NIGERIAN Afrobeats star, Divine Ikubor, professionally known as Rema, has won the award for the ‘Best Afrobeats’ at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs).
He clinched the award on Tuesday, September 12, at Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey.
The award for Beat Afrobeats is a new category introduced at the MTV VMAs, making Rema the first African to win it. He won the award for the remix of his song, ‘Calm Down’ featuring American singer Selena Gomez.
Alongside Rema’s Calm Down featuring Selena Gomez, Burna Boy’s ‘It’s Plenty,’ Davido feat Musa Key’s ‘Unavailable,’ Ayra Starr’s ‘Rush,’ Libianca’s ‘People,’ Wizkid ft Ayrra Starr’s ‘2 Sugar,’ and Fireboy DML ft Asake’s Bandana was also nominated for the same category.
Calm Down remix has achieved remarkable success, becoming the first track ever to hold a place on the Billboard US Afrobeats Songs chart for a full year. It also claimed the prestigious title of inaugural No.1 hit on The Official MENA Chart.
During his acceptance speech, Rema expressed his gratitude to influential figures, including the late Fela Kuti, Don Jazzy, and D’Prince (his label head), Tuface Idibia, D’Banj, Wizkid, Davido, and Burna Boy, who paved the way for artistes like himself.
“This means so much seeing Afrobeats grow this big and me representing Afrobeats tonight. I am so happy. Shoutout to the people who opened the doors for me”
He also encouraged contemporary Afrobeats newcomers to maintain the same passion as his role models, emphasizing the importance of opening doors for emerging talents, just as his idols had done in the past.
Notably, his award-winning song recently joined the billion-stream club on Spotify, marking a historic achievement as the first African song to reach such a milestone. Rema is the second African artiste to win a VMA award after Wizkid in 2021.
The MTV VMAs is an annual award show by Cable Channel Music Television (MTV) that celebrates excellence in music videos.
Taylor Swift emerged as the night’s top winner after bagging nine awards, placing her second only to Beyonce in terms of the most VMAs wins.
Full list of winners
Song of the Year
Taylor Swift – “Anti-Hero”
Best New Artist
Push Performance of the Year
TOMORROW X TOGETHER – “Sugar Rush Ride”
KAROL G, Shakira – “TQG”
Taylor Swift – “Anti-Hero”
Nicki Minaj – “Super Freaky Girl”
SZA – “Shirt”
Lana Del Rey ft. Jon Batiste – “Candy Necklace”
Måneskin – “THE LONELIEST”
Anitta – “Funk Rave”
Stray Kids – “S-Class”
Rema & Selena Gomez – “Calm Down”
Video for Good
Dove Cameron – “Breakfast”
Show of the Summer
Group of the Year
Album of the Year
Taylor Swift – Midnights
Song of the Summer
Jung Kook ft. Latto – “Seven”
Taylor Swift – “Anti-Hero” (Directed by Taylor Swift)
Taylor Swift – “Anti-Hero” (Cinematography by Rina Yang)
Best Visual Effects
Taylor Swift – “Anti-Hero” (Visual Effects by Parliament)
BLACKPINK – “Pink Venom” (Choreography by Kiel Tutin, Sienna Lalau, Lee Jung (YGX), Taryn Cheng (YGX))
Best Art Direction
Doja Cat – “Attention” (Art Direction by Spencer Graves)
Olivia Rodrigo – “vampire” (Edited by Sofia Kerpan and David Checel)
Video Vanguard Award
Global Icon Award