On the final day of Afro Nation Detroit, which took place on Sunday, the Nigerian musical duo P-Square claimed years ago that Afrobeats would take over.
Their prediction was accurate; Afrobeats has become an integral part of mainstream music. With the inaugural Afro Nation festival making its debut in Detroit, the genre has deepened its presence in the city.
Thousands flocked to the festival for day two, to hear new and returning performers. Folks proudly waved large flags from African and Caribbean countries to rep their roots.
Festival hosts Femi Lawson and Young Prince entertained the Main Stage crowd between sets. Other returning acts included Ade Smilez and DJ Mobu, and Detroit talents DJ K Dirty and DJ Marine.
On the second day, Main Stage performers included Ebony Riley, Teni, Franglish, and DJ Prince. At the Piano People Stage, people vibed out to Amapiano sets by DJs Mr. JazziQ, TxC, DBN Gogo and Major League Djz, and a performance by singer Libianca.
Stonebwoy didn’t perform due to an unexpected change to his set time, sharing via X (fka Twitter) that it “posed challenges that impacted my ability to give you the performance you deserve.” (All of the sets at the Main Stage were delayed, which also happened the day before. Some artists started nearly an hour and a half beyond schedule).
Riley, another Detroit native, sang songs from ebony, her debut EP. “It’s a beautiful thing,” Riley told ESSENCE. “This event gave so many people awareness of a culture that’s so important…Detroit already has its own lane and doing the things, but being exposed to this and being a part of this is huge.”
Masego took the stage in the early evening, performing songs like “What You Wanna Try,” “Navajo,” “Queen Tings” and “Tadow.” He played his saxophone and tossed roses into the crowd.
“I like Detroit,” Masego told ESSENCE. “I changed my whole set just for this city. I like the energy here, so I wanted to do something that caters to the crowd.”
Coi Leray followed, letting loose while performing “Players,” “Run It Up,” “Make My Day,” and “TWINNEM.” Leray delivered on the dances, too, doing the Harlem Shake, Lil Kim’s viral “Quiet Storm” dance, voguing and a death drop.
P-Square followed Leray, performing “I Love You,” “Forever,” “Alingo” and “No One Like You.” Paul Okoye’s three young children were brought onstage, and as the brothers walked off, threw articles of their clothing into the crowd.
As the final act of Afro Nation Detroit, Davido sang hits including “Aye,” “FIA,” “No Competition,” “Fall” and “Blow My Mind.” For his last song, Davido performed the recently released remix to “Unavailable,” and Latto surprised the audience by coming onstage to rap her part.
Throughout the festival, screens on the Main Stage displayed slides with phrases like, “Let’s Make History Together,” “Your Best Life Starts Here,” and “Together We Move.” That is exactly what happened in Detroit; the weekend was filled with unity and celebration, and the city is now forever a part of Afro Nation’s history.