Pop Culture with Tatiana


Congratulations to African Giant Burna Boy!

For those of you that do not know me personally, I was raised in Lagos Nigeria and I recently moved back to live here. I’ve always been a fan of African Afrobeats music, from Nigeria to Francophone Africa and it does hit me right in the feels to see a Nigerian artist take home this prestigious award.

Burna Boy’s real name is Damini Ogulu. This is his second consecutive nomination in this category “Best Global Music Album. Last year his album African Giant was nominated but he lost to fellow African artist Angélique Kidjo who made sure to give him a special shoutout during her acceptance speech. Kidjo is from a country neighbouring Nigeria, Benin, she said: “Burna Boy is among those young artists that come from Africa that is changing the way our continent is perceived and the way that African music is the bedrock of all music.”

but THIS year, his most recent studio album Twice as Tall won, beating four others including the Malian band, Tinariwen. The Grammys nomination described Twice As Tall as “a masterclass in the vibe and hustle that have made Burna Boy an international musical force”.

The album features a wide range of international artists such as Stormzy, Youssou Ndour, Naughty By Nature, and Chris Martin of Coldplay, and had Sean Combs as executive producer.

Born in Nigeria’s Port Harcourt, Burna Boy released his first album, LIFE, an acronym for Leaving an Impact For Eternity, in 2013. That album was followed by the release of Redemption in 2015 and Outside in 2018 that included the international hit track, Ye.

But it was with his 2019 African Giant album that Burna Boy really hit the international scene and earned his first Grammys nomination. Often compared to Nigerian superstar Fela Ransome-Kuti, whose songs Burna has sampled generously, he has become increasingly vocal about social causes in Africa.

At the height of the xenophobic attacks in South Africa in 2019, he threatened to never set foot in the country again unless the government took action, although he has since performed in the country.

He was also closely involved in the #EndSARS anti-police brutality protests in Nigeria last year, setting up a fund for victims and releasing a song in memory of those killed on 20 October 2020 at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos.

Burna Boy closed out the 2021 Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony with a medley performance. He performed a medley of “Level Up” and “Onyeka” from his now Grammy winning album, and international breakout hit “Ye” from his 2018 album “Outside”.

His performance began outside the National Arts Theatre in Lagos. He was joined by a choir dressed in white, before moving into a space decorated with stained glass where he was backed by musicians and dancers in traditional African dress. Personally I was really moved by his performance. and I am glad this win puts Nigerian music even more on the map, but encourages young African aspiring artists to pursue their dreams.


Now let’s not forget Wizkid!

Wizkid, real name is Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, won in the “Best Music Video” category for his song with the legendary Beyoncé; Brown Skin Girl, from Lion King: The Gift album. The video was directed by Beyoncé and Jenn Nkiru, and acts as a celebration and affirmation of the beauty of dark-skinned women.

Beyoncé’s daughter Blue Ivy was also a winner on the song making her the third person in history to win a Grammy at the age of eight.

The video was described as “a feast for the fashion-forward and a celebration of Black and brown female beauty everywhere”.

And although their fellow big Nigerian superstar Davido was not nominated, and there have been rumours of a rivalry between him and Burna Boy. He did congratulate his compatriots without specifically mentioning them by name. 🙂

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