On Tuesday March 22nd, 2022, Billboard announced the creation of a new Chart called, the US Afrobeats Chart set to go live on March 29th, 2022. The announcement of the new chart was eagerly anticipated due to the continuous success of various Afropop artists and the adoption of the genre by various artists around the World. Afro nation is said to be collaborating with Billboard to create the perfect formula for the chart.
This announcement came in the form of an article from Billboard that attributed the widespread recognition of Afrobeats music to artists like Beyonce and Drake. Beyonce recorded an afrobeat inspired album titled, The Gift for the Lion King movie while Drake has collaborated with Wizkid on hits like “One Dance” and the remix of Wizkid’s “Ojuelegba”.
Rania Aniftos wrote in the article “Afrobeats sounds and influences have grown in the U.S. market throughout the 2010s, through artists such as Beyoncé and Drake, and now, the genre has yielded some of the biggest success stories of the young decade — including songs like Wizkid‘s “Essence” featuring Tems, CKay’s “Love Nwantiti (Ah Ah Ah)” and Fireboy DML‘s “Peru.”
The article received mixed reactions and had fans of both Drake and Beyonce, but mostly Beyonce divided, as many felt that the article should have shone a light on Afrobeat artists and their work and not focus on Beyonce and Drake. Many felt that Beyonce and Drake were over credited in a genre they only borrowed from. In a discussion celebrating the rise of Afrobeats, it did not touch on the feats that Afrobeats had achieved to put their individual countries on the Global music map.
Among the criticisms was the absence of key Afrobeat artists like Burna Boy, the winner of Best World Music Album at the 62nd Grammy Awards, Davido, the crooner of “Fall” which once held the record as the longest Billboard charting song by a Nigerian and the OG wave makers like Psquare, D’banj and Fuse ODG were also not credited in the article.
It should be noted that Billboard has since done a follow-up article looking at a bit of the history of Afrobeats from the 1950s-2010.
Twitter users had a lot to say on this and you can see some reactions below
Some people felt disrespected
Billboard is crediting Beyoncé as the artist that influenced afrobeats worldwide because of “The Gift” album?
That’s very disrespectful to actual afrobeats artists that put in the actual work to make afrobeats break boundaries.
Wiz, Davido, and Burnaboy did this for a decade!
— Kevin Eze #EndSARS (@Xclusive_Pikin) March 23, 2022
This Twitter user believes Drake deserves more accolades
Drake should be before Beyonce. Drake had more impact in afrobeat than Bey. https://t.co/4dJx7VLqVQ
— Prince King. (@Dejjiiii) March 23, 2022
This Twitter user doesn’t think Beyonce had a hand in Afro music’s progress
Beyoncé didn’t do shit for afrobeat please dfkm https://t.co/qB4ELlTu7b
— JAGS (@_EtniesJags) March 23, 2022
These tweets show how the reactions to the article leans towards negative than positive
Just imagine @billboard acknowledging drake and Beyoncé for the success of afrobeat💔 Forgetting the fact that there are original kings and pioneers of that genre #afrobeats @Davido @wizkidayo @burnaboy really worked hard to make sure afrobeat is as big and mighty as it is today.
— Mario💙🤍✝️✝️ (@MarioFebby) March 23, 2022
Beyonce has no impact on afrobeat, she only came to field from Afrobeat artists. Afrobeat movement in the USA can't be talk without the likes of Wizkid from Ojuelegba era that had drake jump on a remix, and even went as far as collaborating on One dance.
— David (@David64535309) March 23, 2022
No one is shaming anything,we're talking about Afrobeat here.Why on Earth will they give accolades to Drake and Beyonce when people like davido got the first solo Afrobeat song to get a gold certificate in the US and Burnaboy won the first Grammy with an Afrobeat album? Think man
— Bryan Langley (@RodneyCarden4) March 23, 2022
Other fans defended Beyonce from the uproar as seen below
I’m so happy that Billboard is finally giving Beyoncé her flowers. All the exposure she gave the African artists on The Gift and Black is King is finally being repaid in small ways like this new AfroBeats chart. I can’t wait to see many more of things like this to come pic.twitter.com/XLdwA8eYLX
— Hermiden (@IChoseViolencee) March 23, 2022
It’s obvious Afrobeat fans feel erased and ignored, time will tell if other media outlets learn from this conversation and portray the genre more extensively.
Now that we have filled you in, tell us your thoughts on Beyonce’s inclusion in the Afrobeats discourse in the comment section below.
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