News Brief
Giannis Antetokounmpo, winner of the Best Male Athlete award, attends The 2019 ESPYs at Microsoft Theater on July 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

Giannis Antetokounmpo Wins 'Best Male Athlete' & 'Best NBA Player' of the Year Awards at 2019 ESPYS

It's safe to say the Greek-Nigerian athlete is having an incredible year.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is having a stellar year. After being named Most Valuable Player at the NBA Awards last month, the star athlete took home both the Best Male Athlete of the year award and the Best NBA Player of the year at last night's ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) Awards.

It was the Greek-Nigerian player's first time being nominated for Best Male Athlete, and he beat out the likes of Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs and golf star Brooks Koepka to earn the win.

He was up against fellow NBA stars James Harden, Kevin Durant and Paul George for Best NBA Player of the year. This year was the player's second time being nominated for the award and his first win.

The 24-year-old athlete was all smiles when he took to the stage to accept the award for Best Male Athlete, jokingly referencing his heartfelt MVP speech and telling the audience: "this won't be like the NBA speech, I'm not going to cry today."

"When you believe in your dreams, things like this can happen," he added.

The annual ESPY Awards, established in 1993, recognize achievement in the sports world by honoring its best players across various fields. With his breakout performance in the league this year, it makes sense that Antetokounmpo would receive not one but two of these prestigious awards.

Interview
Photo: Shawn Theodore via Schure Media Group/Roc Nation

Interview: Buju Banton Is a Lyrical Purveyor of African Truth

A candid conversation with the Jamaican icon about his new album, Upside Down 2020, his influence on afrobeats, and the new generation of dancehall.

Devout fans of reggae music have been longing for new musical offerings from Mark Anthony Myrie, widely-known as the iconic reggae superstar Buju Banton. A shining son of Jamaican soil, with humble beginnings as one of 15 siblings in the close-knit community of Salt Lane, Kingston, the 46-year-old musician is now a legend in his own right.

Buju Banton has 12 albums under his belt, one Grammy Award win for Best Reggae Album, numerous classic hits and a 30-year domination of the industry. His larger-than-life persona, however, is more than just the string of accolades that follow in the shadows of his career. It is his dutiful, authentic style of Caribbean storytelling that has captured the minds and hearts of those who have joined him on this long career ride.

The current socio-economic climate of uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrusted onto the world, coupled with the intensified fight against racism throughout the diaspora, have taken centre stage within the last few months. Indubitably, this makes Buju—and by extension, his new album—a timely and familiar voice of reason in a revolution that has called for creative evolution.

With his highly-anticipated album, Upside Down 2020, the stage is set for Gargamel. The title of this latest discography feels nothing short of serendipitous, and with tracks such as "Memories" featuring John Legend and the follow-up dancehall single "Blessed," it's clear that this latest body of work is a rare gem that speaks truth to vision and celebrates our polylithic African heritage in its rich fullness and complexities.

Having had an exclusive listen to some other tracks on the album back in April, our candid one-on-one conversation with Buju Banton journeys through his inspiration, collaboration and direction for Upside Down 2020, African cultural linkages and the next generational wave of dancehall and reggae.

This interview has been shortened and edited for clarity.

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