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Afrobeats Twitter set ablaze after the MOBO 2014 “Best African Act” award was presented backstage!

Last night the twitter world ran amok with hashtag #MOBOShunsAfrica trending at a rapid pace. This was as a result of the best African act of this year’s MOBO(shortened form of Music Of Black Origin) 2014  awards, being presented away from the media,  in a glamorous backstage ceremony to Fuse ODG which some considered a travesty. Afrobeats lovers and sympathisers took to twitter last night to register their disapproval, and express their dissapointment! This now beggars the question, “Has Afrobeats not yet attained the recognition status in the UK considering it is the biggest location outside of Africa where the genre is well known?” Why was the award presented backstage away from the media hence not receiving it’s due(or should we say expected) recognition? We are yet to get an official feedback from MOBO Awards regarding this, but we will endeavour to keep you in the picture. Check out a screenshot of tweets with the #MOBOShunsAfrica tweets.


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Nigeria’s finest UK DJs industry party 2012

If music is food for the soul,then DJs must be cooks for the soul(that is right! You heard it from afrocentricity unleashed first so no copyright infringement please :)).

The 2nd annual Nigerian DJs UK party presented by nigerian djs uk, was held on Saturday the 23rd of August, 2012 at D`Den Legacy nightclub, Swiss Cottage, London. This annual event is the first of its kind anywhere in europe where the creme de la creme African and Nigerian DJs in the UK, other DJs with affiliation for afrobeats, afrobeats artistes, models, comedians and entreprenuers within the african and afrocarribean entertainment industry meet together to discuss general issues relating to the afrobeats industry.

I was privileged to be at this event which showcased the best of the best DJs in the afrobeats music industry, as well as the finest afrobeat mixes that will make a baby wriggle with excitement…i even had a good chat with one of my favorite DJ Edu from BBC 1xtra`s destination africa!(

Each DJ had a few minutes to spin not only their “turntable” but showcase their skills, versatility, ingenuity and innovations. It was also an opportunity for DJs to put their rivalries aside and rub minds,share ideas and opinions. I believe come-togethers of these kind can only bring about cooperation and structure within the afrobeats industry and create a continuous evolvement of this music style which is indeed a good thing…bigger picturewise. Talk about pictures, please enjoy the attached pictures courtesy of DJA Media.

Afrobeats in the world`s eye

Music is to the soul what words are to the mind-Words are the pen of the heart, music the pen of the soul. Quote by Modest Mouse.

African music has come a long way and is a significant part of the African Culture. In Yoruba history (A tribe originally from the western part of the African Continent, south west of Nigeria, but can also be found in Brazil), music is used as an instrument for communication, entertainment, enlightenment, information dissemination, expression and so on. “Ewi”(pronounced AHY-WE) can be described as a lyrically artistic, poetic rendition(akin to an ode)in the Yoruba language, used in telling stories about past wartime experiences of  forefathers, folklore, children`s stories, exceptional heroic bravery stories, praise singing, and much more. One of my favourite “Ewi” is one of the many stories of the tortoise who is always depicted as a dodgy, cunning animal  always on one quest or the other trying to outdo other animals…I promise I will tell you the story some other time. 🙂

This decade has seen the highest rise in African artistes, African music, international recognition as well as international collaborations more than ever. We are now seeing Afrobeats breaking the international barrier that Reggae broke decades ago. I would like to analyse, the best way possible, and in my own opinion, how this change came about.

First up! What is Afrobeats? The clue is in the name here…Afro (African) Beats (music). I will define Afrobeats as music whose roots and inspiration derives from Africa, by Africans (not necessarily indigenous to the continent)which might have a fusion of western styles and/or beats, as well as elements of cultural, political, social, historical and other factors attributed to the African continent.

Afrobeats is a subset of African music which appeals more to the younger generation due to its close resemblance in style and beats to international genres. The origin of afrobeats in my own opinion can be traced back to the mid-60s-early 70s when Fela Anikulapo- kuti started his band Koola lobitos  (later known as Afrika 70 then egypt 80)and took the world by storm with performances all over the world. This brought about widespread attention to this “different” style of music which had elements of the African culture, African percussion instruments, gongs, as well as trumpets, tambourines, pianos, electric guitars and so on. The amalgamation of local and foreign musical instruments and style is what (in my opinion) culminated into the world recognized genre Afrobeats being acceptable on the world stage. This quickly grew popular with Africans(inside and outside of the continent) and people of African heritage in the diaspora due to their ability to identify with different elements of this genre.

