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Afro Nation announces US debut with Burna Boy, Wizkid

Afro Nation, the world’s biggest Afrobeats festival, is expanding to the US this year with a Miami edition.

Burna Boy and Wizkid will headline the two-day event, set for 27 and 28 May at LoanDepot Park in Miami, Florida.

Nigerian superstars Rema and Asake, dancehall legend Beenie Man, rising African stars CKay, BNXN, and Black Sherif and French rapper Franglish also appear on the bill.

The Miami edition will highlight the best in Afrobeats, dancehall, hip-hop, amapiano, and other Black-led musical genres

The organisers say that the Miami edition, like previous Afro Nation events, will highlight the best in Afrobeats, dancehall, hip-hop, amapiano, and other Black-led musical genres.

Previous editions have taken place in Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean since the brand launched in 2019.

Last year, the festival marked its North American debut with Afro Nation Puerto Rico, as well as its return to Portugal for the second time and Ghana, for the first time since 2019.

Afro Nation Miami 2023 is presented by Event Horizon, SMADE, and Live Nation.

 


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Ghana’s Afrochella ‘will not return’

Organisers of Ghana’s Afrochella festival say the event will not return in the wake of its 2022 edition.

Afrochella launched in 2017 and was most recently held at El Wak Stadium, near Accra, from 28-29 December with headliners Burna Boy and Stonebwoy. Other performers included Stonebwoy, Asake and Gyakie.

According to BBC, the announcement was made at the end of the festival at around 3am last Friday morning.

“This is the last Afrochella,” co-founder Abdul Abdullah told the crowd just after Burna Boy’s headline set.

No reason was given for the decision but last October it was revealed that Goldenvoice and Coachella are suing the event for copyright infringement

No reason was given for the decision but last October it was revealed that Goldenvoice and Coachella are suing the event for copyright infringement.

Afrocehlla organisers are accused of “actively promoting music events in the United States and in Ghana using the confusingly similar [name] ‘Afrochella’ and by fraudulently attempting to register plaintiffs’ actual trademarks as their own”.

According to a lawsuit filed in the US district court, the defendants “expanded their infringing conduct” via the launch of “at least seven different” Afrochella events in the Los Angeles area and “have refused to curtail their infringing use of plaintiffs’ registered marks, necessitating the filing of this federal lawsuit”.

“Despite repeated requests from Plaintiffs, defendants have refused to adopt their own distinctive event name and marks, and as a result, instances of actual confusion have already appeared on social media,” it added.

 


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Burna Boy announces historic London Stadium gig

Burna Boy is set to become the first ever African artist to headline a UK stadium.

Promoters Robomagic Live and Coko Bar have announced details of the Afro-fusion star’s Love, Damini Stadium concert, which will take place at the 60,000-cap London Stadium on Saturday 3 June 2023.

The Grammy Award-winning 31-year-old already made history this past April by becoming the first Nigerian act to headline the 20,000-cap Madison Square Garden in New York.

“Together with our partners at Cokobar we are proud to bring the spectacle that is a Burna Boy show, to London Stadium for the very first time,” says a joint statement from Robomagic chief Rob Hallett and Ropo Akin, CEO of Coko Bar, which specialises in promoting African artists throughout Europe.

“It will be a landmark first for him or any solo African artist here in the UK”

“Here at London Stadium we are always looking to break new ground with our live events, so we are honoured to host the debut UK stadium show for Burna Boy,” adds Graham Gilmore, CEO of London Stadium. “It will be a landmark first for him or any solo African artist here in the UK, so it promises to be a special night at the stadium next June.”

Real name Damini Ogulu, Burna Boy previously starred at London’s OVO Arena Wembley (cap. 12,500) in November 2019 and The O2 (20,000) in August 2021. Last week, he presented his manager and mother Bose Ogulu with the Manager of the Year Award at the 2022 UK’s Artist & Manager Awards.

