Afrobeat Diva Tiwa Savage Takes Us Behind The Scenes For Her Made In America Festival Debut

One of Nigeria's most talented entertainers gives ESSENCE an exclusive look at preparations for her first performance on one of the biggest stages since signing with Jay-Z's Roc Nation empire.


Rachaell Davis Sep, 05, 2017

Roc Nation songstress and actress Tiwa Savage is making major waves on today’s entertainment scene and she’s winning over audiences one infectious Afrobeat hit at a time in the process.

The award-winning beauty recently lit up the stage during her first performance at Jay-Z’s Budweiser Made In America Music Festival over Labor Day weekend, and we got a chance to chat with her just before her MIA debut. Scroll through to get a behind-the-scenes look at Tiwa’s big day and hear her thoughts on why African entertainers are flourshing on the American pop culture scene, what to expect from her new EP coming this September and much more.

1 of 8 Courtesy of Tiwa Savage/@TiwaSavage

"I’ve been very used to a predominantly African crowd and especially people in the diaspora of African descent. So, this platform actually gives me the opportunity to widen my audience and it’s great. I'm really looking forward to it and I’m excited."

2 of 8 Courtesy of Tiwa Savage/@TiwaSavage

"It’s exciting for me because, a lot of times, most news that people hear about Africa can be negative, from fraud, to bad government, to terrorist and poverty, so it's great that the music is being received in a positive light."

3 of 8 Courtesy of Tiwa Savage/@TiwaSavage

"I usually just like people around me but, a few seconds before going on, I do like some alone time. Nothing really fancy though, honestly, I just pray. God is my everything and he makes all of this happen so, that’s one thing I definitely make sure that I do. Meditate and pray."

4 of 8 Courtesy of Tiwa Savage/@TiwaSavage

"It's just 6 songs. It’s actually done and it drops on September 22. I think it’s striking that balance between what we do in Africa and the pop culture here in America, while still staying very true to the integrity of African music. So, this EP is me just growing as an Afrobeat artist and going to that next level by experimenting with new sounds."

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"What African entertainers are doing as a whole—and me personally—is just putting Africa on the map for a lot of people who haven’t necessarily been exposed already. Not only to African music but, African fashion, the movie scene, even the modeling scene."

6 of 8 Courtesy of Tiwa Savage/@TiwaSavage

"Myself and the other African entertainers are introducing people who aren't familiar to what we’ve been enjoying forever."

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"My name is Tiwa and I come all the way from Nigeria. I'm proud to represent Africa and represent African women."

8 of 8 Courtesy of Tiwa Savage/@TiwaSavage

"ESSENCE is about Black love and Black power and you know, this time it’s geared toward our culture. Africa is the root of it all so, I feel like it will be a full circle moment because we’re all connected. I think that’s really an important part of ESSENCE Festival; it shines a positive light on Black lives everywhere. I think it’s really historic that it’s coming back to South Africa; it's a beautiful country."