Saturday, 2nd December 2023

Afrobeats taking American music scene by storm, says envoy

By Eniola Daniel and Daniel Anazia
05 August 2023   |   4:04 am
For the second time in its history, the Annual Headies Music Awards will be heading to Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States, where the 16th edition is slated to hold.

Burna Boy

• Lauds Growing U.S–Nigeria Creative Industry Ties As Headies Returns To Atlanta
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• Afrobeats, American Music Building Partnership Between Nigeria, US- Will Stevens

For the second time in its history, the Annual Headies Music Awards will be heading to Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States, where the 16th edition is slated to hold.

Over the years, Headies has witnessed an incredible display of talent and creativity from artistes, a development that has made the selection of nominees a very challenging exercise.

The theme of this year’s award is “Celebrating the African Renaissance.”

This is as the United States (US) Mission has hailed the creative industry collaboration between the United States, and Nigeria that is bringing the two countries closer together in music, film, fashion, arts, tech, professional and educational exchanges.

Delivering his remarks at the pre-award reception in honour of the 16th annual awards, the U.S. Consul General, Will Stevens applauded the burgeoning ties of the two countries in the creative industry.

Stevens explained that the return of the Headies award to Atlanta symbolises the Nigerian music industry’s dynamism, creativity, and growing global reach. He highlighted the important role of an inclusive and sustainable creative ecosystem in advancing economic growth and strengthening bilateral people-to-people ties.

“Afrobeats is dominating the American music scene right now, and we are so proud to be partnering with the Headies, and the Lagos State Government to work together to continue to build on our longstanding bilateral people-to-people ties through music.

“We are proud to support Afrobeats, Nigeria music, and the Nigerian culture generally. The partnership between Afrobeats and American music is strengthening the ties between the two countries; when we share and collaborate, we build stronger relationships and that is what the promises are all about.


Speaking on the benefits of Headies heading to the US for the second time, he said: “This allows the Nigerian music to highlight itself through the American audience. Americans love Afrobeats; the NBA All-stars game recently featured Nigerian musicians, Nigerian artistes are collaborating with US artistes so, taking the Headies to the US will further strengthen the collaboration.”

He added: “We remain committed to supporting programs and initiatives that promote artistic expression, encourage cultural exchange, and strengthen the capacity of Nigerian artists and professionals in the creative industry.”

Commenting on the development, the Nigerian Consul General in Atlanta, Ambassador Amina Smaila, noted that the 16th Headies Awards offers an opportunity to celebrate African culture, resilience, and creativity.

“Nigerian music has truly become a global force. This demonstrates the impact of Nigerian music beyond borders, and its role in shaping the global cultural landscape,” Smaila said.

On his part, Nigerian music and advertising executive, Steve Babaeko, said: “Afrobeats is taking the world by storm and the whole world is embracing it. Beyond the music, Afrobeats has become a big business globally; it is time to grab Afrobeats before it’s taken away from us, if not, it will be another cocoa plantation. We plant cocoa and export raw, it gets processed and sent back to us at premium. So, we need to take ownership because the trend now is that local labels are dying and foreign labels are signing our artistes, which is good for the artistes exposure, but it’s bad for our economy.

On how Nigeria can own the brand of music, he said: “Afrobeats has grown to this level without the government, but young Nigerians are telling the whole world the kind of talents that is in Africa. So, the government needs to come in and invest in infrastructure that will help us have 40,000-seater arenas where artistes can perform among others.

On her part, the Secretary to the Lagos State Government (SSG) Bimbo Salu-Hundeyin, said: “We recognise the huge and largely untapped potential in the creative industry, hence our continuous support the efforts, discovering new talents while encouraging the high flyers to continue to soar.

“As you are all aware, the “E” pillar of our T.H.E.M.E.S+ agenda, which stands for Entertainment and Tourism, is an expression of our administration’s commitment to fully harness the wealth creation and employment opportunities in the entertainment and creative industry in the state.

“Awards stem from our shared vision and commitment to elevate the industry to the highest level of global recognition through the creation of a platform that celebrates and rewards excellence.

“I re-affirm our creative support for the growth of the industry through various collaborations and partnerships. We will continue to collaborate and partner with all stakeholders in the industry including the Headies Awards as we move forward in the implementation of our plans and programmes for the industry as part of the global agenda for a greater and more prosperous Lagos.

Executive producer, Headies, Ayo Animashaun; U.S Consulate General in Lagos, Will Stevens and Founder, Nike Art Gallery, Chief Nike Davies-Okundaye at the reception for Headies in Lagos… recently

While expressing his excitement at the growing cultural and artistic exchanges between the United States and Nigeria, the Founder/Executive Producer of the Headies Music Awards, Ayo Animashaun, noted that the 16th Headies Awards provides an invaluable opportunity for U.S. artistes and entertainment professionals to engage with their Nigerian counterparts, fostering meaningful connections and inspiring new collaborations.

“Our goal is to continue to support the development of talent and nurture innovation in the music industry,” he said.

The Public Affairs Sections of the U.S. Mission in Abuja and Lagos support programmes that connect American creatives with their Nigerian counterparts. Through these people-to-people connections, the U.S. Mission hopes to foster a deeper relationship between the people of Nigeria and the United States.

In the award proper, Burna Boy’s Love Damini has been pitched against Asake’s Mr Money with the Vibe; Rema’s Rave and Roses; Omah Lay’s Boy Alone; Victony’s Outlaw, and Davido’s Timeless in the Album of the Year Category,

In the Song of the Year Category Rema’s Calm Down has also been pitched against Burna Boy’s Last Last, Asake’s Sungba remix, Kizz Daniel and Tekno’s Buga, Oxlade’s Ku Lo Sa, and Pheelz Finesse, featuring BNXN.

The Next Rated Category sees the organisers pitching producer cum singer, Young Jonn against Seyi Vibes, Asake, Victony, and Spyro, while the Rookie of the Year category has Mavin’s Bayanni, battling Khaid, Guchi, Bloody Civilian, Odumodublvck, and Eltee Skhillz.