“It’s long overdue” – Afrobeats music gets UK singles chart

Ama Nunoo July 23, 2020
Fuse ODG Photo: BBC

Afrobeats is a musical movement that is taking the world by storm. It should, however, not be confused with Afrobeat which was pioneered by Fela Kuti in the late 1960s where he and his drummer Tony Allen began a movement that fused jazz, funk and Ghanaian high-life with traditional Yoruba music and ‘woke’ lyrics.

Considering this, UK’s Official Charts Company is set to launch Britain’s first ever Afrobeats singles chart. UK is a huge consumer of Afrobeats and many are of the view that this move has been a long time coming. Like all other music genres, Afrobeats has had a major influence on popular culture in UK and across the globe, CNN reported.

The announcement stated that the new Top 20 charts will be a weekly rundown of highlights from artists such as Burna Boy and WizKid who are recognised as flying high the Afrobeats flag to the world. The list will be curated using data downloads, audio, and video streaming as well as physical sales.

BBC Radio 1Xtra has been championing Afrobeats since its inception and it is only befitting that the inaugural chart will be unveiled in a special on the station’s The Official UK Afrobeats Show.

However, the subsequent Afrobeats charts will be published weekly via a Spotify Official UK Afrobeats Chart playlist every Sunday at 2pm.

The Head of Programmes at BBC 1Xtra, Mark Strippel emphasised that the chart was “long overdue.”

“1Xtra has been committed to championing the Afrobeats scene since our formation and we’re excited to support the launch of the first-ever UK Afrobeats Chart,” he said.

Afrobeats has been making waves on the African continent since 2010 but it took about two years before D’Banj’s hit “Oliver Twist” made its way into the UK Charts at number nine in 2012.

“One Dance” by Drake and WizKid reined at the US Billboard Hot 100 chart for 10 consecutive weeks after its release in May 2016.

Steadily the AfroBeats movement has caught on with the world and in 2019, according to BBC, Afrobeats “Afrobeats artists collectively spent 86 weeks in the Official Chart Top 40, up from 24 weeks in 2017.

“The number of tracks featuring a lead, or featured Afrobeats act has also doubled in the same period, led predominantly by British artists.”

Burna Boy also took center stage at the recent BET awards when his song  ‘African Giant’ won the award for the Best International Act category, the same category he won in 2019. This win follows an impressive outing for Burna in 2019, resulting in a Grammy Award nomination plus a host of local awards.

The world was not ready when Beyonce hit us with her album, “The Lion King: The Gift” as she affectionately described it as her “Love letter to Africa.” She featured quite several Afrobeats artists like Mr Eazi, Tiwa Savage, Burna Boy and WizKid.

Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: July 23, 2020


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