The National Academy of America of Recording Arts and Sciences, which is the music recording company responsible for organizing and hosting arguably the grandest of music award ceremonies in the world, held the 63rd edition of the GRAMMYs last night, Sunday, 14th of March.
The GRAMMYs have been reputed to reward some of the biggest and best of musical works from around the world, but has always somewhat marginalized music coming from out of Africa, especially West Africa. Despite having such great music exports such as King Sunny Ade, and Femi Anikulapo-Kuti, amongst others, the Western part of Africa has only been able to at best, produce GRAMMY nominations.
The situation has however begun to turn around in recent years, has the wave of music from all across Africa is beginning to gain more traction and resonate with a more global audience than ever before. Many global music acts, particularly Africans in diaspora, have recently sought to work with indigenous African artists as a way of registering a sort of connection to their source.
With individuals such as Sikiru Adepoju and and Lekan Babalola having previously won GRAMMYs as indigenous African percussionists (from Nigeria) with Adepoju winning it it twice: with Planet Drum in 1991 and again in 2009, Beninese singer Angelique Kidjo became the first singer from West Africa to win at the GRAMMYs,.
In most recent times, the Nigerian music scene in particular, has witnessed an exponential growth in popularity and global impact, and it is has resulted in massive collaboration of Nigerian artists with globally recognized musical acts. On the night of Sunday, March 14th, 2021, history was made as Nigerian music recorded the most GRAMMY award wins in a single ceremony.
Afrobeats Artists Bring The GRAMMYs Home
Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu. better known by his stage-name Burna Boy, who had previously been nominated for a GRAMMY in recognition of his “African Giant“, won the GRAMMY award for Best Global Music Album last night for his most recent album, “Twice As Tall“. In doing this, Burna Boy became the first Nigerian artist to win an individual GRAMMY award, and his Twice As Tall album became the first Nigerian album to win a GRAMMY.
Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, better known by his stage name Wizkid, was the second Nigerian GRAMMY winner announced last night, having jointly won the GRAMMY award for Best Music Video for the song “Brown Skin Girl” on which Wizkid featured with American artist Beyonce, her daughter Blue Ivy Carter, and American rap artist SAINt JHN.
A big way to round off the big wins for Afrobeats and Nigerian music at large, at the 63rd GRAMMYs, would have been the announcement of Tiwatope “Tiwa” Savage, Afrobeats star Olufela Olufemi “Femi” Kuti and his son Omorinmade “Made” Kuti as co-winners of the GRAMMY award for Album Of The Year for their work on the “Everyday Life” album released as American music band Coldplay‘s 8th studio album. However that was not to be, as the Album Of The Year was won by Taylor Swift.
Though the likes of Tiwa Savage, and the Femi Kuti/Made Kuti duo did not bring home a GRAMMY, their nomination is a testament to the fact that Nigerian music is up there with the greats and in the words of a famous comic supervillain, Nigerian music is “inevitable”.
These wins have set a big GRAMMY record as far as Nigerian music is concerned, and it is premised to be a major boost for the Nigerian music industry and a potentially bigger door of opportunities for international collaborations and global recognition.
By Oluwamayowa Akinyemi
Oluwamayowa Akinyemi is a digital and web content developer with experience in web content development and management as well as research and writing. He is an avid reader of random subject matters and a sucker for movies and video games. He is also passionate about youth empowerment and is a global affairs analyst and enthusiast.