Rema triumphs at MTV VMAs for Best Afrobeats, celebrates African icons

In a triumphant moment for Nigerian artiste Rema, his hit song “Calm Down” remix featuring Selena Gomez has claimed another accolade, this time at the prestigious MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs). The 2023 VMAs took place at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, on September 12, honouring some of the most prominent figures in the Top 40 music scene.

Rema, signed to the Jonzin World label, emerged victorious in the inaugural Best Afrobeats category, outshining notable Afrobeats contemporaries such as Burna Boy, Wizkid, Davido, Ayra Starr, Fireboy DML and Asake.

During his heartfelt acceptance speech, Rema took the opportunity to express his gratitude to pioneering figures and trailblazers in the Afrobeats genre. He paid homage to the late Fela Kuti, as well as his label heads Don Jazzy and D’Prince. Additionally, he acknowledged the contributions of 2face Idibia, D’Banj, Wizkid, Davido and Burna Boy in paving the way for artistes like himself.

Rema encouraged emerging Afrobeats artistes to continue the legacy set by their predecessors, just as his role models had done, in order to create more opportunities for future talents. 

Notably, his award-winning track recently achieved the remarkable milestone of joining the billion-stream club on Spotify, making it the first African song to achieve such a feat.

Rema now stands as the second African artiste to secure a VMA award, following in the footsteps of Wizkid’s win in 2021. The 2023 VMAs also saw Taylor Swift lead with eight nominations and seven wins for her album Anti-Hero. Nevertheless, the coveted Video of the Year award went to “Midnight”‘s single, triumphing over SZA’s “Kill Bill” in a memorable evening celebrating musical excellence.

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