By Emmanuel Daraloye
Few weeks after the Burna Boy’s Grammy wins, the Port-Harcourt-born boy had cracked a milestone in Nigerian music industry history, winning Grammy in the Global Music Award category at the 63rd Grammy Awards.
He did it on his own, he is boastful, rolling his tongue to tell the haters orbi, I have done what you cannot do. It fine but what’s does the future look like for the Afrobeats movement.
For the Afrobeats Movement, the Grammy win by Burna Boy might be the needed boost for Artists coming from Africa, now, they are subconsciously in the mind of the globe, one of them has conquered the world, winning the biggest music award in the world.
These all come with a price that might be disastrous for the novel moment. On Burn Boy second trip to conquer the world which he titled “Twice As Tall”, quality was substituted for political correctness, he acted a script to sway the western audience to his way, Burna Boy had never been a Pan Africanist, the whole drama began after his Grammy lost to Angélique Kidjo.
In selected interviews with big media organizations, he buttresses his Africanism, he became a Nelson Mandela wannabe, it all fine, the script was acted, the film was released and it became a blockbuster but at what end?
Will Afrobeats artists substituted their originality for a Grammy win, won’t the artiste tailored their next move on what Burna boy already did?
From the African Giant story to the present, Burna Music had tailored more to the western audience, he is the figurehead from Africa but how African is he?
In August 2020, there was an influx of album release by Nigerian artiste, the quality of the album was not at par with the hype, one constant observation was the fact that there was a sudden movement orchestrated by this artiste to sell their music, they start forming all sort of woke activism, is this what African deserve, to sell you music, you have to be fake.
With Burna Boy’s win, African artists might be tailoring their music for a western audience, leaving the fans to the street or alte artiste, I have heard some records recently, you would know it was not meant for this market, artists are ready to break boundary, it ok but we have to be wary of the westerners.
Afrobeats’s originality has brought it so far, an effort to overtly appealed to an audience would backfire, and let’s be conscious of the fact that when push comes to shove, home is still our final abode.
Emmanuel Daraloye is a music journalist and a pop culture curator.