Continental music awards such as the MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMA) and the Kora All-Africa Music Awards have been criticised for favouring artists from English and French-speaking African nations, leaving the Portuguese-speaking minority in the cold, usually fighting it out in a single dedicated Lusophone category.
Yet Africa’s five Lusophone nations (Angola, Mozambique, São Tomé & Príncipe, Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde) all enjoy a rich musical legacy and have plenty to offer the world. Recognising this, a new pan-African music award is being mooted to begin next year. It will be known as the PALOP Awards – an acronym for Países Africanos De Língua Oficial Portuguesa (African Countries with Portuguese as an Official Language).
The subject was raised this week on the island nation of São Tomé & Príncipe, where organisers of various Lusophone African music awards, including Wuando Castro de Andrade of the Sao Tomé & Príncipe (STP) Music Awards and Daniel Mendes of the Angola Music Awards (AMA) met with President Manuel Pinto da Costa to promote the upcoming STP Music Awards on 4 July.
According to Daniel Mendes, it "was a very positive and relaxed meeting, because we spoke of the culture of both countries, Angola and Sao Tomé & Príncipe. We spoke of the union of neighbouring countries who are already organizing music awards and the need to join and help each other - because it is our culture, and if we are together we will be strengthened for us to take our culture beyond borders.
“His Excellency President Manuel Pinto da Costa is supporting us in the preparation and promotion of the PALOP Music Awards in 2016. If all of the PALOP heads of states do the same, we will be on track and synchronized in the promotion of our cultures and our flags to the world. We believe in the strong potential of the event so much and are establishing partnerships with other countries like Cape Verde, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau," added Mendes.
For more details, keep an eye on the new PALOP Awards website.