Burna Boy’s African Heritage and African-Americans

Chido Nwangwu writes that the recent comments attributed to Nigerian music sensation, Burna Boy, on the historical background of African-Americans, has been condemned by some individuals in the US.

Nigerian superstar musician/artiste Burna Boy has been hit with a barrage of criticisms for his comments about African-Americans, arguing for them to return to the African continent heritage.

He said during an interview with entrepreneur and activist Chaka Bars “Let’s use America…. The Chinese American has a base; he knows he’s from China. Italian Americas know where their grandparents came from in Italy. They know the first person from their family to come to America and start that line. Same goes to everyone else except the African Americans.”

Many of his critics said he does not know what he is talking about.

One tweet by @MrIntrospect222 noted that most Black Americans today are the descendants of chattel slavery as distinct and different from the immigrant cultures he mentioned: “He skipped the whole history of African involvement in the slave trade and what that has meant for us. You can’t have a conversation with us without addressing that. So no he didn’t tell the truth he told the lord that you all have accepted as truth.”

Amid the backlash, Burna Boy sought to clarify his remarks in a lengthy statement. 

“It’s sad to see that in 2023 there are still such black people who would prefer we stay divided and conquered.”

He said his critics misunderstood him. 

“Maybe it’s my accent or something but I never said you are African and not Americans. I also did not say Africa is part of Heaven. You deserve all the Land and reparations you want from America and I’m 100% in support of that.”

He added that “I believe coming together as brothers and sisters is the only way forward to US black people worldwide.” 

I believe he means it when he calls for unity of purpose and togetherness for people of African heritage.

Burna Boy’s authenticity drives his Afrobeats music. And, yes, the world took notice two years ago when his music and provocative videos broke through — from Aba to Zurich, from Boston to Benin! His album ‘Twice As Tall’ won for the 31-years old Burna Boy (real name Damini Ogulu) the Best Global Music Album award at the 63rd Grammy Awards, on Sunday, March 14, 2021.

Being true to his roots as a Pan-Africanist activist and thinker, he had proclaimed to the world that “Africa is in the house, men! Africa, we are in the house! You get me? This is a big win for Africans of my generation all over the world and this should be a lesson for every African out there. No matter where you are, no matter what you plan to do, you can achieve it. No matter where you are from because you are a king. Look at me: Grammy award-winning Burna Boy.”

Overall, I think he has stacked substantial funds, significant achievements and successes in the music industry. But the young man still needs continuing, historical education. He is knowledgeable.  He needs to be more careful before any critical, crippling error happens…..

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