Nigeria’s Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun popularly known as Wizkid took home the BET Best International Act: Africa in a fiercely contested category that had fellow Nigerians, Tekno, Mr Eazi and Davido nominated, as well as South Africa’s AKA, Babes Wodumo, and Nasty C, and Ghana’s Stonebwoy.
Wizkid who will be turning 27 in July had early in the year been the first African musician to garner 1 million views in 24 hours for his song featuring Drake, One Dance, which went ahead to top the billboards.
This is the second time Wizkid is going home with the Best International Act Award, the first time was in 2012. This year however, Wizkid wasn’t available to collect his award. With a total of 44 awards and 157 nominations as of June, Starboy as he is also referred to has gone past the stars and is taking over the musical world.
With Nigerians dominating the list of nominees just as they usually dominate other lists, it was not easy to miss the lop-sidedness of the nomination coming from South Africa and West Africa. Eric Wainaina’s recent article Does Kenya Really Have a Naija Music Problem? couldn’t have come at a better time.
Other award winners from the BET include Taraji P. Henson who won the Best Actress category, Hidden Figures which won the best movie category, and Remy Ma who won the Best Female Hip-Hop Artist award. Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance on the BET Awards when she was shown on screen congratulating Chance the Rapper, the 24 year old Hip-Hop artist, and the youngest ever in BET history to win the Humanitarian Award.
In the video Michelle said, “Chance is showing our young people that they matter, that they have something inside of them that is worthy of being expressed, and they have so much to contribute to their community and our country. I can think of no better legacy to leave, and I am thrilled to celebrate you here to tonight and honored to call you my friend.”
This July, Wizkid will be on a tour with Future. Wizkid might be bracing up to connect with American audiences but one wonders if this will have an impact on the kind of music he’d continue to produce which will be far different from his earlier songs which won him a strong support base from the continent. The likes of Davido and Mr Eazi still have their feet firmly planted on the continent and still getting international airplay and fans.