It was a big day for Afrobeats Sunday night as history was made at the 63rd Grammy Awards with Burna Boy, the self-proclaimed ‘African Giant’ taking home the award for the Best Global Music Album.
Also in the spotlight was fellow Nigerian act Wizkid, whose collaboration with American superstar Beyoncé and her daughter Blue Ivy on ‘Brown Skin Girl,’ won the award for Best Music Video.
It was the second consecutive time Burna Boy was nominated in the category that celebrates influential music from around the globe.
The category was formerly known as Best World Music Album and has been mostly dominated by Brazilians. African singers who have won in this category include Angelique Kidjo from Benin Republic, South African Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Soweto Gospel Choir.
Burna Boy is the first Nigerian to win in this category. He edged out contenders Antibalas, an American Afrobeat band that is modelled after Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s Africa 70 band; Brazilian-American singer Bebel Gilberto; British-Indian sitar player and composer Anoushka Shankar; and the Malian band, Tinariwen.
The winning album ‘Twice As Tall’ is his fifth studio album and featured international collaborations with Chris Martin, the lead vocalist of the British band Cold Play; American rap group Naughty by Nature as well as Senegalese veteran singer Youssou N’Dour.
Burna who performed at the ceremony entertained the audience with a powerful medley of his songs, starting with the chorus of “20:10: 20” to “Level Up’ to ‘Onyeka’ and ‘Ye’, complemented by his band ‘The Outsiders’.
Hosted virtually and physically with a limited audience, this year’s award recognises best recordings, compositions and artistes of the eligibility year.
The Recording Academy often pilloried for sidelining black artistes made some changes last year to make the show more inclusive. One of such is the change of the Best World Music Album to Global Music Album.
This year’s show was also hosted by an African: Trevor Noah, host of ‘The Daily Show’.