There must be another reason Burna Boy’s named his current album African Giant. He’s said it’s in reference to being “a symbol of strength,” but deep down we know it’s because he’s bringing big sounds out of the continent.
The global superstar delivered a stripped-down blend of his Afropop-fusion riddims during week one of the virtual 2020 Essence Festival of Culture.
Against a backdrop of poignant images from a Lagos, Nigeria protest in support of 65 women who were arrested in Abuja last April, Burna Boy sat in front of a sign that read “so long as women are not free, the people are not free” as he performed a fitting rendition of “Collateral Damage” from 2019’s African Giant.
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The artist has been riding high since African Giant crushed charts and best-of-the-year lists when it released last year. Led by the massive hit “Anybody,” the Grammy-nominated artist quickly followed it up with an appearance on Beyoncé’s The Lion King: The Gift (“JA ARA E”) and Queen & Slim soundtrack (“My Money, My Bag”) and of course the silky Afroreggae assists on Jorja Smith’s “Be Honest” and Mahalia’s “Simmer.”
But true fans of the Nigerian artist know he’s been delivering massive hits long before his song “Ye” could command a soulful outcry of “yeah yeah yeah yeah, yeah yeah yeah” at parties from Addis Ababa to Atlanta. Much is expected from his upcoming album, Twice As Tall, which features his new single “Wonderful.” With his second recognition as best international act from the 2020 BET Awards, there’s no doubt Burna Boy will continue bringing African heat to our eardrums.
See more artists performing during the #ESSENCEFEST evening concert series on Saturday, July 4.