Burna Boy lost at the Grammys, Angelique Kidjo wins but a bigger win is for Africa at large, yet again.
We cannot remain sad forever that fans’ and Africans’ fave Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu couldn’t make history by converting his nomination in Los Angeles. Although the odds were in favor of the Afro fusion/Afrobeats bringing it home. Long before the ceremony, people feared the veteran singer from Benin was tipped to topple over Burna’s excellent run of 2019 as he toured more than 20 countries, sold out 15 shows, released his nominated work ‘African Giant’ and was streamed more than 280 million times on all digitals. All thanks to the influence of his deal with Atlantic records.
On the other hand, Angelique Kidjo has climbed the ladder at the Grammys with her energetic performances, her influence with activism, the label Island and not forgetting she has won the Grammys three times already, aside her recent win, making it a collection of 4 gramophones in her closet. Angelique even featured on Burna Boy’s album together with Damian Marley on ‘Different’, a song which turned out as a typical Grammy product with various forms of elements incorporated into the song.
The Grammys might have had their own share of backlash the week before the award show as a former executive left her role after she claimed she was abused sexually. Yesterday, people almost forced their way into Staples center in wake of the news of Kobe Bryant’s death. Reports had it that they wanted to pay respect to the grounds that the legendary Los Angeles Lakers superstar made history in. The recording academy, like every award show have their own share of criticism and it shows here that Afrobeats may be one of their agenda at keeping Africa at bay. The recording academy can create a different category which enlists music and materials from Africa rather than the controversial ‘Best New World Album’ category. Femi Kuti failed to bring it home last year but they would rather hand it to Angelique because her French delivery is relatable to many other countries in Diaspora.
If Afrobeats is a genre to be reckoned with, the biggest acts claiming the genre should collaborate more. Only then will one of the game players bring home the Grammy.
This article was written by Alex Ndace; he tweets via @AlexNdace