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Swizz Beatz Gets Checked for Claims to Afrobeats Success in America
The American musician made the bold statement during a conversation on Prime Music's Hip-Hop focused "Rotation Roundtable" show.
In a move sure to make Christopher Columbus proud, American record producer Swizz Beatz is making bombastic claims to have introduced Nigerian musicians Wizkid and Burna Boy to America -- and social media is having none of it.
In conversation with Amazon Prime Music's 'Rotation Roundtable' hosts, the musician said, "I introduced Wizkid to America. I was the first person to play his song. Me and my wife were on a trip and we danced to his song," the rapper said, referencing a 2015 video posted by him and his wife, global superstar Alicia Keys, dancing to Wizkid's "Ojuelegba". He then further claimed, "(I was the) first person to bring Burna Boy to the States. I introduced him on the stage." While Beatz's claim to be the source behind Afrobeats's success in the US is aggravating and wrong, he most likely did expose some of his Hip-Hop community to African music for the first time. "When I was playing Fela Kuti," he continued, "People thought I was being too African, that's how ignorant the energy was at that time."
Afrobeats enthusiasts were quick to put Beatz in his place, however. If anyone can claim an early interest in Wizkid, it's American singer-songwriter-abuser Chris Brown. The pair first met in 2012, and the relationship blossomed into performing together by 2013. Wizkid had already entered the American music scene, with collaborations with Senegalese-American star Akon, by the time Beatz shared the video of his wife dancing. But, even in that circumstance: What is the American obsession with claiming rights to things that don't belong to you?
AsGodwin Tom, Managing Director of Sony Music Nigeria put it, "We are doing this thing again where we are allowing others to create a narrative for us, and that's dangerous... very soon, it will be America that introduced Afrobeats to the rest of the world. We must differentiate appreciating a sound from actually being a part of the team introducing the music." This desire to be the founding father of all things African does nothing but center American perspectives -- contradicting the entire point of Afrobeats being by Africans for Africans. It further discredits the work that Africans in the diaspora put in to stay close to their roots and build spaces for their own communities. While Swizz Beatz has always done a great job of hyping up music and talent from the continent, this business of being the person who made it possible for African music to flourish on a global scale is getting old.
Social media users had a lot to say about the latest American to claim rights to the global success of Afrobeats
\u201cSwizz introduced Burna on stage at the concert, but this is insulting to the work all the promoters and people of the diaspora Have been doing to spread the culture and this is why we need our own platforms so our stories can be properly told .\u201d— Young Prince \ud83c\uddef\ud83c\uddf2\ud83c\uddf3\ud83c\uddec (@Young Prince \ud83c\uddef\ud83c\uddf2\ud83c\uddf3\ud83c\uddec) 1682861361
\u201cThe day the Real players like Wiz will talk about this topic then there\u2019ll be lot of clarity and positioning until then everyone who contributed no matter how little will wanna claim the glory. For emphasis sake WIZKID have a lot to say about this and someone need to get him\u2026\u201d— OBA\ud83d\udc51 (@OBA\ud83d\udc51) 1682963795
\u201cFor a guy who stamped his authority as a co-headliner at the first ever concert to be Tagged "Afrobeats" in London in 2011, went back to make history at the same venue as a solo headliner in 2012, Sold out UK and US tour in 2012. A detailed Wizkid documentary series in vital \ud83d\ude24\ud83d\ude24\u201d— Wizkidisthegreatest (@Wizkidisthegreatest) 1682965222
\u201cRefreshing to see how Afrobeats has evolved in perception and mass appeal.\n\nOnce upon a time, the questions used to be like, \u201cdo you ever see afrobeats someday going global?\u201d \nBut now everyone\u2019s jostling for who was the first to support or introduce the culture to its people.\u201d— Slim. (@Slim.) 1682967695
\u201c@EniolaMafe They talk like there haven\u2019t been Afrobeats shows in the US since the early 2000s. Like 2Baba didn\u2019t have his African Queen record on a Hollywood movie. Like 2Baba and Bennie Man never happened. Like my bro Shades wasn\u2019t hosting the biggest African events in Houston!\u201d— Eniola Mafe (@Eniola Mafe) 1682887473
\u201c@itzbasito Abeg! Abeg! Abeg! Nigerians and Africans in and outside the continent amplified their artistes outside of Nigeria and the rest of the world caught on. Gerrarrahia epic nonsense!\u201d— BASITO (@BASITO) 1682838280
\u201cWale and Jidenna are literally Nigerian Americans who\u2019ve been down with the Afrobeats sound from day 1!! \n\nRick Ross made Beautiful Onyinye with P Square back in 2011 \n\nAkon had Chop My Money with P Square back in 2011\n\nSnoop featured on Mr Endowed with Dbanj back in 2011\u201d— Rosewood \ud83d\udc51 (@Rosewood \ud83d\udc51) 1682945159
\u201cAkon & Swizz beatz dragging for who was the first to introduce Wizkid /Afrobeats to the US market \ud83d\ude02\n\nAkon ; " I signed Wizkid in 2008" \nSwizz beatz; " I was the first to play Wizkid's music in the US" \n\nEven Chris brown wey show love to Wizkid pass these guys no dey too talk \ud83d\ude02\u201d— Tweet Inspector \ud83c\uddec\ud83c\udded x \ud83c\uddec\ud83c\udde7 (@Tweet Inspector \ud83c\uddec\ud83c\udded x \ud83c\uddec\ud83c\udde7) 1682943114
\u201cAll due respect to Swizz but no! Wizkid supported by Nigerian Diaspora, nigerian music industry and years of hard work brought Wizkid to the US. See it\u2019s stuff like this that \u2026 we need more people to tell the story of Afrobeats & Music from Nigeria, otherwise pple make up stuff\u201d— Eniola Mafe (@Eniola Mafe) 1682887473
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