Bose Ogulu, Burna Boy’s mother and manager, was on Monday named as one of the 2021 International Power Players by Billboard. Billboard’s International Power Players list recognizes industry leaders nominated by their companies and peers and selected by Billboard’s editors, with primary responsibility outside the United States, Billboard said. Honorees include label executives, music publishers, independent entrepreneurs, artist managers and concert promoters.
Ogulu, also known as Mama Burna, was recognized for her work amid the 2020 pandemic, when she co-executive-produced, released and promoted the Twice As Tall album for her Grammy award-winning son, Burna Boy, Billboard said.
Signed to Bad Habit/Atlantic in the United States, and Warner Music International for territories outside of Africa, Burna Boy’s Twice As Tall album won in the Best Global Music Album category at the 2021 Grammy Awards. With several global performances, awards, appearances as well as features to his name, Burna Boy has literally been all over the place – for all the right reasons though. And through it all, his mom has been by his side, helping boost his career.
But what more do we know about Mama Burna, who managed his superstar son until 2014 and then became his manager again from 2017 onwards?
‘Expect More Madness’
Ogulu first made major headlines at the 2018 Soundcity Awards when she uttered those words while helping her son collect his four awards. Social media went agog with her delivery at the awards show, and soon she was being hailed as the real MVP and everyone’s favorite internet mom.
Her father was Fela Kuti’s first band manager
Born into the famous Indonije family, Olugu’s father, Benson Idonije, was a popular radio host and Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti’s first band manager. Getting exposed to the music industry and the Nigerian art world at a young age, Ogulu was inspired to study languages. With a Bachelor of Arts in foreign languages and a Masters of Arts in translation from the University of Port Harcourt, she worked as a translator for the Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce. She subsequently became CEO of Language Bridges, a language and music school from 1997 to 2015 where she organized cultural immersion trips for over 1,800 young people. She also taught French for 10 years at the University of Education in Port Harcourt. Today, the academic and professional speaks French, Italian, German, English, and Yoruba.
Friends with her children
Ogulu has been married to Samuel Ogulu for 29 years. They have three children: Ronami, Damini (Burna Boy) and Nissi. Being friends with her parents, Ogulu also learned to be friends with her own children. She leaned into their big ideas and directed them on how they can embrace those ideas with hard work and dedication. Today, that has paid off. Two of her children, Burna Boy and Nissi, are among Africa’s biggest music stars. Ogulu manages both of them.
Aside from management, Ogulu has also set up a publishing company through Spaceship Collective to enable Africans to own their own catalogs “so that the authenticity of our stories, our glory, our culture is sustained,” she said, “and we are empowered.” Spaceship Collective, which is also a record label, has signed and produced many amazing music artistes chief of whom is her son, Burna Boy.