Representing both ethnicity and culture
Afro Beats has risen to the top of global charts and has garnered the attention of every country, ethnicity, culture, and person. But that wasn’t always the case, and just like other overseas music styles, it took a long time for Afro Beats to receive cultural recognition not only in Africa but everywhere.
Many people weren’t accustomed to the sound, unless they related to the culture, but the pioneers and the supporters saw the vision at Africon and were more than pleased to share their journey and personal experience with unveiling afro beats with the world.
Africon is a conference that is bridging innovators in music, business, activism, education, and more. Africon gathers to uplift, acknowledge, and celebrate the diversity of the African continent through individual and communal achievements made in professional sectors spanning entertainment, technology, media, business, and entrepreneurship.
Africon held a conference in Los Angeles in late May with different panels discussing the diaspora and how it affects different cultures and nations. One of the panels discussed the history of afro beats and the journey of breaking the sound into the music industry.
“I think we are at an intersection point now globally, where in the last decade or so, there has been a momentum growing from the continent, and members of the diaspora have done an amazing job of bringing the culture to different continents that has accelerated the process.” said Tunji Balogun, CEO of Def Jam Records. “Attention to detail and further work from the Diaspora will propel the different kinds of art that Africa, Africans international, and locals, are ready to present.”
Balogun emphasized that while strides have been made in further celebrating African music culture, everything is still in a “foundation-building space,” and work needs to be continued to sustain and “evolve to the next level.”
“The stories we tell now will only get bigger and stronger over time. We are close to reaching the next level, but at the same time, we are still at the beginning of telling our story.” Balogun said.
Actor and filmmaker Nate Parker also agrees that Black culture’s impact is seen not only across the world, but in places and by people who wouldn’t have welcomed it prior.
“We can’t deny the fact that Black culture is world culture. You see remnants of our culture in everyday life and people mimicking it.” Parker said. “Technology has allowed us to escape from the one-at-a-time model, and you see it by how many different lanes you see Black people in and how many spaces we occupy now.”
Jade Pollock, manager of worldwide Afro Beats and pioneer artist Wizkid explains the trials she and her client experienced before gaining the nationwide reaction.
“People are now starting to buy into the culture, and that’s an amazing thing.”