The first music awards in Kenya dedicated to providing young people the chance to produce songs on themes related to pleasure and sexuality, the Love Matters Music Awards will unveil its winners at a colorful ceremony to be held at Nairobi’s Creatives Garage on Saturday 5 December.
Bringing together 15 contestants, the awards are an initiative of RNW Media that provides easy-to-access information and news on sexuality and sexual health for young adults around the world. RNW has been working to take some of the things they talk about online back into the 'real world'. The new music contest comes around the same time as World Aids Day on 1 December.
All of the musicians competing are members of the Sauti Academy, run by the record label Penya Africa. The musicians have been working with international sound artists, producers and visual artists, as well as the Love Matters team, to compose and record songs about love, sex and relationships. The 15 nominees will compete for two main awards: the People’s Choice and the Judges Award. The winner of The People’s Choice Award will get to record the winning song in studio, as well as a professionally produced music video.
Over the last two weeks, the participants have been laying down tracks which are now live on the Love Matters YouTube channel. Each of the contestants wrote their songs around themes that were derived from recent focus groups study conducted in Kenya by Love Matters Africa. The Love Matters Music Awards are therefore inspired by the questions and comments that the team conducting the focus study received. “The results were bountiful and ranged from deeply touching tear swelling outcries about rape, based on personal experiences to a humorous take on HIV testing, other songs were about enjoying sex and a religious take that was touching,” the facilitator and music producer Arno Peeters said of the contestants' creations.