Mohamed Kimbugwe and Innocent Kawooya
The HiPipo Video Trailblazer Award was established in 2015 by HiPipo to recognize a standout artist, who breaks from convention to make a unique mark in Ugandan and African music, receives international breakthrough status and paves the way for other talent.
Particularly, HiPipo Video Trailblazer Award category was created to honor Artistes that have pioneered new ways of selling Ugandan art all over the world. Their deliberate moves have not only brought excellence but have also inspired so many others.
Over the years, there have been Ugandan artists who went out of their way to craft unique, well thought out quality videos that wowed music consumers beyond the Ugandan boarders and also earned them international recognition.
It is against such a backdrop that this category was created, to grant them well deserved recognition. In this review, we look at examples of such video projects that have set the pace in the Ugandan music industry, sold Ugandan art abroad and totally changed the way people perceive art.
Let’s kick off with the example of Wipolo video by Pastor George Okudi. When he was announced as the best male African artist for the year 2003 at the Kora awards, the excitement among Ugandan music fans was close to that of winning the African cup of nations.
That remarkable success was as a result of his trailblazing Wipolo video. With Wipolo video, Pastor Okudi broke and changed the rules of making music videos. He explored the outdoors, traditional costuming and energetic choreography.
The exploration of African costumes and props had given Wipolo the ability to cut across the continent, the ability to market Ugandan art as well as the ability to set the pace and entirely change the eyes through which the world looked at music videos.
We can then look at Radio and Weasel’s Fantastic video! When Radio and Weasel made history by earning a BET Awards 2013 nomination, it was largely as a result of their fantastic video that had earned great continental success!
Unlike Wipolo, Fantastic was a contemporary eyeopener, not just for Ugandan artists, for a whole lot of other African artists. Radio and Weasel had given contemporary music videos a whole new face.
From the concept, to choreography, costumes and extras, Fantastic was a beautiful piece of art. The camerawork and editing too were impeccable, paying attention to detail and intercutting between such a variety of activity, one would easily forget that Fantastic was an indoor video.
Fantastic was sensual, told a story and had some elements of humor. It received wide acclaim across the continent and made Radio and Weasel continental items. They managed to market Ugandan art and did it impeccably!
It is no wonder that they were later to be placed in the same BET category with some of Africa’s best, including 2Face Idibia (Nigeria), Toya Delazy (South Africa), Donald (South Africa), Ice Prince (Nigeria) and R2Bees (Ghana).
Love you every day by Bebe Cool can also be quoted as an example in this particular area. It was a massive continental success and earned Bebe Cool an MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMAs) 2015 nomination in the best video category!
With just one major extra character and one major prop, Love You Everyday thrived more on the choice of beautiful nature for setting, the costuming of the female extra and technical prowess; notably good camera angles and movement.
It changed the widely held mentality that a video had to be congested for it to be a masterpiece; yet uncongested as it was, Love You Everyday turned out to be a hit video, with warm reception across the continent.
It is therefore no wonder that it was placed alongside some of the best videos at the 2015 MAMAs, including “Crazy” – Seyi Shay Featuring Wizkid; Directoed by Meji Alabi, “Doors” – Prime Circle; Directed by Ryan Kruger, “Nafukwa” – Riky Rick; Directod by Adriaan Louw and“The Sound” – Davido Featuring Uhuru & DJ Buckz; Directed by Sesan!
Finally, let’s look at Eddy Kenzo’s Sitya Loss video! This video went viral on the interment, got a warm reception world over and Eddy Kenzo continues to reap benefits from it; and all that isn’t by accident.
When he made history by scooping the first ever B.E.T award any Ugandan musician at the 2015 BET Awards, then it was clear that the uniqueness of Sitya Loss had paid off and paid off very hugely. The video had not only ably marketed Ugandan art, but also set a new trend.
The role of the Ghetto Kids in Sitya Loss was such a breath of freshness! They weren’t just backup dancers that usually play a side role. Kenzo placed the Ghetto kids at the very heart of the video, where they easily brewed chemistry with the viewer!
It is not wonder that a very close attachment developed between music fans word over and the Ghetto kids and above all, it is no wonder that several other musicians felt the desire to follow in Eddy Kenzo’s feet, by crafting videos tailored along the concept of Sitya Loss.
This category was therefore created for such special videos.
The contenders for the category and winner will be selected by The Music Assembly, announced and presented with an accolade at the awards gala night.