The 11th edition of Groove Awards went down on 1st June 2016. It was my first time to attend the event and I must say that I loved the experience. The set up was on point with the stage resembling a grand event staged somewhere in Europe. Clearly, the team that organized the event burnt the midnight oil to pull off the best event possible. The musicians who performed never disappointed. They went hard and theatrical.
But I love how the gospel industry has grown. Like good wine, it matures with age. Today I see growth in how events are organized. I see absolute growth in the quality of productions being churned out every day. Gospel DJs have become leaders in the industry. Kenyan gospel musicians have won continental and global awards. The industry which was frowned upon and detested a few years ago now feeds families and is arguably bigger than their secular counterparts.
A few years ago, the habit was to throw professionalism out of the window as men of the church relied purely on prayer and fasting. I’m happy to report that a healthy balance of the two took place during the awards ceremony. A few years ago, some of the things that were taking place before me were frowned upon and greatly discouraged. But now, call it growth, or abundant grace, I was feeling like a stranger in the house of the Lord. But at the same time, though my blood group is not b-negative, I will go ahead and dissect the moments that made the event memorable.
To start us off, we were given a free dose of laughter when some musicians were called on the stage to pick up their awards. Many of them seemed to have taken the moment to reveal their hidden talent of theatrics. Some took the stage to let loose the emotions that they have put on a leash for many years. While others looked like they were secretly praying for the ground to open up and swallow them.
While some had prepared speeches, the majority were letting hysteria take over. The place of the holy spirit was now taken by what seemed to be an overdose of opium. Some were making helicopter noises as others spoke in alien tongues. Others were almost swallowing the mic while others rained saliva as they spoke with zeal. I’m confused actually, my heart is beating, I’m trembling and other hilarious acceptance lines.
The church has always had a history of being conservative. In fact, the world thinks that all women in the church have the same figure. But during Groove awards, there was more revealing cleavage than ever seen in the history of the church. For once, the boring long dresses that the church has been accustomed to took a break as the ladies brought out their best figures you would think that a mermaid parade was going on.
While some were smart, some took the event to try out outfits that they had outgrown and the result was a disaster. Men, on the other hand, tried to be classy. But the revealing tight trousers from hell ruined the moment. Others wore very tight attires that a sneeze alone might have sent the buttons flying forcing everyone to scamper for safety.
A friend of mine swiftly suggested that Groove awards should introduce a beauty pageant version of the event to tap into the growing potential that is represented here every time it happens.
And then came the owners of natural ‘perfumes.’ Since I was in the category of kawaida people, the stench that was emanating from that section killed all rodents and other crawling insects. There is no way they survived the natural odor.
Dear Christians, yes we are called to work on our inner being but surely, is cleanliness not close to Godliness? Or the organizers should have given free masks so that those who were getting in were shielded from the potential biological weapon of mass destruction that was abundantly available in the auditorium.
But then when the legends, Big Ted, Big Kev of rap community went on stage, the making of an excellent theatrical act was set rolling. Their screeching joints could be heard from a mile off. I’m sure that even the soldiers at Kahawa Barracks thought that a terrorist attack was almost happening nearby. Their contribution to the industry is very commendable.
But when they tried to rap the song they did over 20 years ago over Kelele Takatifu’s track Ngori, disaster hit the indoor arena as poor souls were left nursing pain in their ears. Big Ted, stick to Mceeing, Big Kev, stick to running tru blaq… you all will thank me later.
I will close with the words of Andrew Alovi, a Groove awards member of the panel, “There should be a healthy balance between appealing and contemporary music while ensuring that the gospel of Jesus Christ stays relevant and pure.”