Why is it hard for African artists to congratulate their colleagues when they win awards?

We want to know your thoughts and opinions. Do African stars, musicians and actors especially, show enough love to their fellow colleagues?

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Just yesterday, I was rewatching the video of American rappers Lil Kim, Rapsody, Monnie Love, and MC Lyte’s medley of Queen Latifah’s biggest hits at the 2021 BET Awards, it was of course in tribute to the remarkable career that Latifah has had as both a Black musician and an actress.

They did several songs but, “UNITY” stood out for me. It wasn’t just their rendition of the song; it was the theme and how much it means to people of colour looking to excel in a white dominated industry.

Despite all the challenges, racial discrimination and bias, trauma that these Black entertainers have faced in America, they continue to make themselves a global force to be reckoned with, overcoming as a COLLECTIVE, through collaboration and UNITY. Whereas not much can be observably said about African entertainers at home in terms of UNITY and sincere appreciation of a fellow entertainer’s work. The obvious truth is that if it does exist, it is intangible.

Speaking of the BET Awards, I also jumped on a video of Tyler Perry delivering his emotional 2019 BET Icon Award acceptance speech, it was nostalgia for me obliviously, but I was overwhelmed again, especially relieving the moment Perry said he had to hire the likes of Taraj P Henson, Idris Elba, and Viola Davis because they couldn’t get jobs. You wonder, such stellar talents! And how big is that compared to something as little as publicly and privately celebrating and congratulating a fellow musician or actor when they win awards?

Burna Boy beat fellow Nigerian singer Wizkid to the 2021 BET Best International Act Award and there wasn’t even a congratulatory message from Wiz to Burna on social media. Maybe it would come later, but that’s often not been the case. This brings me to when Burna Boy won his first Grammy Award, setting a record as the first solo artist in Nigeria to do so, not a lot of artists made known their elation in public, certainly not the big ones. Maybe they did privately, but the eyes that were watching didn’t seem too convinced, mine too.

Many would agree that there’s been no rivalry in recent times greater than the one between football greats, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, yet those two make out time to publicly appreciate each other, most times after losing an award to the other, often reeling out why they make each other better.

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Imagine the love, hype, and positive energy that would trend if Wiz appeared on stage alongside Burna’s mum to accept the award. Black entertainers abroad do this, why can’t we? They would even often shout out to their fellow brother(s) or sister(s) who lost the award to them but, Burna didn’t do that. I’m not trying to paint a picture of a soured relationship that’s not there, i’m simply asking questions that need to be asked, especially as a very passionate fan and observer.

If rivalry is the reason African entertainers don’t celebrate each other often, they are inevitable and can rather be channelled positively. One thing that’s clear though, is that the industry and the artists are better off with UNITY, mutual love and respect for each other, and appreciation for each other’s work and achievement than otherwise.

What do you think?

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