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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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