Music is an essential way to get citizens involved in anti-corruption reform by shifting norms and behaviors. For many African citizens, corruption is one of the most serious challenges they face. Many reports show citizens are losing faith in governments and institutions as a result, making it a serious problem in need of solutions. The Accountability Music Awards (AMA) are a collaboration between Accountability Lab, the ONE Campaign, the African Union and Trace Africa. They honor musicians on the continent for their activism through music and elevated their crucial work to a wider audience.
We’re excited to announce that nominations have officially opened for the 2021 AMAs. By providing a platform for conscious musicians, the AMAs aim to galvanise citizens in demanding greater transparency and accountability from institutions, corporations and the African citizenry. The campaign also recognises the critical role that music can play in getting citizens involved in anti-corruption reform by shifting norms and behaviours.
Nominations can be submitted before October 18, 2021 via the campaign website, www.accountabilitymusicawards.org. Five finalists will be selected for a continent-wide, public vote, with the overall winner announced on International Anti-Corruption Day on December 9, 2021. The campaign is looking to celebrate artists who express a clear and cohesive idea centered around accountability. The songs should encourage citizen engagement, solidarity with social justice efforts and reinforce the values of democratic and accountable societies.
Executive Director of Accountability Lab, Blair Glencorse, said the AMAs, which ran for the first time in 2019, are an exciting way to begin to shift norms: “We’re looking for artists who are using their voices to engage citizens around critical challenges in their societies. The more we can do to celebrate and lift them up, the more we can begin to popularise their messages and shift understandings of the problems”.
ONE in Africa Executive Director, Edwin Ikhuoria, said: “These AMAs aim to celebrate and honor a zealous generation of African artistes who are using music as a tool to increase public consciousness and inspire action for Africa’s development. These awards play a critical role in stirring a sense of purpose and shift perceptions about norms that are detrimental to Africa’s development.”
Charity Nchimunya, the Executive Secretary of the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption (AUABC), observed that ‘Music is a such a powerful tool in connecting people across different divides, and through the AMAs, young and old alike can be connected with one voice in promoting integrity, accountability and anti-corruption. Are you that young artist that can help in connecting people to say no to corruption? If yes, stand up and be counted’.
The inaugural AMAs previously celebrated Chioma “Cill” Ogbonna, a Nigerian-based musician, and her song “All You’ve Got” as the overall winner. The song encourages citizens to take an active role in pushing for social and political reform in Nigeria. Fellow Nigerian and hip-hop legend Folarin Falz, real name Folarin Falana, came in second with his song ‘Talk,’ which challenges the promises of security and economic prosperity offered by Nigerian policy-makers. Kenyan Afro-pop group Sauti Sol, Malian singer-songwriter Fatoumata Diawara and Zimbabwean dancehall artist Platinum Prince were also among the award finalists.