Nigerian music stars Burna Boy and Wizkid are on a historic run. In March 2021, they won their first Grammys, with Burna Boy winning Best Global Music Album for his fifth studio album Twice as Tall, and Wizkid clinching the Best Music Video statute alongside Beyoncé and Blue Ivy for their global hit, “Brown Skin Girl.”
Now, both artists have been nominated for the Best International Act at the BET Awards 2021. The awards show, established in 2001, celebrates Black and African-American individuals worldwide in 21 categories across music, television, film, and sports.
Burna Boy and Wizkid were nominated alongside French-Malian singer Aya Nakamura, Tanzanian singer Diamond Platnumz, Brazilian rapper Emicida, British rapper Headie One, British hip hop duo Young T & Bugsey and French-Congolese rapper Youssoupha.
The nominees for Best International Act are:@AyaNakamuraa (France)@BurnaBoy (Nigeria)@DiamondPlatnumz (Tanzania)@Emicida (Brazil)@Headieone (UK)@WizKidayo (Nigeria)@YoungTandBugsey (UK)@Youssouphamusik (France)
— #BETAwards (@BETAwards) May 27, 2021
Until 2016 and 2017, the Best International Act was divided into two, Best International Act: UK and Best International Act: Africa, respectively. In the Best International Act: Africa category, Nigerian acts had the larger share of wins: 2face Idibia and D’banj won in 2011; Wizkid won alongside Ghanaian rapper Sarkodie in 2012; Ice Prince won in 2013; Davido won in 2014; Wizkid won in 2017.
In 2019 and 2020, Burna Boy won the BET Award for Best International Act, two wins in a row. In the latter year, Wizkid won the BET HER Award alongside Beyoncé, Blue Ivy and Saint Jhn for “Brown Skin Girl,” off the soundtrack album The Lion King: The Gift.
“We are back and excited to bring culture’s biggest night, the 2021 ‘BET Awards,’ safely back to Los Angeles to celebrate this year’s incredible roster of nominees,” said Connie Orlando, EVP Specials, Music Programming & Music Strategy. “We broke ground as one of the first official award shows to move forward during the global pandemic and we are ready to take our pioneer status to the next level with the return of an audience to celebrate the best and brightest creative minds in the entertainment industry.”
Last year, Wizkid released his fourth studio album Made in Lagos, and on the track “Ginger,” he featured Burna Boy.
The BET Awards 2021 show will air on 27 June 2021.
Uzoma Ihejirika is a Nigerian creative writer and journalist. He is an editor for the AfroAnthology Series and a copy editor for Minority Africa and has written for Open Country Mag. He has a short story on Lolwe.