Nigeria and South Africa triumph at the 2023 Grammys

Arts, Culture and Sport

Nigeria and South Africa triumph at the 2023 Grammys

With ‘Afrobeats’ picking up steam globally, more African acts are being recognized for their musical talents and their contribution to current pop culture. Of the African artists and projects that received Grammy awards and nominations, some were expected but others caused a bit of a stir



Nigerian super artist Tems (Temilade Openiyi) won her first Grammy award for her contribution to Future’s hit single ‘Wait For U’. Photo credit: Tems Facebook

The 65th Annual Grammy Awards held on February 5th, 2023, at the Arena in Los Angeles was hosted by the incomparable and recently freelancing Trevor Noah. While he regaled and interacted with the crowd, fans witnessed African acts lose, win, and set new records- entirely above the competition. One notable moment in the night was when Nigerian sensation Tems, become the first female Nigerian artist to win a Grammy award after bagging three nominations in various categories.


  • Two-time Grammy-nominated musician Ghanaian singer-songwriter Rocky Dawuni’s single “Neva Bow Down” featuring Jamaican Blvk H3ro lost out on this year’s award for Best Global Music Performance.
  • In 2021, the African giant, Burna Boy made history as the first Nigerian to win a Grammy when he rose to the top of the Global Music Album category (previously Best World Music Album). This year his latest studio album, “Love, Damini” was nominated for the Best Global Music Album category, and his global-charting record “Last Last” was nominated for Best Global Music Performance. Unfortunately, despite creating a chart-topping album and a summer anthem he lost out on both awards.
  • Beninese legend Angélique Kidjo and Ibrahim Maalouf, were also nominated for Best Global Music Album for “Queen of Sheba,” and her song “Keep Rising” co-written by Jeremy Lutito and Jessy Wilson, that in the controversial movie Woman King, was included in the Best Song Written for Visual Media category. In 2022 Kidjo won an award for her 16th studio album ‘Mother Nature’, making her a five-time Grammy winner.
  • Ugandan singer Eddy Kenzo’s track “Gimme Love” with American rapper Matt B, was put up for the Best Global Music Performance award. He is the first Ugandan to ever be nominated for a Grammy.
  • “And the baby went to south Africa thank you for the support my people I’m forever grateful. Viva Uganda. this is just the beginning mbagala nyo,” he wrote on Instagram.


  • Nigerian super artist Tems (Temilade Openiyi) won her first Grammy award for her contribution to Future’s hit single ‘Wait For U’, also featuring Drake. The song won the Best Melodic Rap Performance against contenders such as Jack Harlow, Kendrick Lamar, and DJ Khaled. She was also nominated alongside Queen B herself, Beyoncé, for her song writing credit on track 10, “Move”, off the Renaissance album.
  • Wouter Kellerman, Zakes Bantwini, and Nomcebo Zikodeshowed the South African collaborators that created the hit single “Bayethe” won this year’s Best Global Music Performance award. A fete that got the internet talking about the miscalculated snub of Nigerian artist Burna Boy’s global sensation, “Last Last”.

“Thank you so much. This is such a beautiful moment on the road to sharing South African music and culture with the world,” Kellerman said during his acceptance speech.

“I just want to say, we are coming from Africa, South Africa. And this moment right here to anybody who’s in Africa just proves and affirms that every dream is valid,” Bantwini added.

The Recording Academy also announced five new Award categories, including Songwriter of The Year (Non-Classical), Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games, and a new Special Merit Award for Best Song For Social Change. And it gave a historic salute to hip-hop, featuring countless stars over the generations, including Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Scarface, Missy Elliott, Lil Uzi Vert, and many more.

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