Diamond sets the bar for Bongo Flava

Friday October 30 2015

Award winner : Diamond with his trophy for the

Award winner : Diamond with his trophy for the Best World Wide Act: Africa/India category. 

By Paul Owere

International stardom is something that every artiste craves for but despite all the struggles it remains elusive to many artistes.

As for Bongo Flava’s heartthrob Diamond, this could be well something that fits in his archives as he has continued to win accolades for his works that have kept millions entertained across the continent.

This week as we voted back home, he was making history across the Mediterranean as he became the first African artiste to win the World Wide Act Africa/India at the MTV EMAs.

Diamond’s recent conquests across the continent and beyond according to pundits has set the bar so high that it seems rather insurmountable for his compatriots.

In a year when he scored on different fields, the ‘Nana’ singer, beat high profile names to win the African stage and later Priyanka Chopra an established Indian artiste and former Miss World to crown.

On the list of contenders were singers with illustrious profile that only Diamond could compete against such as Nigeria’s Yemi Alade and Davido.

His win reverberated across the globe as it was covered by leading news papers such as UK’s Daily Mail, Billboard magazine and even India’s First Post reported the event.

“Meanwhile Priyanka Chopra who had been nominated for the Worldwide Act: Africa/India lost to Tanzanian artiste Diamond Platnumz,” wrote the paper.

Adding: The 26-year-old is a Bongo Flava artiste and his best known song is ‘Number One’.

On that night at the iconic Mediolanum Forum in Milan, Italy he mixed and mingled with high and mighty as the glitterati of the entertainment industry graced the red carpet.

From host Ruby Rose, Ed Sheeran, Hailey Baldwin, Jason Derulo, Pharrel Williams Ellie Goulding and the controversial Justin Bieber were part of his surroundings.

As he danced on the red carpet with a bevy of beauties, and took selfies there was an air of a contented man who is aiming towards the stars.

Congratulatory messages from fellow artistes poured in from almost every corner of the continent and beyond.

Top on the list was Ne-Yo, producer Swizz Beats, Yemi Alade, Davido, Victoria Kimani , AKA, Navio, Vanessa Mdee, Mr Blue, Willy Paul Msafi, and many others.

“Congrats to my homie @diamondplatnumz for winning #BestWorldWideAct at the #MTVEMAs keep being great. Let’s go get them my guy,” wrote Ne-Yo who is performing in East Africa this weekend.

Diamond took to his social media platforms to thank fans who voted him at the contest admitting that without them he wouldn’t have made it.

“This is not my trophy it’s our trophy, me and you! Because I believe without your votes I wouldn’t have made it… wanna thank God my Africa and All Worldwide fans, my fellow artists, Media without forgetting my family and management….Many thanks to @MtvEma for recognising my efforts.”

There are some who have been quick to attach his win on the luck tag especially after it came just a week after he won three Afrimma awards in the US.

A claim that Diamond’s team led by Sallam Sharaff has been quick to rubbish off saying, it is all about talent, hard work and investment.

Sallam who spoke with The Beat on his arrival from Milan on Monday night said if it was just a matter of talent then many Tanzanians would be up there because he believes Tanzania is abundantly talented in terms of music.

“Really, I don’t think it is just talent, it takes some amount of hard work, self realization and above all investing in what you do,” he says.

Diamond who will this weekend share the same stage with Nigeria’s Wiz Kid at a performance at Leaders’ Club believes that his recent success has created a personal challenge for him and his team.

“We have to keep our heads high and focus on the future because we have to come up with something that will surpass our current achievements,” he was quoted as saying.

According to local pundits this award and many others that he has won is an indication that Bongo Flava is finally claiming its place at the main table.

“ Great strides have been made in recent years and it has made people sit and ask themselves some questions about Tanzania which is an indication that Bongo Flava is on the right track,” says Mwita Mwaikenda.

Mwita is however, cautious on the root that most artistes think that can earn them international recognition.

“It is true that through the collabos these artistes have got the limelight that they wanted, what is remaining is to give it an identity because as it stands it is all over the place,” says Mwita.

Taking off the sheen

As Diamond and Tanzania basks in the glory of his recent conquests something seem to take off gloss from this historic win.

Whereas all the other recipients who were present received their awards on stage with the opportunity to say a word or two that was not to be in Diamond’s case.

When the Best World Wide Act: Africa/India was announced a video was played on the screen showing Diamond with his trophy on a white couch giving his acceptance speech.

This was an indication that the award had been given to him at a pre-event just like what happened at the BET Awards in Los Angeles earlier this year.

This seemed to rile many as they believe just like the BET, the MTVEMAs was also playing double standards.

Worse still the list of winners provided to the international media does not include Diamond on the winners’ list despite the fact that all World Wide Act winners in different categories have been listed.

This plus a few other hitches punch holes in what should have come out as a great show.

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