Burna Boy – From Locking horns with MTV Africa Music Awards To Winning MTV Europe Music Awards
When it comes to winning an award as prestigious as the ‘Best African Act’
at the MTV Europe Music Awards, in a category that includes other Nigerian
artists, with opposing die-hard fans, that decision often divides opinions
in this country. But Burna Boy, the 2019 winner had an overwhelming
consensus. Everyone knew that this was well deserved.
Words by Sesan Adeniji
All across the industry, pundits and fans alike will agree to the fact that
Burna leads in the list of artists that have had an amazing year. Judging
by the number of hit songs he has provided in the last twelve months, he’s
unarguably the “African Giant”. Ironically, that stands as the title of his
most recent album, the body of work jointly released in Nigeria as well as
in the international music market.
But while we are all still in the euphoria of celebrating Burna’s win as
the Best African Act, I took a step back to put this particular achievement
into context. And the question is, how did Burna Boy go from being the
artist that once locked horns with MTV Base for his inability to get a
nomination at the 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards to now winning the biggest
African honor in the 2019 MTV Europe Music Awards? The answers we arrived
at should serve as a winning strategy for every young artist.
As regards the feud with MTV Base, Burna Boy was aggrieved for not getting
a nomination although his name popped up in the ‘Best Collaboration’
category for his work in AKA’s “All Eyes On Me”. He put out a tweet
expressing his anger at MAMA for leaving him out. Tweeting his
frustration, he wrote: “I knew I wasn’t gunna win SHXT cus I never get wat
I deserve but damn this is quite deep”. The reply to that tweet from MTV
Base official twitter accounts blew up the entire issue.
As if they knew this would get out of hand and create a media frenzy, MTV
Base’s reply was sarcastic and funny. With the photo of a forlorn cub
attached to their tweet, they wrote: “Let’s try again next year. Truce?
@MTVbaseAfrica didn’t nominate me”. They also put out another tweet simply
expressing a sigh, literally, and an accompanying photo of a submerged boy
making the peace sign. But despite these exchanges, Burna never stopped
releasing good music. Likewise, MTV never ceased airing his music videos.
Within 2015 to date, Burna Boy has released three successful albums namely,
“On A Space Ship” – (2015), “Outside” – (2018) and “African Giant” –
(2019). With over fifteen hit songs in those albums, despite the artist’s
uncontrollable mannerism, we can all agree that he’s one of the most
consistent and creative Nigerian artists. If we have to look through the
the lens of all the international appearances he has made in recent times with
earning awards at the BET, everything points in the direction of just how
great Burna Boy has become.
The moral of the story is this, no matter how many times Burna has felt
hurt, allegedly ignored or when he exhibits attitude classified as
misbehavior (he has made several of them), he never stops learning and
competing. With winning Best African Act at the EMA, who says he can’t aim
for the Grammys. After all, impossible is nothing.