One Africa Music Fest Brings The World’s Hottest Stars To NYC
The One Africa Music Fest was epic. Here's our summary of highlights and photos.
In the biggest celebration of African artists on this side of the Atlantic, all roads led to Brooklyn last Friday for the One Africa Music Fest at the Barclays Center. One Africa was the first of its kind in the US and featured a comprehensive list of acclaimed international and US-based artists of direct African origin: WizKid, Jidenna, Seun Kuti, Praiz, Diamond Platnumz, Flavour, Ayo Jay, Davido, Don Jazzy and . Wale was slated for the bill, but could not attend due to the birth of his baby on the date of the concert. For fans unable to attend and music aficionados, the concert–hosted by Nigerian R&B artist Banky W–was available for viewing via livestream on TIDAL.
The concert was on a high with Praiz as the opening act followed by Ghanaian Dancehall/Reggae/Hiplife artist Stonebwoy along with Efya. The night continued with Tiwa Savage as she performed huge hits both old and new such as “Eminado”, “My Darling” and “Key to the City.” Don Jazzy graced the stage alongside the Doro-diva herself to perform “African Waist.”
The concert went on with performances by Tanzania’s Diamond Platnumz, Ayo Jay, Seun Kuti, Davido, and Flavour. Davido hit the stage with “Tchelete”, “Dami Duro,” “Dodo” and “Gobe”. Even the carnival vibes took off once Flavour took the stage performing his 2005 hit “Nwa Baby (Ashawo)” followed by “Shake” and “Sexy Rosey.”
Timaya’s set consisted of songs like “Sanko” and “I Concur.” However, he couldn’t bring the Carnival vibes in all by himself − joining him to perform was Trinidadian Soca artist Machel Montano, where he took to the stage to perform “Shake Yuh Bum”, “Bend Over”, “Happiest Man Alive (HMA)”, “It’s Carnival” and “Like Ah Boss”. The two artists announced a forthcoming collaborative album entitled “Afro-Soca”.
The Classic Man, better known as Jidenna, made a grand entrance when he came on to perform alongside a Nmonwu/Mmanwu (Igbo masquerade). But the real showstopper was Jidenna’s dance moves as he let everyone know he too can get down.
The stadium filled with suspense as folks anticipated the long awaited closing performance by Wizkid – he was introduced to the crowd by Brooklyn-native and recent StarBoy signee, DJ Tunez. Wiz made sure to close the show with a bang while bringing out Grammy-winning recording artist and producer Swizz Beatz. During his set, Wiz became one with the fans as began swapping articles of clothing and accepted an Arsenal FC jersey from a fan. Reminding concertgoers why they love him so much, he performed tunes like “Don’t Dull”, “Tease/Bad Guys”, “Slow Down”, “Caro”, “In My Bed”, “The Matter”, “Show You the Money” and “Ojuelegba”. Wizkid called upon the audience to help him perform the Billboard charting song “One Dance” during which he would record and send to Drake, showcasing how the big the record has become.
The concert was filled with many highlights, ranging from Tiwa Savage throwing up the ROC sign mid performance confirming her signing to ROC Nation, to Jidenna’s dance numbers, to Banky W’s moment of silence for those in our society who have passed on, to his own impromptu performance. The One Africa Music Fest definitely brought a tremendous message on what is to come in the international African music scene and the overall massive demand for African music in the Western world.
Images by @noemadnyc