  Fela Anikulapo-Kuti was also a political activist who used his music as a tool to notify the world about the ills of the Nigerian society which was being ruled by military dictators at the time. This obviously did not sit well with the government back then due to the exposés of their misdemeanours.Fela washed their dirty laundry in public, hence bringing the world`s attention to political tyranny in the country as it was…as well as securing a comfortable spot on the first page of their bad books.

The Afrobeats genre has evolved over the years from close resemblance to more local African music, to being more international standard styled(if you like). This change in style, beats, and structure has brought the world`s attention to Afrobeat`s front door.  Songs like Oliver Twist by D`banj , African Queen by Tuface Idibia, Chop my money(which means “Spend my hard-earned money”) by P-square etcetera have all received international attention due to their unique, indigenous, yet internationally tailored style. This has given rise to collaborations with A-list artistes like Kanye West, Rick Ross, Mary J Blige and loads more. These songs are being played alongside “big banging” tunes in clubs, rated on worldwide charts and reviewed by music critics. Oliver Twist by D`banj made it to the top 10 on MTV UK music charts which bases its ratings on downloads, hence making this song the most popular African song ever featured on the MTV charts.

Personally, I believe this is just the beginning of a long journey for Afrobeats on the world stage, and also a big opportunity for African talents to showcase their skills and culture to the world without getting overly “Americanized” since you loose your culture when you loose your identity and uniqueness. Music has always been a universal language and even children will dance to a nice tune even though they do not have a clue of what the song is about.

My advice to Afrobeats artistes in general is to keep it real with their roots i.e. Africa, and use their music as a communication, as well as an entertainment tool to the world. Please enjoy the attached video for your viewing pleasure. VIVA AFRICA!

Afrowoman: History, Roles and Responsibilities

Mama Africa! I used to wonder where and how this name was derived and remember vividly asking my mum about the origin as a kid. I remember her saying “This coined name signifies Africa`s personification in terms of its ability to breastfeed her own children”.

History shows the significance of the African Woman over thousands of years making reference to her strength, passion, compassion, resilience, long suffering and so many other qualities that makes her idolized and revered by friends,families and the society in general.

Every African culture has a significant story or history portraying the role of the woman in her society. Ancient records show her as queen, goddess, scholar, diplomat, scientist, icon, prophet and freedom fighting warrior exalted with and sometimes above her father, husband and brothers. She is the epitome of multitasking balancing the needs of the husband with that of the children as well as other extended family members not to mention the society.

We have Historical African Women like Queen Nefertiti, Makeda the Queen of Sheba, Queen Ahmose-Nefertari, Queen Tiye, and Queen Nzingha, and the women warriors of Dahomey kingdom and even in recent times, Mrs. Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti(the mother of Fela Kuti the original pioneer of afrobeats, activist and human right activist) who championed the course on recognition of African Women in Nigeria in 1953 and founded the Federation of Nigerian Women Societies . According to Dr. John Henrik Clarke, “The first accomplishment of the African woman, in partnership with the man, was the creation of a functioning family unit. This major step in human development laid the foundations of the organization of all subsequent societies and institutions. In Africa the “woman’s place” was not only with her family. She often ruled nations with unquestioned authority.

Many African Societies still need to understand that the African Woman is not a figure head but an essential member of the family unit who creates equilibrium across it. A father earns his respect and honour among his children by treating their mother with respect and dignity. She in turn sings his praise to the children and he is revered and respected.

So how is the modern day “African Woman” stepping into the shoes of her ancestors? For one, the western influence and education have had positive and negative influences on the African Woman`s role (and I am not saying this as a male chauvinist pig but as a realist). The role of the African woman has evolved over the years due to (but not limited to)these factors which brings me to these points:

Should these apparent stimuli push the African Woman out of her lifelong role?
What happened to her duties inside the home which is very significant in the bigger society?

Do not get me wrong, we have a lot of African Women who are still aware of their roles and playing it to a T, but the question remains – what is going on with the ones that have lost the cause? Where did it all go wrong?

The African Woman needs to realize that she belongs to a lineage of Warriors, Leaders, Inspirers, Home makers and so on. She is the epitome of multitasking, a goddess who is respected at home and the world in general, a ruler and warrior. Her role with regards to the man is not a competitive one in which the man is the adversary, but rather an important partner (and vice versa) without whom her role cannot be complete.

African woman, take your rightful position of respect because you have earned it over time.

Please find some relevant read links below which you can also peruse. I would like some comments and other viewpoints regarding this issue.

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