On Wednesday, June 8, 2021, Nigerian singer and songwriter, Niniola Apata, better known as Niniola took to Instagram to show off her Grammys certificates. Captioning the post, she wrote, “Just In Grammys: 2019 Best Pop Vocal Album (The Lion King: The Gift) 2020 Best Music Film (Black Is King).”
Beyonce’s album, The Lion King: The Gift, in which Niniola alongside Tiwa Savage, Mr Eazi, Tekno, Burna Boy, Wizkid, Yemi Alade, Bankulli contributed to, won the Best Pop Vocal Album at the 2019 Grammys. In 2020, another Beyonce led project, Black Is King won the Best Music Film Grammy award. Black is King is a visual companion to the 2019 album The Lion King: The Gift, curated by Beyonce for the movie, The Lion King (2019). So Niniola got 2 Grammys certificates for the two projects.
She only qualified for Grammy certificates because she did not have up to 50 per cent playing time on the album, so she will not be receiving the golden megaphone. It’s kind of a lacuna in the Grammy awarding process and leaves fans sitting on the fence when trying to describe their favourite artists. Grammy award winner or semi-Grammy award winner? Not quite clear.
There has been so much talk and controversies surrounding Nigerian artists who are credited with Grammy awards by means of featuring on someone’s album, mostly foreign artists. Although the Recording Academy rewards contributors with less than 50 per cent playing time on an album with personalized certificates, the iconic golden Grammy statuettes are still hard to come by and given to artists, engineers, etc. who manage more than 50 per cent playing time on the project.
However, receiving a Grammys certificate is still a remarkable feat that deserves to be celebrated. Who knows? Maybe one day the certificates will turn into the real deal. Burna Boy has shown that it’s possible to bring the shiny megaphone to Nigeria after all.