The 62nd annual Grammy Awards, presented on Jan. 26, 2020 in Los Angeles had 84 categories with 420 nominations, and Nigerian Burna Boy was nominated for his African Giant album in the Best World Music category alongside Altin Gün, Bokanté & Metropole, Nathalie Joachim with Spektral Quartet and, Angelique Kidjo.
His nomination created ‘Mad O’ moments on the streets of social media in Nigeria, as fans and industry heavyweights took to Twitter to congratulate him and announce their supports for him.
Almost every Nigerian wanted Burna Boy to win (at least we finally have something we are proud of as a people). Someone even said that he was going to protest if they didn’t give Burna Boy the award ( I’m still waiting for him to start the protest) Lol.
It was as though the Super Eagles just defeated France and made it to the World Cup finals- everybody was (still is,) behind him. And I know it would have been a proud moment if Burna Boy was the one receiving the award and giving that acceptance speech, instead of Angelique Kidjo. By now Nigerian pastors and motivational speakers would have created messages with titles like, “Be A Giant In Your Industry”, “Don’t Settle For Less, Go For The Grammys”, “Start Small, Grow, And Become A Giant”, and lots more. You know how it goes here.😁😁
I have said it before, that the two things uniting us as a people at the moment are, Football and Music. We all celebrate together, every time the Super Eagles are doing well, regardless of our religious, political or ethnic leanings. The same thing happens when our music stars make waves globally and put Africa and Nigeria on the world map.
I sometimes imagine a Nigeria without ethnic diversity; just Nigeria. I imagine a Nigeria where football is the only religion. Think about it… Think about how peaceful, united and developed Nigeria would have been without ethnic and religious divides.
That aside. So, African Giant lost the Grammys to Angelique Kidjo, and our only solace is that she dedicated the award to Burna Boy and eulogized him for his potentials and impacts in the African music space.
While watching her acceptance speech, I wished I could stretch forth my arms and hug her passionately for being a real Mama Africa.
Also, I wished Burna Boy was the one giving the speech and showing the world our Zanku and legwork dance, and maybe shout ‘mad o’ before dropping the mic. That would have been epic. Someday, maybe.
Yes, we wanted Burna Boy to bring home the Grammys, but is the African Giant album better than that of his opponents considering what the category is all about?
Well, let’s consider a few things.
Firstly, why was he nominated?
Burna Boy was nominated for the Best World Music Album category, and the category celebrates and promotes new sounds and voice.
Out of the millions of albums released in 2019, they picked Burna Boy and four others for creating new sounds. If you listen to these albums, you will notice how strange and unique their sounds are. The World Best Music Album category is designed to encourage new sounds and African Giant by Burna Boy, made the top 5 list.
You can flashback to the past nominees and winners in the World Music Best Album category, it’s always been about new sounds.
So Burna Boy was nominated for championing new sounds.
Another question is, why was the award given to Angelique Kidjo, and not Burna Boy or the other three nominees?
To begin with, She, as the Mama Africa, is perhaps the most influential music artist in Africa.
She has had six Grammy nominations so far, won four of them now, amongst other Awards and recognitions.
Truth is, Burna Boy is still a growing artist, unlike Angelique Kidjo.
Secondly, the 10 songs which are contained in Angelique Kidjo’s album, all carry new sounds, individually. If you compare the two based on what the category is all about- NEW VOICE & SOUND, Angelique Kidjo’s album, Celia, is the winner.
Obviously, Burna Boy had a successful year in 2019- topping charts, headlining shows, getting endorsement deals, a seemingly happy relationship with his superstar girlfriend, and now a Grammy nomination. We can only wish him well in 2020, and hope that he gets nominated for the Grammys again and brings it home in the years to come.
Burna Boy remains the African Giant. In my opinion, he may not have won the Grammys, but he did not lose either. If you ask me, this will bring more attention to his brand and by extension, African/Nigerian music.
As Angelique Kidjo said while accepting her award, “This is for Burna Boy. He is among those young artists who come from Africa, who are changing the way our content is perceived and the way African music has been the bedrock for every type of music”.
Burna Boy’s nomination was a major milestone for contemporary African music and the significance was not lost on Kidjo.
Congratulations to Oluwa Burna!