Burna Boy says it’s time Africans told their own stories

NIGERIAN artist Burna Boy has said that it is time for a new generation of Africans to change the narrative of Africa ‘back into the truth.’

In an exclusive interview with BBC Africa on Saturday, the Grammy Award winner explained: ‘Because our stories have always been twisted and told and most of the time our stories have been twisted into the Western world, and then white faces have been put on the real characters; do you understand?

‘Now is the time to overturn all that because finally we have a generation of Africans who is not going to stand for that. You understand?

‘So what better time to start to do, to change the narrative back into the truth.’

Burna Boy, real name Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu, recently won a Grammy in the category Best Global Music Album for his album Twice as Tall at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles last Wednesday, March 14.

This was his first Grammy win, according to the official awards website Grammy.com.

‘I felt very relieved because I deserved it,’ he told BBC Africa when asked about his victory.

But Nigeria is not necessarily ‘conducive’ to putting together a winning album, Burna Boy told BBC Africa when explaining why it was important to work from his home country despite the challenges.

‘If the environment was more conducive, if we had leadership who took the youth seriously, and certain infrastructures in place, then I probably wouldn’t be winning the Grammy in 2021, I probably would have won the Grammys in 2013 or 14,’ he said.

Producing an album during lockdown was ‘very different but very fun and convenient at the same time,’ he added.

According to BBC Africa, Burna Boy is one of Africa’s most successful artists, breaking onto the music scene in 2012 with his debut album L.I.F.E.

He realised then that his music had touched a number of people.

‘It’s bigger than me and that’s when it kind of hit me that this is not a hobby any more, you used to do this on the streets and everyone would be going crazy, but now I don’t see anyone better than you so it’s like this is serious now,’ he explained during the interview.

On the impact of winning a Grammy award for himself and other African artists, Burna Boy told BBC Africa: ‘It just shows like you know anything is possible and whatever situation you may be in, and whatever environment you find yourself does not really determine your future and what you are going to do.

‘It doesn’t stop you from not just considering your dreams, you know. Cause at the end of the day, we are in an environment that is very discouraging; you understand, an environment that doesn’t even believe in itself, before they even think of believing in you.’


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