Burna Boy is one of the biggest artists on the global music scene thanks to his Grammy-nominated breakout album, African Giant. Now he’s the subject of a profile in GQ‘s international issue.
The Nigerian musician talks about uniting Africa, and his refusal to perform in South Africa. He was deeply affected by the countless xenophobic attacks that took place there last year, which led to the cancellation of the Africans Unite concert.
“It’s all just very f***ed-up and twisted, and I wish to God that it wasn’t so, but it is, and all I can do is try and do my part to change it, no matter how small that part is,” Burna told GQ. “It’s almost as if the oppressors have won when the oppressed start acting like this.”
Thanks to his dancing and his music, which journeys across the diaspora, merging Afrobeat, hip hop, reggae, R&B, dancehall and more, Burna Boy is often referred to as the reincarnation of Fela Kuti, but he doesn’t see it that way.
“Fela is my inspiration and my childhood hero, so if you think comparing me to Fela is honorable, it’s actually not,” he told GQ. “It actually makes me feel weird. Fela was Fela, and if it wasn’t for Fela, there probably wouldn’t be any me, so I don’t understand the comparison.”
His music and political commentary are two of the tools in Burna’s grand plan to unite the continent.
“The reason for everything I do and how I do it is for one goal and one goal only, and that’s the eventual unity of Africa,” he said. “One day we’ll have one passport, one African currency, one Africa. Then, and only then, will my mission be complete.”
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