News filtered in yesterday that Ghana’s leading event organising house, Charter House have sued the self declared ‘dancehall king’ and Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) 2013 Artiste of the Year winner, Shatta Wale to the tune of Ten Million Ghana cedis for defamation.
Shatta Wale is being sued for what is described as posting defamatory videos against Charter House on his Facebook page. So far, he has posted four of such videos accusing them of ‘corrupt, dishonest among other claims. He claimed the CEO of Charter House, Iyiola Ayaode has directed GH One, a subsidiary channel under the Charter House brand not to air any of his music videos.
Iyiola Ayoade and Charter House (Plaintiff) seek the following relieves from the court:
i. An unqualified apology and retraction of each of the four separate videos with the approval by the Plaintiffs prior to the recording and uploading” to his Facebook page and to remain on his page for one month within a week of the judgment.
ii. For Shatta Wale to send the four videos in which he renders apologies to the Plaintiffs to “all media houses and online publications that have aired the defamatory videos complained of and ensure that same and/or published at his own expense” within a week of the judgment.
iii. order of perpetual injunction retraining the Defendant, his agents, hirelings, manager(s), privies and assigns or any person through him and howsoever described from making and/or repeating the defamatory statements or similar statements in the nature of the ones complained in the video recordings.
The ‘war’ between the ‘Dance Hall King’ and Charter House have raged on since 2012 when the artist took the event organisers to the cleaners for what he perceived as ‘cheating’ during the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards that year. He lost the Best Dance Hall Artist award to fellow dancehall act, Kaakie.
RISE OF SHATTA WALE
The loss to Kaakie marked a turning point in the musical career of Shatta Wale as the commotion he caused during the award show in 2012, followed by his rants of being cheated plus his infamous letter to Charter House set him on a trajectory to success. Prior to that, nobody cared about Shatta Wale (at least within the mainstream music scene).
Another action of his which resulted in his take off was his beef with Kaakie, her record label High Grade Family and the label boss and fellow dancehall king Samini. The back and forth thrusted Shatta Wale into the public eye.
In the midst of all this, Shatta Wale had dropped one of the hits of his life (or career). His track ‘Dancehall King’ could not be overlooked. It became the leading song in Ghana for a long while. To put it bluntly, Shatta Wale became an artist who was literally in your face-everywhere you turn or go.
So, Shatta Wale’s claim that he rose to prominence not at the back of any radio dj or presenter is an absolute fact. It was his fan base-the Shatta Movement (SM) that propelled him to where he currently is.
ALLEGATIONS AGAINST CHARTER HOUSE
‘Awards going on but the reason undercover. The truth is kept secret’ -The Black Eye Peas ‘Where Is The Love’.
This is not the first time allegations of corruption, nepotism and bias have been heaped on Charter House by artistes, mostly those who have lost out on nominations or awards. In fairness, some losses have shocked many fans. An instance was in 2002 when Kontihene picked the Artiste of the Year ahead of Kojo Antwi and Buk Bak (when the duo was considered by industry players to be in pole position to win. Many disgruntled attendees walked out before Kontihene performed).
Before Shatta Wale, artistes such as Rex Omar, Blakk Rasta and former selection board members such as TV host and producer, Blakofe have pointed accusing fingers at Charter House for being dubious. They claimed the organisers skewing the awards in favour of ‘undeserving’ artistes.
Most of these claims have been mere allegations. No concrete facts or evidence have been adduced to back these claims. The closest hint of evidence was a whatsapp chat, purported to have emated from George Quaye (Aboagye), who is the producer of the awards show, to Shatta Wale informing him of winning the Artiste of the Year Award, hours before the ultimate winner was to be announced.
Though Charter House have on numerous occasions stated that unless in certain technical categeories, almost all the other categories are open to public voting. This means the public crown who wins what and not Charter House or any member of the selection board.
WHERE IS SHATTA WALE’S MANAGER?
Shatta Wale on a diss track ‘Letter to Charter House’ and Kaakie, which was released after his 2012 loss took the two entities to the cleaners. His letter to kaakie was sexist and full of expletives. Many were incensed and did not hide their chagrin at his immature behaviour.
However, Shatta Wale became a ‘new born’ (like Saul in the Bible) and apologized to the two he treated with contempt, a move many considered as opportunistic as it coincided with the 2014 nomination of for the 14th Edition of the music awards.
As it turned out, Shatta Wale scooped the biggest award of the night, brushing aside competition from the likes of Sarkodie. But, Shatta Wale himself was absent that night. He didn’t ‘pick’ his award in silence. No. He took to social media to lash out at organisers.
The question many continue to ask in the wake of all this unfolding action is: Where is Shatta Wale’s Manager Bull Dogg? Why is he watching on whiles the Shatta Wale brand keeps hemorrhaging? How come he has not placed a thumb on the bleeding spot? A cross-section of people believe Bull Dogg is not acting up his role as an artiste manager, that has handed his artist his ‘blessings’, his tacit approval to indulge in this caustic action.
One of the roles of a manager is to rein in his artistes when he goes off the course. It is his responsibility to brand him, market him, and make him attractive so as to meet a certain standard. So far, Shatta Wale’s ‘bad man’ image is not helping him and his manager seems not to care that much. His songs are still banging everywhere. Afterall, bad publicity is good publicity to some extent.
Nobody is saying Shatta Wale should not express his views on issues or with people he disagrees on or with. But if the views are caustic, raw and baseless, he becomes an irritant figure desperate for attention. Perhaps, Shatta Wale seems to be more powerful than his manager.
We’ve had instances where artists with ‘bad boy’ personas have been contained. A case in point is Kwaw Kesse and the role his late manager Fennec played in making him a ‘crazy dude with a touch of finesse’.
Bull Dogg has an important role to play in turning Shatta Wale from his street ragamuffin persona to a well spruced up fella- one who can still express his ‘dark side’ within a limited space in a professional manner.
Unless Bull Dogg take things in his hands and redirect Shatta Wale’s abundant testosterones into making good music and marketing himself in the best of ways, this may begin a series of visits from the court bailiff and maybe a quick road to self destruction and short career. Perhaps, they can pick a few lessons from their ‘rivals’ corner; how they have succeeded in turning Samini into a high grade act. I’m just saying.
Whatever the outcome of the case would be-whether Charter House would come out from the case victorious or Shatta Wale will be carried shoulder high and powdered by his SM family, one thing is certainly predictable: There will be a Letter waiting in someone’s post box.
We may not see the end of this ‘war’ anytime soon.