Afrobeat, which is specific to the west African region and Nigerian music with its fecund caliber of creatives have made immense aesthetic, commercial and cultural breakthroughs this past year.
Think delectable albums and singles, iconic collaborations, internationally positioned record deals, the rise of undeniably strong talents, huge but unsurprising nominations, performing and making appearances on globally situated platforms, last year saw the efforts to push Afrobeat to larger audiences outside of the shore paying off, and prominent Nigerian music creatives growing into internationally recognized acts.
With this much to offer however, it raises questions as to why a host of Afrobeat artists weren’t invited to perform at the 2020 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The world famous festival which kicked off in 1999 is known to host some of the world’s most prominent music acts from around the world for consecutive three-day weekends in April.
With Seun Kuti and the Egypt 80 band the only Nigerian acts billed to perform at the festival, it wouldn’t be a reach to tie this exclusion to the theatrics associated with the Nigerian artists invited to the festival in the past two years.
From Wizkid’s no-show, despite the allowances made and the anticipation surrounding his planned performance to Burna Boy’s small font fiasco and scarcely attended set, these reasons might seem commercially viable, but considering how much both artists have grown and the many other options available it would have been exciting to see more contemporary Nigerian acts getting billed to perform at Coachella this year.
While we don’t know (yet) if any other Nigerian acts were asked, a slot at the world’s biggest music platform would definitely have been lovely to look forward to for the growing fans of Afrobeat and would have put Coachella out as a culturally adept ecosystem.
Nonetheless, we cannot wait to see the exploits Nigerian artists are going to make this year and the new talents that are sure to take their place in the industry.