We all know about the sudden emergence of “afro-beats” in Western culture. It was around 2009/2010. (These times I was still in Nigeria) When I would come back for summer holidays I would hear the music I was listening to on my daily commute to school on the radio in London too and it really took me by surprise that it was reaching people so far away from home.
I say surprised because it wasn’t always “cool” to be African. A lot of people didn’t feel comfortable expressing their culture in front of the public eye. They felt they had to suppress it when they were outdoors.
A popular example is how so many Africans would pretend to be from the Caribbean during primary school (those born between the years ’92-’98 can vouch for me on that!). This was down to the view on Africans back then and the things people would associate with being African.
Because of this, only the “strong-headed” or “brave” ones would proudly express their culture while the others hid in the shadows. However, nowadays is MUCH different. Since the popularity of afro-beats shot through the roof. More people are now; more than ever, willing to claim their roots.
The influence it has had on music is significant also. Artists from Africa are collaborating with artists from Europe and America more and more every day. For example, Fuse ODG of Ghana recently won a Grammy for his contribution in the “Divide” album by Ed Sheeran.
Another example would be the collabs between “Wizkid” & “Drake”, “D’Banj” & “Gucci Mane”, “Maleek Berry” & “Yung Bane” and many more.
Recently also, during the “Wild Thoughts” Grammy Awards performance from DJ Khaled and Rhianna. Rhianna was seen bussing a move that a lot of people referred to as the “stanky leg”. But it is in fact a dance from South Africa called the “Gwarra Gwarra”.
Africa has a huge influence over music today and anyone that tells you any different is either living under a rock or is blinded by so much envy/bitterness that they have chosen not to acknowledge it.
Anyway that’s it from me, until next time.