PHOTO (L-R): Ropo Akin, Burna Boy, Bose Ogulu, Rob Hallett and Graham Gilmore

 


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Live Nation inks JV with Duke Concept

Live Nation has launched a joint venture with Duke Concept to co-promote African artists in the US.

Duke Concept CEO Osita “Duke” Ugeh has worked with Live Nation since 2018 and previously collaborated with the company on two Burna Boy tours, reports Billboard.

Burna Boy, who has played a number of arenas in Europe, will become the first Nigerian artist to headline New York’s Madison Square Garden on 28 April.

“Over the past few years working with Duke, our relationship has grown immensely,” says Andy Messersmith, director of touring at Live Nation. “With our combined passion for the music and utilising the assets that both Live Nation and Duke Concept bring to the table, we have been very successful.”

Andy has been a great ambassador of the culture

“It only takes one person to believe, and [Messersmith did],” says Ugeh. “Since then Andy has been a great ambassador of the culture and we have gone on to co-produce very successful tours together.”

Ugeh, who also works with the likes of Nigerian artist Davido, will retain the right to stage events independently as part of the deal, and is planning five Afrobeat tours in the US next year.

“We are getting the right venues and opportunities and that’s thrilling because we’ve spent so much time in the shadows,” he adds.

 


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Burna Boy to open the O2’s Welcome Back Shows series

Afrofusion star Burna Boy will kick off the O2’s Welcome Back Shows series this summer, heralding a return to normality for the London arena.

The Welcome Back Shows series will welcome capacity crowds to the 20,000-cap. arena for the first time since 2020, starting with Burna Boy’s first-ever headline show on 27 August.

The concert, dubbed Twice as Tall, will be the first event in the Welcome Back Shows series which also features Ministry of Sound Classical on 13 November and UK comedian Mo Gilligan + Friends with ‘The Black British Takeover’ on 8 December, as previously reported on IQ.

“We’re ecstatic that the series will kick off the arena returning to full capacity this August with global superstar Burna Boy”

“We’re ecstatic that the Welcome Back Shows will kick off the arena returning to full capacity this August with global superstar Burna Boy,” says Anna Parry, programming manager at the O2. “He’s been a trailblazer in the music industry and we can’t wait to hear him fill the arena with his feel-good hits, providing a much-needed antidote to this past year.”

Gareth Griffiths, head of sponsorship at O2 added: “What a way to kickstart the Welcome Back Shows in August, we’re delighted to welcome Burna Boy back to The O2 with his Twice As Tall show. Getting the arena open again and full of fans is so important, there are brighter times coming and we can’t wait.”

Burna Boy first graced the stage of the O2 arena alongside Stormzy at the Brit Awards in 2020. This year’s awards were also hosted at the O2, marking the UK’s largest indoor pilot event.

 


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Shows axed amid South Africa violence

Several artists have cancelled upcoming shows in South Africa, as the looting and violence which has left five foreigners dead continues.

Nigerian musicians Tiwa Savage, Burna Boy and Banky W, as well as comedian Basketmouth, have announced they are boycotting South Africa after a week of rioting that targeted non-South Africans, primarily Nigerians, and foreign-owned businesses.

Burna Boy, who is booked for Afropunk Festival in Johannesburg on new year’s eve, tweeted that he will “not ever go to South Africa again” unless the South African government takes action against the rioters, while Tiwa Savage, who was to perform at Delicious Festival on 21 September, says she won’t “watch the barbaric butchering of my people”.

The Nigerian government has threatened “definitive” action to protect its citizens in South Africa, as tensions rise between Africa’s two largest economies. “The continuing attacks on Nigerian nationals and businesses in South Africa are unacceptable,” it said in a statement, announcing it had also withdrawn its ambassador.

Since the end of Apartheid in 1994, xenophobic violence has been a longstanding feature in the ‘new’ South Africa, according to a recent report by the African Center for Migration and Society, reports the New York Times.

According to the Times, South Africa’s black townships have seen previous outbreaks of xenophobic violence that claimed lives in 2008 and 2015.

 


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