African’s Man Time
This is not a drill. I repeat. This is not a drill. I can pinch you but I’m pretty sure you’re not dreaming.
The Official Charts have collaborated with Afronation to launch the Official UK Afrobeats Chart.
As of today, the 21st of July 2020, we will now have a weekly standardised chart for Afrobeats based on sales, streams and downloads.
The top 20 will be revealed every Sunday afternoon via a new show on BBC 1Xtra hosted by Adesope Olajide, Eddie Kadi, DJ P Montana, and Danai Mavunga. It’s our time – it’s the African Man’s time.
These charts legitimise the genre and transport it from being an export for the diaspora to a mainstream commodity.
By standardising and centralising Afrobeats, the music is fortified as a force to be reckoned with. There are charts and award categories for every other genre and this move by the Official Charts kick starts the movement for more recognition to our Afrobeats stars for their contribution to music.
For too long, sounds from the continent have been relegated to the “world“ category on various digital streaming platforms. This is reminiscent of the days when Afrobeats radio shows we’re only heard at 3 am and club capped Afrobeats to three songs a night.
How times have changed! This comes weeks after Apple Music launched their first Afrobeats radio show “Africa Now”, along with playlists and features of the same name.
There’s a buzz in the air – you can really feel a shift. This marks the beginning of a new era where Afrobeats can be seen as a legitimate genre in and of itself
Mr Eazi has warned the industry of the scramble for Africa; he’s encouraged all artists to maintain ownership and be careful of the culture vultures. The twitter timeline has criticised the charts for not truly reflecting the term
Afrobeats but instead showcasing Afro-swing (which some argue comes under the umbrella term). Nay sayers have said that the diaspora are gentrifying the genre.
Here’s how some key tastemakers in the Afrobeats scène have reacted to the Official UK Afrobeats Charts:
Adesope Olajide – Presenter / A&R
“It’s an amazing moment for the Afro-culture as yet again the UK leads the way in acknowledging the growth of African influenced pop music and the efforts of the creatives behind the scene. Afrobeats ad the umbrella title doesn’t mean everyone in that category is doing Afrobeats music it just means the acts that make the list are just sampling the sounds and it’s time that these acts who might not do enough numbers to make a dent on the official top 20 charts to get recognised for their incredible exploits. As the American billboard charts have its RnB and hip hop sub-genres now the UK chart has the Afrobeats as a sub-genre “
Comedian / Presenter – Eddie Kadi
It always makes me proud and happy every time we reach a landmark moment in our scene. We still have a long way to go but we must celebrate every moment as if it was the last because that is the spirit of African music. So in keeping with that tradition, I am excited to be a part of this new journey for Afrobeats and all the subgenres that come with it. We will grow again to new heights!
Danai Mavunga – Talent Manager
Africa is the heartbeat of this entire world and has been influencing pop culture for centuries. This moment is long overdue and I’m super excited to see how far we go from here.
Ezinne – CEO & Creative Director Zinarts Agency
This is the right move for official charts the UK, Afrobeats is taking over the world by storm and I am glad to witness our growth. African Music has been an integral part of the social dance culture which is used daily to build streaming sales for recording artist. It is necessary, for these artists to be represented and recognised on international charts. This is the first step to more great things happening for the individuals promoting the vision of a better creative Africa. Congratulations official charts UK.
Sir Prestige – Artist Manager / African Music Ambassador
As someone that has championed African music in the UK and worldwide from as early as the mid-90s till this day I am very excited about the introduction of the Official UK Afrobeats Chart. This is another pivotal turn and forward leap for the Culture – and especially the Afrobeats community in the UK, to celebrate and use to continue to further springboard upwards from.
Adesegun Adeosun – Promoter / Co founder – Afronation
“It’s an incredible moment for our culture to see the launch of The Official UK Afrobeats Chart. For years, we have celebrated, danced, partied and united underneath the incredible sounds and artists making Afrobeats and African music their own, and to see our culture now recognised in this way is a truly powerful turning point. Providing support and empowering the new artists that will go on to be hugely important leaders in our culture, it’s another sign of the unstoppable popularity the culture has around the world, and I can’t wait to hear the songs, watch from the side of stage and dance together as we reach new heights.”
I think this is a much-needed initiative for aftobeats music to complete the cycle into mainstream music. But the distinction between UK artist and afro music as a whole will need to be determined.
No matter where you sit on the spectrum, we must all agree that this is a huge stride for the culture. It’s a great time to be alive to witness history in the making. Is it delayed recognition? Nah. It’s African Man’s Time.
Gracey Mae – I’m a London-born Nigerian and serial plate spinner which is excellent as I’m also a big foodie.
Faith comes first, and I balance this with my 9-5 as a project manager in IT, The Afronation Show: my weekly radio broadcast and Frobeats: my weekly Afro-Pop podcast.
I keep busy with my weekly music reviews and ad hoc interviews for publications such as Pause Magazine, The F Word Magazine.
I offer Branding and PR Services with Laude London: a music management consultancy firm, as well as, curating My Dream Wedding Fair: the largest bridal show for couples of African and Caribbean descent in the UK. Both businesses I co-own.
Lastly, stay up to date with all you need to know about African music at SOA, right here.