The house was rocked by vivacious host Omawumi, Idols of Africa contestant, who made sure to translate her witty pidgin remarks for the oyinbos, had guests laughing all night. The first award of the night was given to Kunle Afolayan for his work in the Figurine. Lyricist 2face Idibia won Best Male Music Video of the Year for "Implication", and Best Soul/Neo Soul Act of the year. He later ripped the stage with a performance that laid "Implication" over his well-known "African Queen" instrumental, which brought the house to its feet.
MI was another Nigerian Hip Hop notable of the night, receiving the award for Best Rap Act of the Year. In remembrance of rap artist Da'Grin who passed, MI said he wanted to "pull a kanye" and expressed that he felt the award belonged to Da'Grin. In true Emcee style, Iceberg Slim performed his MI diss track as soon as MI left the stage. Spitting the lyrics, "Am I, better than MI? Matter fact better ask MI." A performance that created tension and led to a rap battle between the two rappers.
Jim Iyke secured the award for Best Actor in a Film/Short Story for the film Shepard. With his entourage he approached the stage to accept his award, and in true Jim Iyke style, declared at the end of his acceptance speech, "let the career haters hate!"
Jesse Jagz, Laura George, and Dewaves were notable performances of the night.
The NEA which strives for global recognition of African entertainers was established in 2006, its first show held at the University of Maryland College Park. Nollywood Actress Esosa Edosomwan, of upcoming film Brooklyn Shakara, was impressed with the overall event. "I was blown away by the performances. Afterwards I felt I needed to get all of the artists' CDs." Edosomwan, who advocates for the recognition of Nigerian talent throughout the diaspora, was impressed with the work of the NEA, which she feels is helping to expand connection in the Nigerian community.
While notable Nigerian musicians here in America, such as Wale, were absent, affiliates stress that it is difficult to get people at a place due to schedules. Other Celebrity guests in attendance were Gbenga Akinnagbe of HBOs the wire, models Ify Jones and Nnenna Agba, and Miss Black America.
Photos by: BSPRONetwork.com