It has now become something of a norm that after every selection exercise of the annual Salax Music Awards comes the furor, the outrage and divided opinions on who should have and who should not have been shortlisted in different categories.
But are the organizers really to blame for this unending tugs of war that always mar the country’s only recognizable music award ceremony?
Analysts, pundits and lovers of local music all differ on this sensitive subject. Names of artists such as Dr. Jiji who released a record five videos in 2013 continue to linger in people’s minds after he was snubbed, but it’s one candidate who is making headlines all over – Belgian based hip hop and electronic musician Stromae.
Unlike Dr. Jiji, Stromae was included to contest for the Diaspora recognition award alongside The Ben, Meddy, K8 Kavuyo and Ben Kayiranga.
In short, the accolade is usually awarded to the most outstanding Rwandan musician based in the Diaspora.
Stromae’s inclusion in this category therefore triggered drama. Questions were asked, eyebrows were raised while heads were shaken in total disapproval.
Born Paul Van Haver, Stromae’s biography on internet’s largest free encyclopedia, the Wikipedia, reads that the 29-year old is a Belgian singer-songwriter, and nowhere does it mention that he bears a Rwandese nationality.
In fact, the only place where Rwanda and Stromae are mentioned in one sentence is in reference to his biological father who is Rwandan. Wikipedia writes:
“He was born in Brussels to a Rwandan father and a Belgian mother. At the age of eleven Paul van Haver already showed an interest in music and attended ‘l’Académie Musicale de Jette’, where he studied music history and learned to play the drums. This was his first experience with music theory.”
Whereas Ikirezi Group Ltd, the main organizers of the awards, have stood firm by the decision, a large section of music fans and faithful remain in a limbo. And the major question still remains: will Stromae even attend the awards ceremony?