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Nigeria's Burna Boy and South Africa's Sho Madjozi Won Big at the BET Awards

The multitalented artists are the music game's best international acts for this year.

Last night, Nigeria's Burna Boy and South Africa's Sho Madjozi came through for the continent as they bagged Best International Act and Best New International Act (fan-voted) respectively at the BET Awards held in Los Angeles, California.


Sho Madjozi's win was historic for the country as she became the first South African female artist to win a BET award. The visibly emotional "Huku Nambiya" singer-songwriter took to the stage in her signature colorful style to accept her award from American actor, Terrence J. Always a fierce cheerleader for her hometown Limpopo, she spoke about how her humble beginnings did not prevent her from being the superstar she's always dreamt of. "My story is a testament that you can come from any village, in any forgotten part of the world, and still be a superstar."

Also repping for the continent was the indomitable Burna Boy. South African rapper AKA, who was also in the running for Best International Act, lost to Burna Boy and definitely left his loyal Megacy in their feels. Bose Ogulu or "Mama Burna", the artist's mother and manager, accepted the award on her son's behalf saying, "Thank you very much BET, thank you Africa. That is the constituency for which we got noticed." Mama Burna wasn't done though, she had a word for African-Americans and added that, "The message from Burna would be that every Black person should please remember that you were African before you became anything else."

Watch Mama Burna's acceptance speech here.

Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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