Carrots and Beats: The Leading Ladies of Afrobeats

by Devan Carol
Voiced by Amazon Polly

Welcome, everyone to Carrots and Beats, a weekly blog that shines a spotlight on Black women in music who are cooking up the melodies that feed our souls!

What would music be without the African Diaspora?

The world has been set ablaze by Afrobeats out of West Africa and the U.K. and Amapiano out of South Africa in the last few years. Acts like Burna Boy, Wizkid, and Davido are now household names thanks to massive popularity and critically-acclaimed music. Touring revenue has reached unprecedented heights for these genres.

But what about the LADIES?

This past Sunday, June 26, 2022, saw Temilade Openiyi aka Tems, become the first African woman to win big at the B.E.T. Awards. The 27-year-old Nigerian songwriter and chanteuse took home the prize for Best International Act, beating out Davido as mentioned above in the process. This follows her massive hit, “Essence” with Wizkid which officially put her on the international music radar. With two previous EPs (“For Broken Ears” and “If Orange Was a Place”) we can’t wait to see what other musical magic Tems cooks up!

Up next, is singer, poet, and South African House/Gqom superstar Busiswa.

Busiswa Gqulu, a product of the music mecca that is Durban, SA and has been making noise on the music scene since her debut in 2014.

Rapping and singing in both English and Xhosa, she signed with Kalawa Jazmee Records in 2014 and used her six years with the label to launch to heights unimaginable. In 2019, she was featured on “My Power” from Beyoncé’s visual album, “Black Is King.”

With three full-length projects and countless features under her belt, the 33-year-old mom and mogul also launched her own imprint, Majesty Music. Busiswa is proof that with belief in yourself and your talent, anything is possible!

The final artist of note is veteran singer and performer, Angelique Kidjo. Angélique Kpasseloko Hinto Hounsinou Kandjo Manta Zogbin Kidjo, born in Ouidah, Benin has enjoyed a career spanning 30 years and is known as Africa’s premier diva. The multi-lingual Kidjo sings in French, English, Fon, Yoruba, and Gen.

Her influences span multiple genres including jazz, Caribbean Zouk, Congolese rhumba, gospel, and soul. Her latest offering, Mother Nature, includes collaborations with contemporary Afrobeats artists such as Yemi Alade, Burna Boy, and Mr. Eazi. In addition to music, she has written the memoir Spirt Rising, My Life, My Music which includes a preface written by the late Desmond Tutu. Miss Kidjo is an enduring force in music and entertainment and we give her her flowers!

This is only the tip of the iceberg and I look forward to introducing you to more amazing Black women each week who are elevating the music game!

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