In 2019, Oscars, the Academy Awards, disqualified “Lionheart,” Nigeria’s first entry into the worldwide movie class as a result of it was predominantly English dialogue. Though Nigeria’s official language is English, the Academy wished the film to be produced in Nigeria’s native languages. As anticipated, Nigerians took to social media to precise their displeasure and grievances. Intellectuals even wrote assume items about it. The argument tilted in direction of the irrelevance of those worldwide awards and the way we’d hold getting snubbed if we continued longing to win them.
The next 12 months, 2020, Burna Boy was nominated for Greatest World Album on the Grammys for his album, “African Big”. From the nomination till the ceremony, Nigerians rooted for the album to win to rejoice the artist and Nigerian excellence. On the time, though Nigerian music already had a global breakthrough, it wasn’t as large because it presently is, and everybody wished the nomination and the potential win to be a milestone for Afrobeats music, globally. Profitable the award would have, on the time, been seen as a validation of Afrobeats’ worth and significance.
However Burna Boy didn’t win. So a repetition of what occurred within the earlier 12 months with the Oscars occurred. Arguments began flying round about how the awards didn’t validate our expertise or excellence and the way we wanted to deal with constructing our award reveals.
In 2021, Burna Boy was nominated for a similar class for his album, “Twice As Tall” and, once more, Nigerians rooted for him to win. He received, and the dialog switched from the earlier years the place folks talked about ditching worldwide awards to folks speaking about “Afrobeats to the world” and the way Burna Boy has made the continent proud.
This 12 months, about seven Nigerian artists have been nominated for the Grammy awards in varied classes, together with a newly minted class, Greatest African Music Efficiency. Sadly, no Nigerian artist received an award. The cycle of discussions and arguments that suffused the web in 2019 and 2020 began once more – “Grammy will not be a validation;” “Grammy will not be our award;” “Let’s deal with our personal award.”
It disturbs me at any time when this occurs. Certainly, it’s good to rejoice our creatives once they excel or obtain a milestone, as a result of quite a lot of work and assets go into the manufacturing of a physique of labor. And, let’s be frank, being nominated for world awards isn’t a small feat. Nonetheless, a recurrence of loss at worldwide levels doesn’t should be the breaker of vital conversations for us. It doesn’t should be a loss over a Grammy or Oscar award for us to understand that worldwide awards aren’t inventive validation for us Africans. We should always not have to attend to lose at worldwide award reveals or occasions for us to understand that it is crucial for us to restructure or finesse our methods, and admire our awards. A Grammy is nice, an Oscar is a portfolio bumper however they need to by no means dictate, validate or invalidate the worth of our artists, or the essence of our business. Shedding these awards shouldn’t be the dialog starter for vital points that ought to have been had lengthy earlier than them.
As an alternative, our focus ought to be on nurturing our native industries, strengthening our infrastructure, and fostering a supportive atmosphere for creativity to flourish. Sure, we need to take Afrobeats to the world, however that must also be on our phrases; worldwide recognition shouldn’t be a yardstick for the way we measure the success or price of our music and artists. We should recognise that true validation comes from inside our communities – from the individuals who perceive our tradition, our struggles, and our triumphs intimately. Our artists ought to be celebrated not only for their accolades on international soil, however for the impression they’ve on our society, the narratives they form, and the inspiration they supply to the subsequent technology.
Artwork goes past borders and recognition; it’s concerning the bond established between the creator and the viewers. No matter whether or not a Nigerian artist wins a Grammy or an Oscar, their contributions to our cultural heritage are immeasurable. Allow us to shift our consideration from in search of exterior validation to creating an atmosphere the place creativity thrives naturally and artists are supported. Allow us to rejoice our successes, be taught from our failures, and proceed to construct a legacy that surpasses any international award ceremony’s limits. Headies and AMVCA dey there; hol’ am tight.