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The TV Snitch: #MTVMAMA, #WorldCup and #WhitneyBiopic

The MTV Africa Music Awards: A review
After three months of planning, the MTV Africa Music Awards took place last Saturday in Durban. Hosted by Marlon Wayans, the awards had some good, bad and sometimes ridiculous moments. First, props to the MTV team for putting on what was mostly a good show. That stage was world-class and the production as a whole was top-notch. People watching on TV didn’t complain about the production, which is great. Plus the pyrotechnics used during performances and the lighting was really amazing. This was easily the best awards show in South Africa in a long time. Kudos to MTV Base’s creative director, Tim Horwood – the guy is a genius. Of course, there were a few glitches here and there, as can be expected, but it was a good show. The host wasn’t anything to write home about. It’s still a mystery why MTV Base chose Marlon to host the awards, when he isn’t familiar with our African artists and how to pronounce their names. I wish MTV Base had rather brought one US musician to the awards, instead of three. Trey Songz gave a great performance. I wasn’t impressed by Miguel and the less said about French Montana, the better. The highlight of the awards ceremony was Ladysmith Black Mambazo performing a medley of their hit songs and then singing current house hits, Xigubu and Y-Tjukutja, which led to Uhuru, Professor, Oskido and Yuri da Cuhna giving the best performance of the night. 

World Cup TV Wars
The World Cup in Brazil started on Thursday. Now, as can be expected, all the channels are trying all they can to give their viewers the best World Cup related content.
From the actual coverage, where experts are part of a panel, to lifestyle shows centred on the World Cup, it’s all on offer. SuperSport has secured Ryan Giggs as one of the panelists  which was a major coup.  Back home, Top Billing’s Bonang Matheba and MTV’s Sizwe Dhlomo have scored a lifestyle-related TV show, World Cup Live, about the World Cup on SuperSport, as has The Link’s Lerato Kganyago on SABC 1. Lerato’s show is called Good Morning Brazil. Both will be daily shows. Drama broke out earlier this week when Minnie Dlamini, who is SABC 1’s soccer presenter with Thomas Mlambo, found out about the show and took to Twitter to insinuate that Bonang (whom she has a feud with) and Sizwe are basically imitating her, by suddenly doing a sports show. In fact, it’s the other way around. Bonang had a sports show on SABC1 during the 2010 World Cup. This rivalry makes no sense. It should be a celebration that more women are getting into an industry dominated by men. They should be supporting each other. I always look at how Kass Naidoo and Carol Tshabalala were such great symbols of hope for women who loved sport when they started their careers. And look at them now. Kass is an authority when it comes to cricket and Carol is the queen of soccer. They never saw each other as rivals. It’s a pity some of our TV stars, especially those who really depend on their looks rather than talent, always have to feel threatened when someone better is doing a show similar to theirs. 

The Whitney Biopic

Lifetime is the first to do a biopic on the life of Whitney Houston. The channel has announced the former America’s Next Top Model contestant and The Butler actress, Yaya da Costa, will be playing the troubled songstress. Angela Bassett, who starred with Whitney in Waiting to Exhale, will direct the film, which is expected next year. The film will focus on Whitney’s tumultuous relationship with her husband, singer and songwriter Bobby Brown, which continued throughout much of her career. Yaya is an interesting choice, if not odd. I wish Anika Noni Rose was taller as she would have done the role justice. Plus she has the pipes to go with it. I just hope it won’t be sugarcoated. Whitney lived a hardcore life, wasting a lot of her years addicted to crack cocaine. Actually, why is this not a big screen film? Whitney’s story has Oscar written all over it. 

*This column was published in the 15 June 2014 issue of the Sunday Tribune SMtv Guide*

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