BET under fire for ‘backstage’ treatment of African artistes

Uganda's Eddy Kenzo with his award at 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California. Sunday June 28.

Uganda’s Eddy Kenzo with his award at 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California. Sunday June 28.

The Black Entertainment Television (BET), an American satellite television channel owned by Viacom is denying claims by several African artistes that it delivers awards to Africans backstage during its prestigious annual BET Awards ceremony.

This year’s June show which saw Ghanaian dance hall star Stonebwoy, and Uganda’s Eddy Kenzo take home the 2015 BET Awards for Best International Act and Viewer’s Choice “Best International” respectively was shunned, and criticized by African artistes for “underning and mistreating Africans”

Singers like Tanzania’s Ambwene Yesaya, the bongo fleva artiste, aka AY were infuriated that Africans received their awards with no audience present.

Nigerian artistes Fuse ODG and Yemi Alade also took to social media to rebuke the American television station.

“It is wrong to nominate big African stars and publicly try to humiliate them. Why on earth is the African category of the awards held hours before the Main Event? If African artistes are not worthy of your sight please by all means cancel, delate and omit the best International Act (Africa) category out of this glorified awards show.” Alade vented on his Intagram

Fuse ODG, who skipped the ceremony posted on his twitter page that “the reason why I didn’t come is because you give our awards at the backstage.”

Kgomotso Matsunyane, BET Viacom International Media Networks Africa however refuted the notion that BET mistreats African artistes saying “it’s not true.”

She said as per the event, all international categories be Africans or British are presented in the morning session.

“The award ceremony huge, and too long this is technically why we present some stuff in the morning … It’s not that we underestimate African artistes, but are trying to address the issue,” Matsunyane said at the MultiChoice Content Showcase in Mauritius Friday.

On a lighter note, she revealed BET will be launching its new program ‘BET Buzz’ and will premiere on the Dstv digital platform this month.