African stars including Nigeria’s Burna Boy and Wizkid, Tanzania’s Diamond Platnumz and French-Malian singer Aya Nakamura have all scored nominations at this year’s BET Awards slated for Los Angeles on 27 June.
The awards, which have been running for the past 19 years, honour black entertainers in music, acting and sports. Last year, the event was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are back and excited to bring culture’s biggest night, the 2021 BET Awards, safely back to Los Angeles to celebrate this year’s incredible roster of nominees,” BET Networks executive vice-president and head of specials, music programming and music strategy Connie Orlando said. “We broke ground as one of the first official award shows to move forward during the global pandemic and we are ready to take our pioneer status to the next level with the return of an audience to celebrate the best and brightest creative minds in the entertainment industry.”
Grammy winner Burna Boy, who is the current holder of the BET Best International Act Award, will be hoping to defend his title, which he has won consecutively since 2019. He will be competing against fellow African popstars Wizkid, Diamond Platnumz and Aya Nakamura, all of whom have enjoyed a highly successful year. In March, Wizkid scored his second consecutive NAACP Image Award for guesting on Beyoncé’s ‘Brown Skin Girl’. The record also won the Best Music Video Award at the recently held Grammys.
Diamond Platnumz is currently the most successful artist in East Africa. Earlier this month, his Wasafi Classic Baby record label partnered with Warner Music Group and Ziiki Media on a 360 strategic deal. For the past two years, Aya Nakamura, who is best known for her 2018 hit ‘Djadja’, has been the most listened to French artist globally. Her latest album Aya was released in November, and on 27 May she dropped ‘Bobo’.
Other nominees in the Best International Act category include Headie One (UK), Young T & Bugsey (UK), Emcida (Brazil) and Youssoupha (France).
Meanwhile, rapper Megan Thee Stallion leads this year’s nominees with seven nods, including for Best Female Hip Hop Artist, Video of the Year and Album of the Year.
The awards will be broadcast on BET Africa (DStv channel 129) on 28 June at 2am CAT.