Big Day for Afrobeats as Burna Boy Clinches Grammy Award

  • Wizkid shares honour with Beyoncé

By Vanessa Obioha

It was a big day for Afrobeats last night as history was made at the 63rd Grammy Awards with Burna Boy, the self-proclaimed African Giant, took home the award for the Best Global Music Album.

Also on the spotlight was Wizkid, whose duet with American singer and songwriter Beyoncé and her daughter Blue Ivy, ‘Brown Skin Girl,’ took home the award for Best Music Video.

It is the second consecutive time the afro-fusion artiste is nominated in the category that celebrates influential music from around the globe.

The category was formerly known as Best World Music Album and has been mostly dominated by Brazilians. African singers who have won in this category include Beninese Angelique Kidjo, South African Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Soweto Gospel Choir.

Burna Boy is the first Nigerian to win in this category. He edged out contenders Antibalas, an American Afrobeat band that is modelled after Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s Africa 70 band; Brazilian-American singer Bebel Gilberto; British-Indian sitar player and composer Anoushka Shankar; and the Malian band, Tinariwen.

The winning album ‘Twice As Tall’ is his fifth studio album and featured international collaborations with Chris Martin, the lead vocalist of the British band Cold Play; American rap group Naughty by Nature as well as Senegalese veteran singer Youssou N’Dour.

Burna who performed at the premiere ceremony entertained audiences with a powerful medley of his songs, starting with the chorus of “20:10: 20” to “Level Up’ to ‘Onyeka’ and ‘Ye’, complemented by his band ‘The Outsiders’.

Hosted virtually and physically with a limited audience, this year’s award recognises best recordings, compositions and artistes of the eligibility year.

The Recording Academy often pilloried for sidelining black artistes made some changes last year to make the show more inclusive. One of such is the change of the Best World Music Album to Global Music Album.

This year’s show was also hosted by an African: Trevor Noah, host of ‘The Daily Show’.

See Full list of 2021 Grammy Winners


Record of the Year

“Everything I Wanted,” Finneas O’Connell, producer; Rob Kinelski and Finneas O’Connell, engineers/mixers; John Greenham, mastering engineer (Billie Eilish)

Album of the Year

“Folklore,” Taylor Swift

Song of the Year

“I Can’t Breathe,” Dernst Emile II, H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas, songwriters (H.E.R.)

Song of the Year

“I Can’t Breathe,” Dernst Emile II, H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas, songwriters (H.E.R.)

Best New Artist

Megan Thee Stallion

Best Pop Solo Performance

“Watermelon Sugar,” Harry Styles

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

“Rain on Me,” Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande

Best Pop Vocal Album

“Future Nostalgia,” Dua Lipa

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album

“American Standard,” James Taylor

Best Dance Recording

“10%,” Kaytranada featuring Kali Uchis

Best Dance/Electronic Album

“Bubba,” Kaytranada

Best Contemporary Instrumental Album

“Live at the Royal Albert Hall,” Snarky Puppy

Best Rock Performance

“Shameika,” Fiona Apple

Best Metal Performance

“Bum-Rush,” Body Count

Best Rock Song

“Stay High,” Brittany Howard, songwriter (Brittany Howard)

Best Rock Album

“The New Abnormal,” The Strokes

Best Alternative Music Album

“Fetch the Bolt Cutters,” Fiona Apple

Best R&B Performance

“Black Parade,” Beyoncé

Best Traditional R&B Performance

“Anything For You,” Ledisi

Best R&B Song

“Better Than I Imagine,” Robert Glasper, Meshell Ndegeocello and Gabriella Wilson, songwriters (Robert Glasper featuring H.E.R. and Meshell Ndegeocello)

Best Progressive R&B Album

“It Is What It Is,” Thundercat

Best R&B Album

“Bigger Love,” John Legend

Best Rap Performance

“Savage,” Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyoncé

Best Melodic Rap Performance

“Lockdown,” Anderson .Paak

Best Rap Song

“Savage,” Beyoncé, Shawn Carter, Brittany Hazzard, Derrick Milano, Terius Nash, Megan Pete, Bobby Session Jr., Jordan Kyle Lanier Thorpe and Anthony White, songwriters (Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyoncé)

Best Rap Album

“King’s Disease,” Nas

Best Country Solo Performance

“When My Amy Prays,” Vince Gill

Best Country Duo/Group Performance

“10,000 Hours,” Dan + Shay and Justin Bieber

Best Country Song

“Crowded Table,” Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby and Lori McKenna, songwriters (The Highwomen)

Best Country Album

“Wildcard,” Miranda Lambert

Best New Age Album

“More Guitar Stories,” Jim “Kimo” West

Best Improvised Jazz Solo

“All Blues,” Chick Corea, soloist

Best Jazz Vocal Album

“Secrets Are The Best Stories,” Kurt Elling featuring Danilo Pérez

Best Jazz Instrumental Album

“Trilogy 2,” Chick Corea, Christian McBride and Brian Blade

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album

“Data Lords,” Maria Schneider Orchestra

Best Latin Jazz Album

“Four Questions,” Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra

Best Gospel Performance/Song

“Movin’ On,” Darryl L. Howell, Jonathan Caleb McReynolds, Kortney Jamaal Pollard and Terrell Demetrius Wilson, songwriters (Jonathan McReynolds and Mali Music)

Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song

“There Was Jesus,” Case Beathard, Jonathan Smith and Zach Williams, songwriters (Zach Williams and Dolly Parton)

Best Gospel Album

“Gospel According to PJ,” PJ Morton

Best Contemporary Christian Music Album

“Jesus Is King,” Kanye West

Best Roots Gospel Album

“Celebrating Fisk! (The 150th Anniversary Album),” Fisk Jubilee Singers

Best Latin Pop or Urban Album

“YHLQMDLG,” Bad Bunny

Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album

“La Conquista Del Espacio,” Fito Paez

Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano)

“Un Canto Por Mexico, Vol. 1,” Natalia Lafourcade

Best Tropical Latin Album

“40,” Grupo Niche

Best American Roots Performance

“I Remember Everything,” John Prine

Best American Roots Song

“I Remember Everything,” Pat McLaughlin and John Prine, songwriters (John Prine)

Best Americana Album

“World on the Ground,” Sarah Jarosz

Best Bluegrass Album

“Home,” Billy Strings

Best Traditional Blues Album

“Rawer Than Raw,” Bobby Rush

Best Contemporary Blues Album

“Have You Lost Your Mind Yet?,” Fantastic Negrito

Best Folk Album

“All the Good Times,” Gillian Welch and David Rawlings

Best Regional Roots Music Album

“Atmosphere,” New Orleans Nightcrawlers

Best Reggae Album

“Got to Be Tough,” Toots and the Maytals

Best Global Music Album

“Twice as Tall,” Burna Boy

Best Children’s Music Album

“All the Ladies,” Joanie Leeds

Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books and Storytelling)

“Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth,” Rachel Maddow

Best Comedy Album

“Black Mitzvah,” Tiffany Haddish

Best Musical Theater Album

“Jagged Little Pill,” Original Cast

Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media

“Jojo Rabbit,” Various Artists

Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media

“Joker,” Hildur Guonadottir, composer

Best Song Written For Visual Media

“No Time to Die,” Billie Eilish O’Connell and Finneas Baird O’Connell, songwriters (Billie Eilish)

Best Instrumental Composition

“Sputnik,” Maria Schneider, composer (Maria Schneider)

Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella

“Donna Lee,” John Beasley, arranger (John Beasley)

Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals

“He Won’t Hold You,” Jacob Collier, arranger (Jacob Collier Featuring Rapsody)

Best Recording Package

“Vols. 11 & 12,” Doug Cunningham and Jason Noto, art directors (Desert Sessions)

Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package

“Ode to Joy,” Lawrence Azerrad and Jeff Tweedy, art directors (Wilco)

Best Album Notes

“Dead Man’s Pop,” Bob Mehr, album notes writer (The Replacements)

Best Historical Album

“It’s Such a Good Feeling: The Best of Mister Rogers,” Lee Lodyga and Cheryl Pawelski, compilation producers; Michael Graves, mastering engineer (Mister Rogers)

Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical

“Hyperspace,” Drew Brown, Andrew Coleman, Shawn Everett, Serban Ghenea, David Greenbaum, Jaycen Joshua and Mike Larson, engineers; Randy Merrill, mastering engineer (Beck)

Producer of the Year, Non-Classical

Andrew Watt

Best Remixed Recording

“Roses (Imanbek Remix),” Imanbek Zeikenov, remixer (Saint Jhn)

Best Engineered Album, Classical

“Shostakovich: Symphony No. 13, ‘Babi Yar,’” David Frost and Charlie Post, engineers; Silas Brown, mastering engineer (Riccardo Muti and Chicago Symphony Orchestra)

Producer of the Year, Classical

David Frost

Best Orchestral Performance

“Ives: Complete Symphonies,” Gustavo Dudamel, conductor (Los Angeles Philharmonic)

Best Opera Recording

“Gershwin: Porgy and Bess,” David Robertson, conductor; Angel Blue and Eric Owens; “David Frost,” producer (The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; the Metropolitan Opera Chorus)

Best Choral Performance

“Danielpour: The Passion of Yeshua,” JoAnn Falletta, conductor; James K. Bass and Adam Luebke, chorus masters (James K. Bass, J’Nai Bridges, Timothy Fallon, Kenneth Overton, Hila Plitmann and Matthew Worth; Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra; Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and UCLA Chamber Singers)

Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance

“Contemporary Voices,” Pacifica Quartet

Best Classical Instrumental Solo

“Theofanidis: Concerto for Viola and Chamber Orchestra,” Richard O’Neill; David Alan Miller, conductor (Albany Symphony)

Best Classical Solo Vocal Album

“Smyth: The Prison,” Sarah Brailey and Dashon Burton; James Blachly, conductor (Experiential Chorus; Experiential Orchestra)

Best Classical Compendium

“Thomas, M.T.: From the Diary of Anne Frank & Meditations on Rilke,” Isabel Leonard; Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor; Jack Vad, producer

Best Contemporary Classical Composition

“Rouse: Symphony No. 5,” Christopher Rouse, composer (Giancarlo Guerrero and Nashville Symphony)

Best Music Video

“Brown Skin Girl,” Beyoncé, Blue Ivy and WizKid

Best Music Film

“Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice,” Linda Ronstadt