In recent years, Nigeria’s music artists have been gaining more recognition on the world stage and especially with artists such as Wizkid, Davido, Tiwa Savage, Burna Boy, Mr Eazi and others performing and selling out o international venues. One can say it all began with earlier Nigerian artists such as 2face, P-Square and the likes collaborating with various international acts. This was followed by Nigeria’s continuous nomination and winning of the Best International Act category at the BET Awards. Only recently, Burna Boy clinched that title. Past nominees and winners include: 2face, Wizkid, Davido etc.
But the question is this: how popular is Afrobeats in Europe and the US? How International is Afrobeats? First, it is important to note that Nigerian acts have been dominating Africa’s entertainment space for years. We have been thriving on the continental stage for decades and we still are. However, our foray into the international limelight has been recent and is still infantile. A huge part of the market in Europe and the US is Nigeria’s diaspora community. That doesn’t seem like a lot, honestly. But if you put into account the growing interest in the culture and arts of Blacks and Africa, it becomes clearer.
There is a growing curiosity and interest in the Nigerian musical expression among white people, especially as it relates to sound and dance. It is a door blown wide open whose potential gains we are yet to utilise adequately. Of course, there is the issue of defining what Afrobeats is. And what difference or similarities it shares with Afrobeat.
Beyond having that conversation, there are two dominant artists on the Afrobeats terrain andt they are Wizkid and Burna Boy. They are both being recognised as the biggest exporters of the sound and they have dedicated fans and admirers all over the globe. They are performing at international Festivals(e.g Coachella) and bagging international Awards, commanding respect and admiration as they go. International collaborations have become normalized.
In the end, it does not matter who bears the face. It only matters that it is exported and recognised the world over. With how much success that has been achieved, there is still a lot more to do to make Afrobeats a mainstream sound in the world of music.