Black Coffee on His New Album, South Africa at the BET Awards & the Meaning of 1976

Black Coffee is representing South Africa at this weekend’s BET Awards in Los Angeles.

When the BET Awards go down this Sunday in Los Angeles, the South African presence will be strong. Black Coffee, AKA and Cassper Nyovest are all in the running in the Best International Act: Africa category. Emtee is up for a Viewer’s Choice Award in the Best New International category. And Nandi Mngoma is getting in on the action too. The TV personality is covering the BET Experience and the red carpet for BET Africa.

After picking up four awards, including one for his lifetime achievements, at the South African Music Awards earlier this month, Black Coffee will continue to wave the SA flag this weekend in L.A. We caught up with the producer over the phone to ask him some questions ahead of the awards.

On his new album

"I just signed an international recording deal with Ultra Music, New York. This is the first album that I’ll be releasing internationally. In the past, with my albums, I’ll usually just do like full house songs. With this one I’m changing the approach. Yes, it’s under the dance music category, but I have some slower dance songs. It’s not just the same tempo the whole album. It’s different styles of house."

On the meaning of 16 June in South Africa

"It’s always a very emotional day. I put up a post yesterday, how amazing it was [that] so many years later, 40 years later in South Africa they’re playing 90% local music. We still have a long way to go, but we’re on our way. I choose not to be negative and cry about the past. I’d rather be quite optimistic and hope for the best. It happened for a reason, so let’s see the reason and strive for better things."

On South Africa at the BET Awards

"It’s exciting, I mean to see us getting that kind of recognition. I’ve seen the involvement. I’ve seen how much they [BET] want us to be involved in the pre-parties, to attend the concert they’re doing. It’s really really nice to see, how they’re involving us, not just in the ceremony. It’s exciting, it’s exciting times us being given such a platform."

On the BET Awards’ Best International Act: Africa controversy

"For them to introduce the International categories, it’s either they do it right or don’t do it at all. For me it doesn’t really mean anything, but it’s also just a sign of respect. If you’re saying I recognise you, don’t say I recognise you a little bit. Say I recognise you. It doesn’t matter who’s going to present the award, whether they’re African or not. But have it in the same ceremony with everyone else.

I mean I love the approach. I love how involved they got... I love how they’re showing we’re a part of this thing. They’re doing a great job honestly. I don’t know what’s going to happen on the day, but everything else has been amazing."

Photo credit should read KELVIN IKPEA/AFP via Getty Images

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