Burna Boy becomes first African artist to headline a UK Stadium

Burna Boy played to a sold-out crowd at the London Stadium

Burna Boy becomes first African artist to headline a UK Stadium Credit: Ameyaw Debrah Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

Burna Boy played to a sold-out crowd at the London Stadium on Saturday, June 3, not only becoming the first African artist to headline a UK stadium but selling it out in the process.  

Rave reviews came in for the Nigerian‘s star-studded show featuring Stormzy and Dave amongst others and the show was reported to be carnival-like. Burna Boy, real name Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu, is a singer, songwriter and music producer known for his Afrobeat music.

Afrobeat has become more and more popular worldwide, combining African styles such as Highlife, with more Western styles such as jazz and soul. But whereas in the music of Afrobeat originator Fela Kuti, these early influences are more prominent, there is more than just a splash of Hip-Hop and Jamaican Dancehall style in what Burna Boy does.

Warlo posted a clip of Saturday’s concert on Twitter with the singer clearly overwhelmed by the crowd, saying: “Look at Burna Boy’s reaction as the crowd sing It’s Plenty. Super proud and amazing.”

From the video clip, you can also get some idea of the elaborate staging and celebratory style of the show. Burna Boy successfully unites musical styles as well as demographics as his show in London proves, with one onlooker reported by BBC Newsbeat as saying:

“I loved seeing how multi-racial the crowd was, united by the power of Burna Boy’s music. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s something the greatest performers of all time like Beyoncé and Michael Jackson have been able to achieve. And now Burna Boy’s done it.”

Expect to see a continued ascent for this style and artist as they step outside their native borders and sell their Afrobeat celebration to the world.

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Written by

David Laycock

Dave Laycock has always written. Poems, songs, essays, academic papers as well as newspaper articles; the written word has always held a great fascination for him and he is never happier than when being creative. From a musical background, Dave has travelled the world performing and also examining for a British music exam board. He also writes, produces and performs and records music. All this aside, he is currently fully focussed on his journalism and can’t wait to share more stories from around the world and beyond.