The inaugural Afrobeat categories at the 2023 Billboard Music Awards, which took place on Sunday, November 19, 2023, were won by Burna Boy and Rema.
The ‘African Giant’ singer made history by becoming the first-ever winner of the newly-created ‘Top Afrobeats Artiste’ category, defeating fierce opposition from Wizkid, Rema, Tems, and Cameroonian star, Libianca.
The awards honor outstanding contributions to the music industry, taking into account several metrics such as album and digital song sales, streaming volume, radio airplay, tour success, and social interaction.
“Big up, Billboard Music Awards,” Burna Boy said in his acceptance speech that, “Big up to everyone involved. This is dedicated to Africa and every artist coming out of Africa now, you get me. This is for you and yeah, man, the future’s bright. You guys are gonna see the vision. This is just the tip of the iceberg but you’re gonna see the whole vision soon.”
The Nigerian pop idols’ successful headline performances as a part of their individual world tours preceded their Billboard recognition. On November 14, Burna Boy made a stop at the Toyota Center in Houston, US, as part of a 16-city marathon in support of his new album “I Told Them,” while Rema became the latest Afrobeats musician to sell out the 20,000-capacity O2 Arena in London, UK.
With 11 wins, US musician Morgan Wallen was the night’s top recipient; among female artists, Taylor Swift took home the most awards with 10 wins, including the coveted “Top Artist” Award.