By Kola Muhammed
It may be over two weeks since the 63rd edition of the Grammys held but anyone close to Damini ‘Burna Boy’ Ogulu and Ayodeji ‘Wizkid’ Balogun could tell you that the Afrobeats superstars are still in wonderland.
While Wizkid has managed to keep his emotions off social media, Burna Boy, on other hand, has not hidden his ecstasy over an award that eluded him last year. After giving an acceptance speech in which he urged his fellow Africans to always believe they could achieve anything, he then went on a tirade of posts that seemed antithetical -initially acknowledging his crew and collaborators then claiming he did it alone.
Every single person that worked on the project, my incredible team that works 24/7, and my OUTSIDERS!! Big love always ❤️— Burna Boy (@burnaboy) March 20, 2021
My kids will confidently beat their chest and say “Daddy did it on his OWN, We can do it on our own”— Burna Boy (@burnaboy) March 20, 2021
Nonetheless, it is undeniable the grand global glam that comes with winning a Grammy and to do it with your personal album is a huge feat.
While Wizkid also won, it was with a song (and video) he was featured on, alongside the 9-year-old Blue Ivy and her mother, Beyoncé. Even though Wizkid didn’t win with his personal project, it shouldn’t take the shine from his historic win. American pop star, Beyoncé was strategic and intentional with the artistes she featured on ‘The Lion King: The Gift’ album just as any serious artiste would. Wizkid had racked up successes for him to be considered one of the leading lights for Afrobeats and a strategic partner to penetrate African music industry. As such, he deserves every bit of the applause to have won.
In a wider context, this is perhaps the climax for a buildup of global recognition for the Afrobeats genre. Before the 2021 Grammys, there had been several milestones for a genre which has got the whole world’s attention and still appears to be gathering more momentum.
In 2019, Beyoncé released an album that featured a lot of African stars and at that point the world couldn’t resist the Afrobeats frenzy which was fast spreading its tentacles in a manner that could only be rivalled by the COVID-19 scourge.
Then Burna Boy and a host of other Afrobeats exponents got Grammy nominations but none went home with the gong. That, however, didn’t stop former American president, Barack Obama from stuffing his summer playlist songs from African acts such as Popcaan, Princess Nokia, Rema, Wizkid, Burna Boy and Davido.
Even reigning Bundesliga and European champions, Bayern Munich were caught on video dancing to Fireboy’s ‘Champion’ during their title celebrations.
And Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) took it from there. When the global football association wanted to launch its 2021 soccer game, it also couldn’t help but spice its soundtracks with the Afrobeats genre as Rema and Burna Boy made contributions.
In the same vein, a host of American and British media have taken turns to feature Afrobeats acts on their cover, helping to push the narrative further, deeper and ultimately unavoidable on the global music stage.
While for the first time in history, the genre had two of its most rated champions nab a Grammy award each in one night, the stage appears set for even more recognition.
Wizkid and Burna Boy are just a minute fraction of the talent that abounds on African shores. And with the world increasingly more digital and multinational music stakeholders opening shops left and right in Africa, it would be only a matter of time before Afrobeats moves from the unavoidable status to the indispensable.
Burna Boy and Wizkid have cracked it. Expect many more to follow.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Kola Muhammad is a writer and journalist whose portfolio cuts across the domains of culture, communication, enterprise and technology.
His works have been featured on both local and international platforms.
He has earned degrees in the fields of English and Literature from Obafemi Awolowo University and is enthusiastic about the informative and transformative power of content.
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Facebook: Kola Babatunde Muhammed