The fourth episode of the Sound and Vision series aired on Channel 4, looks at the rise of UK Afrobeats and the profound impact the music (and the artists who make it) have on our culture.
Filmed in part at the Nation of Billions #AfroNation party at Croydon’s Boxpark, this new 30 minute documentary hosted by Billie JD Porter is another chance to get close to the producers and musicians who are the source of the sauce when it comes to Afrobeats. Afro B, Naira Marley, Fuse ODG, P Montana, Eugy and Team Salut are just a few of the leading lights in UK Afrobeats; alongside dancers Ghana Boyz they represent the clutch of UK Afrobeats ambassadors changing perceptions of the continent globally.
From Fuse ODG’s viral hit ‘Azonto’ to Team Salut’s ‘Dance For Me’ the spectrum of Afrocentric innovation has not been this authentic or dynamic in the UK since the 1960’s. The rise of Afrobeats, and its cultural impact, goes way beyond simply being about tropical rhythms and one off party hits. These artists and their pioneering blends of Hip Hop, Afrobeat, Rap, Dancehall and Bashment come together in redefining what modern Africa is about.
Afrobeats permeates everything: the celebration of traditional fashion print, hair styling, head scarf wearing, challenging ‘conventional’ beauty standards and embracing continental dance trends. Its open door policy is a standing invitation into a world untouched by stereotypes; an opportunity to understand the modern African continent as it stands today, through the eyes of an internet generation more connected than ever before artists, dancers and fans of the music are able to reclaim an identity that is too often been a one dimensional catalogue of corruption, starvation and waste.
And while the men of the industry are often on the front line (as noted by Creative Director and Marketing Consultant Monique and Caro), ‘The Rise Of UK Afrobeats’ gives light to the matriarchal backbone of a scene that flourishes when women steer.