With the high of Grammy wins subsiding, many are taking note of the artists that were ultimately snubbed at this year’s highest Recording Academy honors.

One such artist, Nigerian Afrobeats veteran WizKid, made notably huge waves in the Afrobeats genre not only worldwide, but stateside – dominating the U.S. charts with his hit song “Essence,” featuring fellow Nigerian act Tems. The track was one of (if not THE) biggest songs of last year, and wins the unofficial title of “Song of the Summer” by a landslide.

WizKid was nominated for Best Global Music Performance (formerly Best World Music) for “Essence,” and Best Global Music Album for his 2021 release, Made In Lagos. He lost in both categories to artists who make traditional international music, rather than what most audiences would recognize as chart-topping popular music.

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 01: Wizkid and Burna Boy perform at The O2 Arena on December 01, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Joseph Okpako/WireImage)

Supermodel Naomi Campbell, long an advocate for her fellow African creators, slammed the decisions in a post on Instagram, pointing out that the Recording Academy had an obvious blind spot for current culture and needs to reevaluate how they categorize African artists creating within the genre at the forefront of the music landscape.

“To my brother, WizKid, Made in Lagos was beyond a phenomenal album!! WINNER WITHOUT DOUBT!! You are the KING of the people [who] has bought AFROBEATS mainstream,” Campbell said in the post. “That means more than any academy of any sort.”

“Recording Academy, once again you choose to be tone-deaf to what is going in the universe. Changing World to Global is not enough. Get up to speed on the state of all popular music and include Afrobeats Artist of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, and all the subcategories that this genre so deserves – just as any other respected and recognized musical genre.”

Calling for direct change, Campbell heralded all WizKid had accomplished for the Afrobeats genre in the last year alone, spawning forth a culture of mainstream Afrobeats hits and collaborations with white pop superstars that take these songs to the next level.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – SEPTEMBER 25: Singer Tems performs onstage during day 1 of 2021 AfroPunk Atlanta at Atlantic Station Pinnacle on September 25, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

Made in Lagos album and song Essence, were clearly in the wrong category. How can you ignore the song Essence, the song by Wizkid and Tems that was covered and remixed by Justin Bieber? You seem to isolate under ‘global,’ when it should have been in Song of the Year category.”

“This is a misrepresentation and a neglectful categorization of music ONCE AGAIN. Give Afrobeats the representation it deserves. You are ignoring 1.3 billion people. It will only make us rise!! Afrobeats in our hearts, Africabeats to the world!” 

Cambell included a lengthy list of statistics surrounding the song “Essence” and the full Made In Lagos in one of her Instagram photo slides. Among them is that the song was the first-ever Nigerian song to break the Billboard Top 10 on the Top 100 chart, also spending 27 weeks at number one on the R&B/Hip Hop airplay charts.

Take a look at her full statement below.

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