Nigerian Afrobeats singer Burna Boy set off a debate over the relationship African-Americans have with Africa. But in all of the brouhaha over his comments, Burna Boy came out for reparations for Black Americans.
Burna Boy rose to stardom in 2012 after releasing the song “Like to Party,” the lead single from his debut studio album “L.I.F.E.“ In 2017, Burna Boy signed with Bad Habit/Atlantic Records in the U.S. and Warner Music Group internationally. His third studio album, “Outside” (2018), marked his major-label debut. In 2019, he won Best International Act at the 2019 BET Awards and was announced as Apple Music Up Next artist that year. His fourth studio album, “African Giant,” was released in July 2019. It won Album of the Year at the All Africa Music Awards and was nominated for Best World Music Album at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards. Burna Boy released his fifth studio album, “Twice as Tall,” in August 2020. It won Best World Music Album at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards. He won Best International Act at the 2021 BET Awards.
Burna Boy’s sixth studio album, “Love, Damini,” was released in July 2022 and became the highest debut of an African album on the Billboard 200 chart. In 2023, Rolling Stone ranked him number 197 on its list of the 200 greatest singers ever.
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The singer, songwriter, and performer Damini Ogulu, known as Burna Boy, pushed back on criticism he received over his recent comment about the roots of Black Americans.
Burna Boy rubbed some African Americans the wrong way after his recent comment regarding the importance of them leaving the diaspora to go home, meaning Africa.
During a video interview, Burna Boy was asked why he felt it was important for Black Americans to go to Africa. He answered that it would help to know their identities properly and maneuver the world better.
He noted that Chinese-Americans and Italian-Americans, for example, have more confidence in dealing with issues in America because of their ties to their heritage. At the same time, African Americans tend not to know much about Africa. And even if they came back, there wouldn’t know what country their roots are from due to slavery.
“Why do you think Chinese-Americans have their respect and don’t go through the things that African Americans go through,” he said.
“The Chinese American has a base; he knows he’s from China. Italian Americans know where their grandparents came from in Italy.
“They know the first person from their family to come to America to start that line… same goes to everyone else except the African Americans.”
Burna Boy took to Instagram on March 19 to clarify his comments and announce support for reparations.
The post read, “I never said you are African and not American. I also did not say Africa is part of Heaven. You deserve all the Land and reparations you want from America, and I’m 100% in support of that…,” Not Just Ok reported.
He also called on black Americans to “not work against the progress of our people.”
“It’s sad to see that in 2023 there are still such Black people who would prefer we stay divided and conquered,” he wrote.
“You deserve all the land and reparations you want from America and I’m 100% in support of that. All I’ve ever done is try to make you understand that you have Africa too that loves you.
“And I believe coming together as brothers and sisters is the only way forward for us Black people worldwide. You work against the progress of our people worldwide if your goal is to keep us divided.”
Entertainer Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu, known professionally as Burna Boy, leaves his court side seat after an NBA basketball game between the Orlando Magic and the Toronto Raptors, Dec. 11, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)