Still from YouTube.

7 Crossover Moments That Highlight Africa's Influence on Pop Culture In 2018

African music, dance and fashion continues to influence global pop culture, and these seven examples prove it.

Africa's impact on global pop culture was undeniable in 2018.

On several occasions, many of the biggest stars in the wold incorporated elements of youth culture from across the continent into their sound, music videos and performances, further highlighting the value of the continent's cultural exports.

Everyone from Beyoncé to Diddy to Janet Jackson drew inspiration from the culture as part of their artistry—a testament to its growing international visibility.

Below are seven unforgettable moments that we covered in 2018 when African aesthetics, music, fashion dance and more crossed over into popular culture by way of some of biggest names in the industry.


Rihanna Hits the Gwara Gwara at the Grammys

Rihanna set the internet on fire this February when she hit the gwara gwara effortlessly during a performance of "Wild Thoughts" at this year's Grammys, bringing the popular South African dance to the big stage. The reactions to the megastar's performance were just as priceless as seeing her break it down on stage.

Beyoncé Pays Homage to Fela Kuti at 'Beychella'


Beyoncé, who's expressed her admiration for Fela Kuti on several occasions through her work, brought the Nigerian legend's 1976 classic "Zombie" to her historic headlining set at Coachella when she had her band perform a horn-filled rendition of the song during her unforgettable 2-hour set. It was one of the many highlights of her internet-breaking performance.

Janet Jackson Does the Akwaaba at Billboard Music Awards

Janet Jackson gave a nod to afrobeats dance back in May when she hit the Akwaaba, popularized by Nigerian artist Mr Eazi, during her Billboard Icon Award performance in May.

Janet Jackson's "Made For Now"

Ms. Jackson also looked to aforbeats for inspiration for her single "Made for Now," featuring Daddy Yankee, which dropped back in August. While the song itself was met with mixed reviews, the African influence on the both the track and music video was undeniable. The video featured a number of African dancers who did moves like the shoki and was choreographed by Senegalese instructor Omari Mizrahi. The singer also sported several colorful looks by Cameroonian designer Claude Lavie Kameni.

Beyoncé and Jay Z Channel 'Touki Bouki' for On The Run II

Beyoncé and Jay-Z drew inspiration from the classic 1973 film Touki Bouki by legendary Senegalese filmmaker Djibril Diop Mambéty for a promo poster for that announced their On the Run II tour. The star couple recreated a famous scene in which the two protagonists ride a motorcycle embellished with a bull skull, and drew on the Wolof-language film's premise of love, adventure and escapism.

Ciara Heads to South Africa for "Freak Me'

Ciara made some noise online this summer when clips of her dancing to her Tekno-assisted single "Freak Me" in Soweto were shared online. In them the singer can be seen doing the gwara gwara in a dance sequence choreographed by thee renowned Sinovuyo Dunywa, she also rocked a look from the South African fashion brand Rich Mnisi, also recently seen on Beyoncé during her recent trip to the country for Global Citizen.

Diddy Continues to Obsess over Fela Kuti

It's no secret that many black artists are inspired by Fela Kuti's mission and sound, but Diddy took his love of the artist to another level in 2018. The music mogul, was spotted on several occasions jamming out to various Fela songs like "Let's Start" on his Instagram, and getting fly with Naomi Campbell while Fela's music plays in the background. He even included the late musician in his Black 100 list of individuals across a number of fields who've shaped black culture. Music critic Joey Akan, writes about Diddy's love for Fela and why his image continues to resonate with many influential black artists.


News Brief

Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Watch the Trailer for Wale's New Studio Album 'Wow...That's Crazy'

He says this sixth studio album will be his last.

This year has been a phenomenal year for Nigerian artists both on the continent and those part of the diaspora. Nigerian-American rapper, Wale, recently took to social media to announce that he'll be dropping his sixth studio album Wow...That's Crazy on the October 11th. This new project comes after he released three singles this year including "Gemini (2 sides)", "BGM" and "On Chill", a track he worked on with Jeremih. While fans are excited by news of the upcoming project, Wale has indicated that this will be his last album.

Keep reading... Show less
Video

Seyi Shay & Teyana Taylor Connect For 'Gimme Love' Remix

An afrobeats-inspired take on R&B.

Seyi Shay comes through with the new remix of "Gimme Love" featuring none-other-than Teyana Taylor.

The new remix sees the Nigerian singer linking up with the GOOD Music star for an afrobeats-inspired take on R&B, as the two artists trade romantic verses over the Sarz-produced beat.

The new music video for "Gimme Love Remix," follows Seyi Shay and Teyana Taylor to Harlem, New York. They head to brownstone homes, bodegas and bars as they get courted by their 'love.' It was directed by Walu and produced by JM Films.

"Gimme Love" is the lead single from Seyi Shay's upcoming EP, which was executive produced by Sarz and Harmony Samuels, and is due in November.

Watch the video for "Gimme Love Remix" below. The single is available everywhere now.

Keep reading... Show less
Music

Watch Thabsie’s Stunning Music Video for ‘iLula’

Thabsie shares stunning visuals for her latest single.

Keep reading... Show less
popular

Ice Prince Pays Homage to HHP in New Track ‘A Verse for Jabba,’ Calls Him the Father of African Rap

Listen to Ice Prince's tribute to late South African hip-hop legend.

Almost a year after HHP's death, Ice Prince releases "A Verse for Jabba," a one-verse song in which he pays tribute to the South African hip-hop legend.

He raps over the instrumental to HHP's song "Thank You Note," one of the late SA rapper's most loved deep cuts from his 2007 album Acceptance Speech.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

The Funána Revolt in 1990s Cabo Verde

In 1997, an "earthquake shook [Cabo Verde]," as a national newspaper wrote, when a group of youths calling themselves Ferro Gaita "dared to make a disc based on the gaita, ferrinho and bass guitar."