by Helvine Achieng
March 16, 2021
Nigeria's Afrobeats stars Burna Boy and Wizkid have both won awards at the 2021 Grammys. Burna Boy won the Best Global Music Album category while Wizkid won the Best Music Video for his song with Beyoncé, Brown Skin Girl, from Lion King: The Gift album.
Burna Boy, whose real name Damini Ogulu, a nominee for a second consecutive year, won with his Twice As Tall album. The 63rd Grammy Awards was held in Los Angeles, traditionally billed as "music's biggest night". This year's ceremony was different because of the coronavirus pandemic. There was no audience, and performers were separated into five stages, arranged in a circle inside the Los Angeles Convention Center to maintain social distancing.
Burna Boy, 29, beat four others, including the Malian band, Tinariwen. The Grammys nomination described Twice As Tall as "a masterclass in the vibe and hustle that have made Burna Boy an international musical force".
"[He] continues to torch limitations, seamlessly blending styles and genres and fearlessly fuelling the fire heating the melting pot of pop, Afrobeat, dancehall, reggae and more," it said.
The album features a wide range of international artists such as Stormzy, Youssou Ndour, Naughty By Nature, and Chris Martin of Coldplay, and had Sean Combs as executive producer. The video which saw Wizkid win was described as "a feast for the fashion-forward and a celebration of Black and brown female beauty everywhere".
Burna Boy was nominated in the same category in 2019 - then known as Best World Music Album - but lost out to Angelique Kidjo at the awards ceremony in 2020.
Born in Nigeria's Port Harcourt, Burna Boy released his first album, LIFE, an acronym for Leaving an Impact For Eternity, in 2013. The album was followed by Redemption's release in 2015 and Outside in 2018 that included the international hit track, Ye. With his 2019 African Giant album, Burna Boy hit the international scene and earned his first Grammys nomination.
The artiste has also been closely involved in the #EndSARS anti-police brutality protests in Nigeria last year, setting up a fund for victims and releasing a song in memory of those killed on 20 October 2020 at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos.