Rema and Selena Gomez accept the Best Afrobeats award for "Calm Down" onstage during the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards at Prudential Center on September 12, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey.

Rema and Selena Gomez accept the Best Afrobeats award for "Calm Down" onstage during the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards at Prudential Center on September 12, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey.

Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for MTV.

Rema's "Calm Down" Clinches Best Afrobeats Honors at MTV VMAs 2023

Nigerian star Rema secures victory for "Calm Down" in the Afrobeats category, making history at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards.

In a historic moment for Afrobeats, Nigerian music sensation Divine Ikubor, widely known as Rema, clinched the inaugural Best Afrobeats Award at the prestigious MTV Video Music Awards held in Newark, New Jersey, U.S. on Tuesday. This groundbreaking achievement marks a significant milestone for both Rema and the entire Afrobeats genre, highlighting its growing global influence.

Rema secured this remarkable victory for his collaboration with international superstar Selena Gomez on the chart-topping track "Calm Down." The competition was fierce, with "Calm Down" going head-to-head against other Afrobeats hits, including Burna Boy's "It's Plenty," Davido featuring Musa Key's "Unavailable," Ayra Starr's "Rush," Libianca's "People," Wizkid featuring Ayrra Starr's "2 Sugar," and Fireboy DML's "Bandana."

In his heartfelt acceptance speech, Rema expressed his profound gratitude for the global recognition of Afrobeats, paying homage to legendary Nigerian musicians like Fela Kuti while acknowledging the rising wave of new-generation Afrobeats artists. Selena Gomez also took the opportunity to extend her thanks to Rema for the incredible collaboration and showed her appreciation for the unwavering support from the Nigerian audience.

While Rema and Selena Gomez triumphed in the Afrobeats category, "Calm Down" was not content with just one accolade. The song also received nominations in other highly coveted categories, including Best Collaboration and Song of the Year.

Adding to their list of accolades, Rema and Selena Gomez were honored at the 2023 Headies Awards, which took place in the United States on September 3. This duo each walked away with well-deserved recognition. Rema seized three prestigious awards, including Best Male Artiste, Digital Artiste of the Year, and African Artiste of the Year. Meanwhile, Selena Gomez was bestowed with the International Artiste of the Year award, underscoring the global appeal of their collaborative work.

The journey of "Calm Down" began on August 25, 2022, when it was initially released, immediately captivating audiences with its blend of Afrobeats and pop elements. The remix of the track made waves of its own, achieving the remarkable feat of maintaining a year-long presence on the Billboard U.S. Afrobeats Songs chart.

This triumph comes on the heels of Spotify's announcement that "Calm Down" has become the first African artist-led track to surpass 1 billion streams on the platform. The song's popularity transcends borders, with its highest streams originating from the United States, India, Mexico, Brazil, and the United Kingdom.

Rema's groundbreaking win at the MTV Video Music Awards, combined with the numerous accolades bestowed upon "Calm Down," underscores the global impact of Afrobeats and solidifies Rema's position as a prominent figure in the international music scene. Check out some of the winners below or the full list here.

Best Afrobeats

  • Rema & Selena Gomez – "Calm Down" (winner)
  • Ayra Starr – "Rush"
  • Burna Boy – "It’s Plenty"
  • Davido ft. Musa Keys – "Unavailable"
  • Fireboy DML & Asake – "Bandana"
  • Libianca – "People"
  • Wizkid ft. Ayra Starr – "2 Sugar"

Song of the Year

  • Taylor Swift – "Anti-Hero" (winner)
  • Miley Cyrus – "Flowers"
  • Olivia Rodrigo – "Vampire"
  • Rema & Selena Gomez – "Calm Down"
  • Sam Smith & Kim Petras – "Unholy"
  • Steve Lacy – "Bad Habit"
  • SZA – "Kill Bill"

Best Collaboration

  • KAROL G & Shakira – "TQG" (winner)
  • David Guetta & Bebe Rexha – "I’m Good (Blue)"
  • Post Malone & Doja Cat – "I Like You (A Happier Song)"
  • Diddy ft. Bryson Tiller, Ashanti, Yung Miami – "Gotta Move On"
  • Metro Boomin ft. The Weeknd, 21 Savage, Diddy – "Creepin’ (Remix)"
  • Rema & Selena Gomez – "Calm Down"

Video of the Year

  • Taylor Swift – "Anti-Hero" (winner)
  • Doja Cat – "Attention"
  • Miley Cyrus – "Flowers"
  • Nicki Minaj – "Super Freaky Girl"
  • Olivia Rodrigo – "Vampire"
  • Sam Smith & Kim Petras – "Unholy"
  • SZA – "Kill Bill"

Artist of the Year

  • Taylor Swift (winner)
  • Beyoncé
  • Doja Cat
  • Karol G
  • Nicki Minaj
  • Shakira