Nigerian music has again received global attention following the recent Grammy awards won by Burna Boy and Wizkid at the 63rd Grammy Awards. Burna Boy (Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu) won the Best Global Music Album with his fifth studio album “Twice as Tall,” while Wizkid (Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun) shared with American singer, Beyonce and her daughter, Blue Ivy, the Best Music Video Award for their collaboration in ‘Brown Skin Girl.’ The honour coming at this period of gloom is cheering.
The Grammy described “Twice as Tall” as “a master class in the vibe and hustle that have made Burna Boy an international musical force. (He) continues to torch limitations, seamlessly blending styles and genres and fearlessly fueling the fire heating the melting pot of pop, Afrobeat, dancehall, reggae, and more.” Burna Boy’s musical influences include Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Sunny Ade, Bob Marley and others.
With the Grammy awards, Burna Boy and Wizkid have brought great honour to Nigeria. They have also demonstrated that the country is blessed with talented people and that something good can come from the country despite our current developmental challenges. By winning the awards, they have jointly elevated Nigerian music to the global scene. It is equally a boost to the nation’s entertainment industry.
We urge other Nigerian musicians to emulate them. At the same time, the duo should not rest on their oars because there is still room for improvement. Before them, Sunny Ade, Femi Kuti, Seun Kuti had got nominations for the Grammy awards. Burna Boy was nominated for the award in 2020 for his album, “African Giant.” However, he missed out to veteran Beninese singer, Angelique Kidjo at the 2020 awards. He was again nominated for the 2021 edition for his album, “Twice as Tall,” which he won. There is no doubt that Burna Boy and Wizkid have paid their dues and brought laurels to the country. They have proved that Nigerian youths can excel no matter the prevailing constraints.
Born on July 2, 1991 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria, Burna Boy, who is regarded as one of the most successful African musicians, came into prominence with his 2012 release, “Like to Party,” the lead single from his debut album L.I.F.E. (Leaving an Impact for Eternity) in 2013. He also released “Redemption” in 2015 and “Outside” in 2018. He signed with Bad Habit/Atlantic Records in the United States and Warner Music Group internationally in 2017.
The singer describes his music as Afro-fusion, a blend of Afrobeat, dancehall, reggae, American rap and R&B. He won the Best International Act at the 2019 BET Awards. His “African Giant” released in July 2019 won the Album of the Year at the 2019 All Africa Music Awards. Burna Boy was also awarded the African Artiste of the Year at the 2020 VGMA’s, MTV Europe Music Award for the Best African Act and the Headies Award for Artiste of the Year. He won The Sun Most Creative Person Award for 2019.
Wizkid, who was born on July 16, 1990, is one of the biggest artistes in Nigeria and Africa. Unarguably, he is one of the most decorated Nigerian artistes and one of the best Afro-pop musicians. He began music at the age of 11 and became prominent following the release of his lead single, “Holla at Your Boy,” from his debut album Superstar (2011). His 4th album, “Made in Lagos,” which was released on October 30, 2020, was widely acclaimed. He is also the most streamed Nigerian musician on Spotify. He has won the MTV Europe Music Award for the Best African Act, the Headies Award for Artiste of the Year and BET Award for the Best International Act, among others.
Grammy Award or Grammy was initially known as Gramophone Award. It is presented by the Recording Academy to recognise achievement in the music industry. The first Grammy Awards ceremony was held on May 4, 1959, to honour and respect the musical accomplishments by performers for the year 1958.
We congratulate the duo on their Grammy awards and urge them not to relent in their strident efforts to uplift the nation’s image through music. We also commend other Nigerians who have uplifted the name of the country in diverse ways in recent times. We urge the government to pay more attention to the arts, music, film and entertainment industry. Above all, let the government put up enabling structures to support the creative industry.