Afrobeats: Burna Boy Headlines Biggest Festival After Rubbishing Genre

BY JO Mensah October 3, 2023 12:28 PM EDT
Burna Boy
Burna Boy thrilled Afrobeats fans at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark Photo source: Instagram/@burnaboygram

Burna Boy will be playing at one of the biggest music festivals that celebrates Afrobeats despite his seeming disdain for the genre.

The Last Last hitmaker is billed to headline the 2023 AfroNation festival scheduled for December in his home country of Nigeria.

Born Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu, Burna Boy has dominated the African music scene in the last five years. One of the most streamed African artistes ever, he has played at major events and filled iconic venues, including the 02 Arena in the UK and the Madison Square Garden in New York.

Afrobeats Burna Boy on stage

Burna Boy performing at Roskilde Festival in Denmark in July 2023 Photo source: Instagram/@burnaboygram

All these feats and many others were achieved on the back of Afrobeats, the music sensation originating from West Africa, which has been rising globally over the years.

Burna Boy ‘rubbishes’ Afrobeats genre as nothing

Notwithstanding the benefits he has gained from his association with Afrobeats, Burna Boy seems to think very little of the genre.

In a recent interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, the singer criticized the content of Afrobeats songs, rating them as nothing.

“90% of them, have almost no real-life experiences that they can understand, which is why you hear most of Nigerian music, or I’ll say African… I don’t even know what to say, Afrobeats as people call it, it’s mostly about nothing, literally nothing. There’s no substance to it…Nobody is talking about anything in it. It’s just a great time,” Yahoo News quoted him as saying.

Watch Burna Boy’s interview below:

Burna Boy headlines 2023 AfroNation festival

Barely two months after his controversial statement about Afrobeats, Burna Boy will virtually celebrate the genre at AfroNation 2023.

Organizers of the music festival have announced the African Giant, as some fans call him, as the main star for the December 19-20 event to be held in Lagos.

He is joined by Nigerian compatriots Seyi Vibez, Flavour, British rapper JHus, and Ghana’s Black Sherif as the first set of artistes billed to thrill Afrobeats lovers.

Burna Boy’s dominance makes him inevitable

While he describes his music as Afrofusion and likes to distance himself from Afrobeats, the singer still stands strong when it comes to the genre.

With over 19.5 million monthly listeners on Spotify, Burna Boy has a massive following across the globe. He is also the first-ever African artiste to top a UK Album Chart with the release of his 7th album, I Told Them.
His records make him one of the sought-after African artistes and a goldmine for any concert organizer. It was only prudent for AfroNation to put Burna Boy on the bill even if his statements denigrated Afrobeats and made lovers of the genre look ‘not deep enough’.