There is a lot of shock over Wizkid – the biggest African act in the last two years – missing out on the BET Award for Best International Act – Africa. And rightly so.
Wizkid’s late 2015 single, Ojuelegba was the hottest single of last summer, even before Drake and Skepta jumped on a remix that only served to catapult it further. The song enjoyed endorsements from Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz, and got recognized by Fader as 12th Best Song of 2015 Globally.
To add to that, this year Wizkid co-wrote, co-produced and featured on the hottest song of this summer, One Dance by Drake. The song has been the longest running number one single in the UK’s digital music history, as well as the longest running number one single this year on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2016.
Needless to say, the reach of Wizkid’s music has comfortably reached beyond Africa to the US with all these features, and also to Europe where he recently toured with Chris Brown. He has brought so much attention to African music with American entertainment personalities like Wale and DJ Akademiks discussing and defending him on radio and social media respectively.
However, there is almost no way Wizkid could have won that award. Wizkid made it clear last year that he will never go for a BET Award where he will be awarded backstage, away from the live audience as the media network does to the recipients of its African award. He tweeted this;
Lol So I'm hearing BET is mad cos I didn't come for the pre shows and interviews! Lol.
— Wizkid (@wizkidayo) June 29, 2015
He boycotted the awards last year, and rightfully so. He was not the only one either. Ghanaian international act, Fuse ODG also took the same stance, telling BET they have to stop the disrespect of African artists.
It is quite evident that there was no way BET would have awarded an artist who stood up to them that way. He also boycotted this year’s awards and did not participate in any of the promotion prior to the event.
This in my opinion, is a stance that other African artists have to start taking to preserve their self-respect as well as that of the African people. It is disrespectful that an award created to honour and award black people of excellence will segregate Africans by not giving them their awards during the main event.