The showbiz realm, like other fields, presents an opportunity for stakeholders to explore, carve a niche for themselves, compete and complete each other, grow and expand their audience appeal, generate income, and impact lives, among others.
It is where the spotlight is coveted, and competition is the pulse. Although some may chorus the ‘I’m not competing with anybody’ mantra, the fact remains that the unspoken competition often weaves itself into the fabric of success.
Since Nana Ama McBrown’s controversial exit from UTV in 2022, where she hosted United Showbiz for almost four years, and MzGee’s assumption of the role in 2023, there has been a subtle contest and what some have described as a continuous comparison of the two media personalities.
The comparison gained momentum after McBrown’s unveiling, characterized by razzmatazz, birthed the Onua Showtime on Media General’s Onua TV.
However, neither MzGee nor McBrown uttered a word to respond directly to the remarks. Instead, they chose a more subtle approach, engaging in social media posts that some interpreted as indirect responses to the discourse.
Both United Showbiz and Onua Showtime are talk shows held on weekends. While United Showbiz is aired on Saturdays with a panel discussing arts and entertainment-related issues, Onua Showtime airs on Fridays and Sundays. The Friday edition focuses on impacting lives, while Sunday is reserved for conversations on arts and entertainment content.
Despite the difference in airing days and a twist to McBrown’s show, competition exists between them, resulting from the brouhaha about the exit and succession.
Resumption after Christmas break
Both Onua Showtime and United Showbiz took a break after their last shows in December 2023. Despite the absence of official communication regarding their return, there was a prevailing anticipation that both shows would resume in the first week of February.
Interestingly, they both announced their return in February, scheduling their maiden shows for the year on the same weekend. Whether it was mere coincidence or an action influenced by a tipoff, the stage is set for the continuation of a competition. If for nothing at all, a competition for eyeballs and ratings – the kind of healthy competition the public wouldn’t get to blab about with the cancellation of Akwaboah’s ‘Shades of Love’ event.
Akwaboah’s Val’s Day event
For six years, musician Akwaboah has organized ‘Shades of Love’ on Valentine’s Day but had to cancel this year’s edition for various reasons. In his press statement, which announced the show’s cancellation, Akwaboah did not detail what informed his decision but said, “When it became evident that we could not meet the high standards expected at the Shades of Love concert, the decision became clear. I always strive to offer you the best experience because you deserve nothing less”.
Before this, Akwaboah had, in an interview with Nana Romeo on Accra FM, addressed rumours that he cancelled his event because colleague Kwabena Kwabena was hosting an event with Becca dubbed ‘Love Night’ on Valentine’s Day. Before answering the question, Akwaboah acknowledged his reverence for Kwabena Kwabena, who has contributed immensely to his career, including guiding him in choosing a brand name.
“I cannot tell why he has decided to have an event on [the] 14th,” said Akwaboah, who was calm as always. “I know he hosts his event on [the] 10th. His manager even called me to say they’ll host the event on [the] 10th, and I promised to pass through.”
Sounding as though he has a monopoly over February 14 and subtly making an argument to suggest an ambush by Kwabena Kwabena, Akwaboah, being tactical about his response, continued, “…as to why he has targeted 14th, a date for my event unless you ask him. And if his conscience allows him to answer why, that’s fine. But as to me having a problem with him for 14th, I think we all have our audience…”
He denied harbouring any hatred for his “senior”, adding, “Besides, I have events abroad. I should be moving out of Ghana on [the] 15th. I should be back in March.”
“I don’t have a problem with his decision. As long as I have my fans who would turn up should I decide to hold mine… and the moment you have a problem with that, it even means you don’t believe in yourself. I believe so much in myself that anytime I have an event, I know the crowd I’d command. He’s my elder brother; I don’t have a problem with him.”
Venue is a challenge
A follow-up question seeking insight into the reasons for the event’s cancellation prompted a response from Akwaboah, who attributed the decision to the unavailability of suitable venues. According to him, he sought a larger venue given the size of his audience, but none were available. This included the Grand Arena, which he mentioned had already been booked by Kwabena Kwabena.
“Venue has been our problem,” said Akwaboah. “I want a big venue. I’ve done Grand Arena and La Palm. This time, we reached out to La Palm and were told Adu Safowah was having her speech-a-thon. And if I don’t have a bigger venue, it’ll be difficult because I know my crowd. When I went to Grand Arena, I was told Kwabena Kwabena had booked it.”
In a subsequent interview, Akwaboah unequivocally mentioned that while the claim that everyone has their audience, it is undeniable that “everyone also has their dates”, a statement that seems to suggest he is unhappy, hurt, pained, crushed by Kwabena Kwabena’s decision to host an event on 14th and further creating the impression that ‘Shades of Love’ would have been held but for Kwabena Kwabena’s ‘Love Night’.
Essentially, if Kwabena Kwabena had scheduled his event for February 10, Akwaboah’s would have been held as well, per the latter’s utterances. While the question about Kwabena Kwabena scheduling his event for [the] 14th instead of [the] 10th may be valid because these have been the dates for both events in the past, Kwabena Kwabena cannot be faulted because, indeed, not everyone would have attended Akwaboah’s show for various reasons.
Besides, there may be other reasons best known to Kwabena Kwabena which wouldn’t make it possible to host the event on the 10th.
Akwaboah could have taken his event outside the nation’s capital, perhaps to Kumasi, where other venues could be appropriate for his audience if it were also not too late to have a suitable venue.
Both Akwaboah and Kwabena Kwabena stand out as exceptional musicians, treating audiences with their captivating love songs and establishing enduring brands over the years. While promoting a harmonious coexistence is crucial, it’s essential to recognize that neither February 14 nor any other day or any event centre is exclusive to any particular artist.
However, the management of the Grand Arena could have proactively reached out to Akwaboah to inquire about the possibility of hosting ‘Shades of Love’ at their venue. After all, Akwaboah has consistently performed on February 14, and a collaborative approach might have ensured a smoother arrangement instead of allocating the venue to Kwabena Kwabena without prior consultation.