Afrobeats star Burna Boy did a sit-down interview with Complex, posted on YouTube on Wednesday (Aug. 23), and claimed blogs misquoted him following the “Black culture” clip.
In March 2023, Burna Boy caught much flak after he compared Black Americans to Chinese and Italian Americans in a viral clip, claiming the latter two had close connections to their native homes through family members while African Americans didn’t. He added that African Americans were more than welcome to explore their culture.
Many took it as him saying Black Americans have no culture since many don’t have immediate connections to their “African roots.”
Five months after the clip, Burna released a video promoting his new track, “City Boy,” where he sampled Chicago-bred singer Jeremih’s “Birthday Sex” and wore Timberland boots in the video, both being part of Black culture. But the rapper maintains he never directly said American Blacks have no culture.
“If you can show me the part where I said [that Black Americans have no culture]…that’s all I need if somebody can show me that part,” the Nigerian rapper challenged.
And while the “On the Low” rapper didn’t directly say Black Americans have no culture, it was him saying Black Americans had no ties to their roots, like he’s unaware that enslaved Africans weren’t stripped from their homes and forced into horrible conditions on ships headed to America (numerous African nations were involved in providing the Europeans with enslaved Africans, from the Kingdom of Dahomey to the Songhai Empire, according to Think Africa).
Unfortunately, the Nigerian curriculum overlooks anything about the Atlantic slave trade and slavery in America, according to the Federal Ministry of Education’s curriculum list. This would explain why Burna Boy sees nothing wrong with his statement.
However, South Africa’s curriculum addressed the Atlantic slave trade and the wealth obtained.
This doesn’t excuse the fact Burna Boy compared Black Americans to other cultures as though speaking another language or being from another country other than America is the definition of having culture.
Meanwhile, this nation has benefitted from appropriating Black culture, from music and fashion to dialogue.
Hip hop and rap live today because of pioneers like the Sugar Hill Gang and Grandmaster Flash (Black people). But now that same influence is heard in today’s country music, dominated by people who scrunch their noses and clutch their pearls to rap and hip hop. The same group the Afrobeats sensation thinks should visit their native land and learn their culture in Africa is the reason why the world is saying, “slay,” “You dig,” “Get that paper,” etc.
And the same man who compared Black culture to other cultures is the same one sampling other artists that are part of said culture (Jeremih and Toni Braxton) and making bank from it.
During the interview with Complex’s Speedy, he said his music is afro-fusion, blending many cultures — including Black culture. Yet practically sees African Americans as bland because many aren’t in tune with their African roots, oblivious to the fact that this nation is saturated in Black culture, but the credit isn’t given where credit is due.
No shade, Burna Boy, but give credit where credit is due!
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