Wizkid and Tems became the first African artists to win a BET Award outside the now customary Best International Act category.
The BET Awards have proven to be a good metric for identifying and celebrating Black greatness across music, film, sports, and television for several years. The 22nd edition of the famed Award show was held last night at the Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater and we were treated to interesting performances from acts like Giveon, Diddy, Fireboy DML, as well as new winners and trailblazers. As usual, the artists and celebrities alike stormed the red carpet clad in their best possible ensemble, striking the several poses that have endeared them to us during their rise to the top. It focuses particularly on Black excellence, and this makes it a truly global event.
Thanks to globalization, Afrobeats has reached new heights over the last few years. While we continue to guard against whitewashing, we have been able to spread our beloved genre across the globe in a quest to achieve worldwide appeal and still maintain our core — controversial, rhythmic, and bubbly — essence.
Before Made in Lagos, Wizkid tweeted that he and Tems had made magic. We didn’t know what the gravity of that statement at the time, but “Essence” turned out to be a special record. The song was rapidly gaining attention from different parts of the globe ー drawing similarities to Luis Fonsi’s incredible Despacito run ー which prompted Justin Bieber to jump on it and crank up the already gargantuan record into a genuine global anthem.
This greatness was rewarded last night with the award for Best Collaboration at the 22nd BET Awards, as Wizkid and Tems became the first African artists to win a BET Award outside the now customary Best International Act category. Cue the standing ovation because Big Wiz and Tems deserve all the plaudits.
It was a lovely night for Afrobeats as a whole, and who better than two of the finest African exports to represent us on the global stage. You would imagine that this is only the start of a beautiful revolution for us, and our beloved genre.