On September 3rd, 2023, in Atlanta, U.S., the Headies Awards had its 16th edition. From the amateur stage production to the funny voice-over to Sukihana presenting an award, we’re convinced it was all just a simulation. If not, can someone then explain some of these questionable things?

Another U.S. edition?

The Headies went to Atlanta for a second time. But this writer thinks Nigerian music shouldn’t be celebrated on the coloniser’s foreign soil, leaving the homebase to battle with network providers in an attempt to watch the event. Some of the nominated artists couldn’t even be there because getting a travelling visa as a Nigerian isn’t anybody’s mate. Anyway, afrobeats to the world.

Osas hosted again?

Osas Ighodaro of Nollywood climbed the stage to host The Headies Awards a second time. She switched clothes a couple times, going from stunning class to choking baddie, in true movie star fashion. A familiar face who does the job well isn’t so bad, so it’s a yes for us.

And another Hollywood co-host?

The Headies seem to forget Nigerian MCs can also wear nice suits, speak foreign English and look the cameras in the eye. For the second time, they picked from a draft of African-American actors to co-host. In 2022, it was Anthony Anderson; this year, Terrence J had the mic. I guess since we were on their soil, we had to use their people.

What production?

Despite Ayo Animashaun’s statement that the cost of production is cheaper in America — interesting, by the way — the 16th Headies offered cheap lighting, sound and overall quality. It was hard to even see people’s faces clearly.

The voiceover

At first listen, “I asked where did this “egbon adugbo” come from?” Why was there even a voiceover artist when the event had a hostess and her host? Was that Don Jazzy backstage, calling categories and nominees, or was it “ChatJibiti”?

No female representation?

What’s the point of female categories if they wouldn’t award the winners on the main stage, in front of everyone? Arya Starr, Waje and Tems didn’t get their plaques. Instead, Headies decided to announce them on Twitter. What are they really doing?

Rema’s speech

When Rema went to collect the Best Male Artist of the Year award, his first of three awards that night, he made some important statements about the Nigerian music industry. Divine preached about showing up on time to shows and supporting the industry. Was he throwing some kind of shade?

We’ve lost that many stars?

It was an emotional moment when the room went quiet to honour the Nigerian entertainment industry professionals we’ve lost over the last few years — Sound Sultan, Ada Ameh, Dablixx Orisha, Murphy Afolabi.

How is M.I connected to Sound Sultan?

Kunle Afolayan presented the Special Recognition award to Sound Sultan, and M.I Abaga received it on behalf of the Sultan’s family. According to Kunle, the rapper is a friend of the late star’s family; M.I also promised to make sure the figurine gets to them.

Kunle Afolayan hustles for free publicity too?

Like every sharp Nigerian, Kunle Afolayan used the opportunity to hawk his market to the audience. His new film Ijogbon will come out in October, and the Anikulapo series will start streaming on Netflix in December 2023.

Kunle Afolayan

Will Director K get his plaque?

Director K won the Best Music Video award for Rema’s Calm Down, and the big question is will he get his plaque this time? The one he won for Davido’s 1 Milli at the 2020 Headies still hasn’t reached him. Who’s holding these plaques, or has the gold finished?


No question here. If Ololade Mr. Money didn’t get the Next Rated award, we’d have contacted Olamide to do a runback of the 2015 Headies saga. Obi Cubana and Omawumi — the 2009 recipient — presented the award to him. Mr. Money With the Vibe also got the Album of the Year, as Asake closed out the event with a performance of his hits, Lonely At the Top, Organize and Amapiano.

But they snubbed Magicsticks?

Magicsticks is the brother behind the production boards on Asake’s two albums, MMWTV and Work of Art. The guy who produced, mixed and mastered the “album of the year” wasn’t the producer of the year?

Lyricist on the roll

After being nominated for the category three times, Payper Corleone finally won the prestigious Lyricist on the Roll award dedicated to rappers who spat the hardest during the year. A big win for the young generation rappers.

Finally, how do you overlook categories?

The winners of 12 categories — Best Recording of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Best R&B Single, Best Vocal Performance (Female), Headies Viewers’ Choice, Best East African Artiste of the Year, Best North African Artiste of the Year, Best Southern African Artiste of the Year, Best Central African Artiste of the Year, International Artiste of the Year, Best Alternative Album and Best R&B Album — weren’t announced. What could’ve caused such an omission? Did the event centre tell them to pack up and go home?

READ: The Headies: A Track Record of Rewarding Only Mainstream Music


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