everything we do.
What motivates The Headies if not money?
Money has never been my motivating factor if not I won’t even be in
entertainment. Money has never pushed me. I’ve never worked for money
for one day. We want to make a difference, we want to set standards, we
want the music industry to develop by our own effort. We want to do
things the right way and we are making progress in that direction. Money
will come. It is not the day you start that money comes.
Read full interview (HERE)