Rema bags Best Afrobeats awards at 2023 MTV VMAs + full list

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

Ice Spice

Push Performance of the Year


Best Collaboration

KAROL G, Shakira – “TQG

Best Pop

Taylor Swift – “Anti-Hero”

Best Hip-Hop

Nicki Minaj – “Super Freaky Girl

Best R&B

SZA – “Shirt

Best Alternative

Lana Del Rey ft. Jon Batiste – “Candy Necklace

Best Rock


Best Latin

Anitta – “Funk Rave

Best K-Pop

Stray Kids – “S-Class”

Best Afrobeats

Rema & Selena Gomez – “Calm Down

Video for Good

Dove Cameron – “Breakfast

Show of the Summer

Taylor Swift

Group of the Year


Album of the Year

Taylor Swift – Midnights

Song of the Summer

Jung Kook ft. Latto – “Seven

Best Direction

Taylor Swift – “Anti-Hero (Directed by Taylor Swift)

Best Cinematography

Taylor Swift  “Anti-Hero (Cinematography by Rina Yang)

Best Visual Effects

Taylor Swift – “Anti-Hero (Visual Effects by Parliament)

Best Choreography

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)

Best Editing

Olivia Rodrigo – “vampire (Edited by Sofia Kerpan and David Checel)

Video Vanguard Award


Global Icon Award


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