A lot can be said for the 19th Annual BET Awards that took place last Sunday. There was the heart filled tributes to rapper Nipsey Hussle and Director Jon Singleton. The speech that Tyler Perry gave about creating your own for the community had me standing on my feet and Lizzo’s performance of Truth Hurts was fantastic. Please do not even get me started on the wonder that was Mary J. Blige being honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award., followed by her giving us a mini concert of some her greatest hits. The BET awards truly outdid themselves this year. However, what really stood out to me was the increasing presence of African Artists and influencers.
Africans On the Blue Carpet
One simply cannot ignore the ever-growing attendance of African Artists, and witnessing them getting the recognition that they deserve. The blue carpet in LA was graced with the presence of 30 African entertainers. AKA, DJ Cuppy, Mr Eazi, Nomzamo Mbatha, Eddie Kadi and Monalonga Shozi, just to name a few. I must applaud South African personality Nomzamo Mbatha for wearing a beautiful floor length, A-line dress made by South African designer Loin Cloth & Ashes.
African designers deserve as much recognition as possible. It is important for the world to know that African fashion is not a fly by moment that began and ended with all of us wearing our Dashikis, Kente and Chitenge outfits to screenings of Black Panther. Between Beyonce wearing designs by Ivorian label Yhebe Design, Peulh Vagabond & Senegalese Sarah Diouf’s line Tongoro Studio on her trip to South Africa for the Global Citizen, and Naomi Campbell walking for Tiffany Amber at the 6th Arise Fashion Week in Lagos; know that African fashion is no longer willing to be ignored.
We need to take a minute to recognise Sho Madjozi getting the recognition she has worked so hard for. She was the winner of the Best New International Act category and South Africa could not be prouder.
It was also excellent to see Burna Boy and Mr Eazi nominated in the Best International Act. The best part of Burna Boy’s winning in this category was when his mother accepted his award for him. In true African mum form, Mama Burna delivered a few pearls of wisdom that made me stand up and cheer. She thanked the continent for her son’s win, stating that Africa is ‘the constituency for which we got noticed in the first place.’
She also reminded BET Awards as well as the entire community watching at home that
“The message from Burna, I believe will be that every black person should please remember that you were Africans before you became anything else.”
It is exciting to our representatives from different countries across the continent getting the accolades they so richly deserve. Watch the space, Africa has so much more to give to the world.
Written by Natasha Mulenga