Nigerian singer Rema emerged winner of the inaugural Best Afrobeats award at the MTV Video Music Award in Newark, New Jersey, on Tuesday. The music star won for his hit song Calm Down (remix) featuring Selena Gomez.
The best Afrobeats category was introduced in the 2023 edition of the awards and Rema’s Calm Down was nominated alongside Burna Boy’s ‘It’s Plenty,’ Ayra Starr’s ‘Rush,’ Libianca’s ‘People,’ Wizkid featuring Ayrra Starr’s ‘2 Sugar,’ Fireboy DML’s ‘Bandana’ and Davido featuring Musa Key’s ‘Unavailable’.
Rema in his speech said he was grateful to pioneers like Fela Kuti, Tuface Idibia, D’Banj, Wizkid, Davido and Burna Boy as well as Don Jazzy and D’Prince for making it possible for singers like him to emerge. Rema is now the second African act to win a VMA award after Wizkid in 2021.
His Calm Down (remix) recently set a record as the first No. 1 hit on the Official MENA Chart – the world’s first regional streaming chart. Calm Down was initially released as part of Rema’s maiden studio album, Rave & Roses, which was released on March 25, 2022. The remixed version, featuring American superstar Gomez, which further boosted the song, was released in August 2022.
According to the IFPI, the Official MENA Chart is the first regional music streaming chart in the world and the first-ever official chart in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). MENA Chart is supported by IFPI and includes music streaming data from many platforms, including Anghami, Apple, Deezer, Spotify, and YouTube.
Calm Down topped the Indian Music Industry Chart on May 8, 2023, while its Remix version peaked at No. 5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, making the artist the first Nigerian singer to hold a top 5 song as a lead act.
The song also joined the billion stream club on Spotify not too long ago, becoming the first African song to achieve such a feat.