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Janet Jackson Hit the Akwaaba Dance at The Billboard Music Awards and It Was Everything

The legendary singer took home the Icon Award at last night's show.

Janet Jackson received a long-overdue icon award at last night's Billboard Music awards, which saw some of the biggest names in music gather in Las Vegas to celebrate their chart-topping successes.

There were many highlights, but we were mostly watching to see Ms. Jackson command the stage like she's done so many times in the past, and she did not disappoint.


The 52-year-old star ran through some of her most memorable hits like "Nasty Boy," and "If." At one point during her electrifying performance, the singer hit the Akwaaba dance, popularized by Mr Eazi earlier this year upon the release of his collaboration with Guiltybeatz and Patapaa by the same name.

The musician shared his excitement over the queen performing the dance during her set on Instagram this morning, "I woke up to DMs from my fans, telling me Janet Jackson had done the #Akwaaba on the Billboard stage," he wrote, also adding that he'll be dropping two new singles this week.

See Janet hit the move below:

Janet isn't the only pop star jumping on African dance crazes either. Back in February, Rihanna sent the internet ablaze when she did the Gwara Gwara at the Grammy's.

The singer became the first black woman ever to receive the icon award—yes, in 2018—and gave a moving speech. "It's a moment when at long last women have made it clear that we will no longer be controlled, manipulated or abused," she said. "I stand with those women and with those men equally outraged by discrimination who support us in heart and mind."

Other highlights from the billboard music awards included Kendrick Lamar's six wins, a tribute to the victims of the Santa Fe shooting in Texas, and a reunion performance by Salt and Peppa and En Vogue.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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Interview

Adekunle Gold Is Living His Best Life

We speak to the Nigerian star about how marriage and fatherhood have led him to find both newfound happiness and newfound freedom as an artist.

''I'm having the time of my life,'' says Adekunle Gold over a Zoom call while seated in his office in Lagos. ''I'm making songs that are so true to my current energy, my current vibe.'' When I got on the call with the 34-year-old artist on a Wednesday afternoon, the first thing I noticed was his hair tied up in little braids, the second was his wide smile. As we speak, the crooner laughs multiple times but it's his aura that shines through the computer screen, it lets you know better than his words that he's truly having the time of life.

Born Adekunle Kosoko, the popular Nigerian singer got married barely two years ago to fellow artist Simi. Last year, the power couple welcomed their first child. As we talk, Gold points to his journey as a father and a husband as some of the biggest inspirations at the moment not just as far as music goes but as his perspective in life and how he now approaches things.

''My [artistry] has changed a lot because being a father and being a husband has made me grow a lot and more.'' Adekunle Gold tells OkayAfrica. ''It has made me understand life a lot more too. I'm feeling more responsible for people. You know, now I have a kid to raise and I have a wife to support, to be a real man and husband and father for.'' He credits this journey with both his newfound happiness and a newfound freedom as an artist.

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Music
(Youtube)

The 5 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Fireboy DML, Juls, Adekunle Gold and more.

Every week, we highlight the top releases through our best music of the week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

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Michaela Coel Joins the 'Black Panther' Sequel Cast

The upcoming film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, is shaping up.