Afro Beats, the official sound of many African people not just in Africa but all over the world , is a genre loved by people of all nations and all races, and is finally beginning to get the recognition it truly deserves. With African artists topping the likes of Billboard, iTunes and Spotify, and award shows like BET awards, Billboard awards and many more recognising the genre, its fair to say that afro beat has expanded significantly. However, world recognition didn’t start only recently. There have been glimpses of African greatness that stem back as far as the 70s.
Dating back to the 1970s, there were huge names in afro beats that were making headway internationally, such as Mariam Makeba, who is thought to be one of the greatest female artist to come out of Africa in that particular time period. For her amazing song ‘Mama Africa”, she won a Grammy. Another great female artist from Southern Africa was the spectacular pop singer Brenda Fassie, who captured the hearts of many with songs such as ‘Vuli Ndlela’. Finally, someone who is perhaps considered the greatest African artist of his time and possibly all time, is Fela Ransom Kuti , who won multiple awards and was recognised by a number of prolific artist of his age including Bob Marley. Fela was one of the key pillars in afro beats, with his music combatting social injustice and the status quo in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. His most famous songs that he is known for are ‘Zombie’, ‘Lady’ and ‘Water No Get Enemy’ amongst many more.
In the early 2000s, afro beats started to pick up steam, breaking into mainstream media with the creation of MTV Base Africa in 2005, allowing African music videos to be more shared on a global scale. In the 2010s, African artists then began to branch out more to the American music industry, producing songs such as “Chop My Money” from P- Square & Akon. This led on to them signing to Akon’s record Label Konvict Muzik. Other major African deals included Dbanj signing for GOOD music owned by Kanye West, which made it look possible for afro beats to go head to head with mainstream music in the United Kingdom and America.
In afro beats today, the genre is widely celebrated and welcomed with the likes of Bruna Boy performing at Coachella , Davido partnering with a wide array of American artists, and Wizkid signing deals with Nike to create his own jersey called Star Boy. Afro beats has become so huge that now there are festivals dedicated specifically to the genre, with the likes of Afronation Portugal achieving wide success and an attendance of over 10,000 people. With people of all different nationalities and races, afro beats have truly grown, and is now dominating the music market in the United Kingdom and America, as well as top charts in other countries such as France Portugal and Malaysia.
When an African says ‘afro beats to the world’, they say it with pride, and in a sense it means that, despite all we as Africans and black people go through, we still have our music, and it is able to touch us where ever we go. We will still sing and dance, regardless of situation and circumstance.