Africa’s biggest stars continue to make a strong impression in the USA, while musicians from the diaspora are also becoming a growing force in the global music industry. This is evident in the nominations for the prestigious BET Awards, which were announced this week.
The BET Awards is one of the most watched award shows on cable television, particularly among African-Americans. It recognizes the triumphs and successes of artists, entertainers and athletes in a variety of categories. BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc, is a global leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience, with the primary BET channel reaching more than 90 million households in the USA, Canada, the Caribbean, the UK and sub-Saharan Africa.
In the category Best International Act: Africa, the nominees offered few surprises, with only the biggest names from Africa’s largest music industries getting the nod: Sarkodie and Stonebwoy from Ghana; Fally Ipupa (DRC); Sauti Sol (Kenya); Nigerian stars Wizkid and Yemi Alade, and AKA and The Soil from South Africa. Wizkid and Sarkodie shared the award in 2012.
In the other categories, musicians of African descent also featured strongly. Zimbabwean-American Tinashe Kachingwe was nominated for Best New Artist. Nigerian-American rapper Wale (real name Olubowale Victor Akintimehin) was nominated in the hotly contested Best Male Hip-Hop category. African acts of Ghanaian and Nigerian descent dominated the Best International Act: UK category, which included names like Fuse ODG (Nana Richard Abiona), Mnek (Uzo Emenike), Little Simz (Simbi Ajikawo), Lethal Bizzle (Maxwell Ansah) and Stormzy (Michael Omari).
In addition, Tanzanian supermodel Millen Magese has been awarded the inaugural Global Good Award in recognition of her philanthropic work in Africa.
The BET Awards will take place during the BET Experience at L.A. Live in Los Angeles from 25-28 June. This three-day festival will be filled with music and comedy performances at Club Nokia and the Staples Center. There will also be a free BET Fan Fest at the Los Angeles Convention Center, including seminars, celebrity basketball games, celebrity meet-and-greet sessions and other special appearances. The weekend will culminate in the BET Awards on Sunday 28 June at the Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE.