Are ‘trolls’ trying to pit Wizkid against Angélique Kidjo?

By Damien Glez
Posted on Friday, 15 April 2022 11:22

By Damien Gletz

After Beninese singer Angélique Kidjo won another Grammy Award on 3 April, beating out Nigerian star Wizkid, an army of disappointed fans ferociously attacked her on social media.

Admittedly, the term ‘fan’, evocative of anti-narcissistic admiration, comes from the word ‘fanatic’. Even so, in the face of the emotional over-investment of some groupies, isn’t music supposed to soften the blow? On 3 April 2022, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, the 64th annual Grammy Awards ceremony crowned singer Angélique Kidjo as a winner. Her 16th album, Mother Nature, won the prestigious ‘Best Global Music Album’ award. However, the legion of die-hard fans of Wizkid, the Nigerian Afrobeat star nominated in the same category, did not take too kindly to this decision. The fanatical ‘army’ started trolling Angélique Kidjo and wrote a lot of vile comments on the winner’s social media pages.

Naomi Campbell to the rescue

With varying degrees of outrage, fans of Wizkid’s music said they were “shocked” and denigrated the Beninese singer’s album, which they claimed had “gone unnoticed”. On Instagram, the attack was so intense and unsubtle that Kidjo, who does not appear to be overly sensitive, was forced to disable the comments under a photo of herself holding her statuette. Even though she seemed to be adding fuel to the fire, British Afrophile Naomi Campbell tried to soothe the chagrined’s bitterness by pointing out that Wizkid’s popularity – especially in Britain – was “better than any award”. Addressing the musician, the supermodel said: “You are the people’s king, the one who made Afrobeat popular.”

 

 

This melodrama has inspired three questions. First, should an honorary award only be given based on numerical performance, number of likes, filled stadiums and media coverage? Secondly, is there any way to regulate social media when it comes to sharing information that is not exactly tragic? In the face of the torrent of fanatical reactions, some of Wizkid’s well-informed fans have posed a rather satirical question: compared to the five-time Grammy Award-winning 60-year-old, “When was Wizkid born?”

Thirdly, does an African artist need to be particularly “Afro” for the academy to recognise it? Given that music specialists prefer the more political themes and African sounds of Kidjo’s album to Wizkid’s globalised RnB, the Beninese artist can hardly be accused of only digging an exotic and Afro-caricatural path.

 

As far as the latest Grammy ceremony is concerned, one thing worth celebrating is how prominent Africa was. Nigeria’s Burna Boy, Tems, Femi Kuti, Made Kuti and Ghana’s Rocky Dawuni were all nominated. South Africa’s Black Coffee walked away with the ‘Best Dance/Electronic Album’ trophy.

Ultimately, African honour is still safe. Despite his fans’ trolling, Wizkid officially congratulated Kidjo on her win.

 

****Cartoon translation: Personally, when I go on social media, I “like” Putin and I “hate” Angelique Kidjo…

That’s the new world order

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