117 of Africa’s elite celebrities in Film, Music, Comedy, Media, and Fashion & Modeling have emerged from reality shows. The number positions the continent as the second most indebted continent to reality shows, only behind North America where globally renowned reality contests in Canada and the USA have helped earn the honor.
West Africa leads the way, with Ghanaian and Nigerian talents emerging from reality shows responsible for over one-third of the number.
Some superstars to have emerged from reality shows in Ghana and Nigeria include screen personalities such as Academy Award-winning Lydia Forson, Tontoh Dikeh and Alexx Ekubo, media stars Uti and Daré Art Alade, and lifestyle leaders Elikem and Kenneth Okotie.
Others include musicians Iyanya, Chidinma, Kidi, Omawumi, Efya, Yemi Alade, and Kuami Eugene.
But Ghana edges Nigeria for the impact of reality show talent on the music industry as new statistics emerged that reality show talents accounted for 33 of the total nomination slots for all categories at the 2018 VGMA- that’s if you include former KORA Award winner, Becca, who first gained national recognition after controversially electing out of the second season of TV3 Mentor, with days left to a show which was at the time arguably the biggest on Ghanaian screens, slapping organizers with a rights infringement lawsuit too.
Becca’s inclusion makes it about 33 out of 140 total nomination slots, representing about 21% of the total options available for main awards categories. Remarkably, the 140 total options even include the seven slots within the Best Foreign Act category although the category is technically exclusive to musicians outside Ghana.
Without Becca’s three nominations and all nominee options for Best Foreign Act, then 30 of 133 nomination options for 2018 VGMA categories are claimed by acts emerging from reality shows. Consequently, the percentage marginally drops to 20% but still remains 1 reality show talent slot for every 5 category options.
The 30 VGMA awards nomination slots claimed by Reality Show-emergent stars were shared by nine artistes. These were Becca, Wutah, Kidi, Kuami Eugene, Teephlow, Strongman, Efya, Kurl Songx and Adina
In the final analysis, 6 out of 26- just short of 20% of the categories were won by reality show talents with awards picked up by rapper Teephlow, and singers Wutah, Adina, Kidi and Kwami Eugene .
Ironically, although Ghana’s biggest honors event is christened after long –term sponsors and telecom giants Vodafone, it was reality shows fronted by the company’s telecom rivals MTN which produced the most nominees [5 out of 7] and the most wins [3 out of 4] at the awards.
The Ghana wing of the South African-based multinational Mobile Telecommunications company, MTN Group Limited, has been extremely popular in the 2018 AFRIMA host nation both for business and corporate social responsibility.
But it is the company’s success with reality TV shows that has set it apart from all competitors in Ghanaian entertainment.
The company’s affiliation with three of the country’s most successful reality TV contests- TV3 Mentor, Stars of the Future and Hitmaker has produced numerous stars for Ghana’s music industry over the last decade, including Efya, Becca, Kuami Eugene, Kidi, Kurl Songx and Adina who have gone on to win multiple awards at the Ghana Music Awards.