Maybe we tend to forget very easily that celebrities are humans too, just like you & I, but what marks the difference is in the unparalleled exposure & attraction they enjoy everytime, anytime. Thus a potential misfortune for any celebrity isn’t always easy to contend with, especially in the entertainment industry where competition is fierce. And in this moment I wouldn’t want to envy Nigerian songstress Yemi Alade after her tough loss to fellow Nigerian music superstar Burna Boy in the Grammy Awards 2020 nominations.
It particularly hurts in some way considering the fact that Yemi Alade prides herself as the “Mama Africa” the indomitable black diva whose songs are widely accepted & appreciated with so much passion across African nations especially. For her, the Grammy Awards nomination she eventually lost to Burna Boy in the ‘Best World Music Album’ category would have been a reward for her unflinching hardwork & dedication – but it wasn’t to be. Don’t get it twisted though, Burna Boy deserves the accolade for his first ever Grammy nomination, but maybe my slight biased favour for female artistes really wished she could have clinched it anyways.
Taking a closer look at both albums – Yemi Alade’s ‘Woman of Steel’ and Burna Boy’s ‘African Giant’ – just how did the Burna Boy manage to secure the votes ahead of Yemi Alade despite her very frantic effort & promotions at getting that grammy nomination in the Best World Music Album category? It’s interesting to note that her loss was more of ‘unforced errors’ NOT entirely lack of talent nor quality. Highlighted below are a few reasons most people think were responsible for the shift.
According to public opinion, it is widely believed that the timing of Yemi Alade’s album tagged ‘Woman of Steel’ (WOS) seemed suspicious as many thought it was released in a haste in-order to meet submission deadline of The Recording Academy (managing board for the Grammys) for its consideration on possible Grammy Awards nomination. A move that critics feel that it ultimately led to Lack of Depth with Low Quality , as a result the album didn’t make the final cut of nominations for the Best World Music Album category. Though this doesn’t connote that there aren’t good songs on her album ‘Woman of Steel’, it’s just that much attention and/or time wasn’t given to step-up the good quality standard Yemi Alade (as a brand) had set for herself in previous albums.
Part of the shortcoming of ‘Woman of Steel’ album, again from sampling of random public views which are mostly from music fans & critics, was perceived as a consequence of Not having Effective International Collaborations on it. Burna Boy’s album ‘African Giant’ has the likes of Jorja Smith (on ‘Gum Body’), Angelique Kidjo & Damian Marley (on ‘Different’), Future (on ‘Show & Tell’), and of-course the rave-of-the-moment Zlatan Ibile (on ‘Killin’ Them’), and it wasn’t hard for anybody to figure out what Burna Boy was all out to achieve – getting international attention with Afrobeats! Compared to Yemi Alade’s album WOS that has notably just two major acts on showcase – Angelique Kidjo (on ‘Shekere’) and Rick Ross (on ‘Oh My Gosh Remix’), falling short to sway music lovers on many levels.
However like I said earlier, this is not discredit Yemi Alade’s ‘Woman of Steel’ album or her tremendous efforts on every song she makes, the two (2) reasons highlighted in this piece are to explain why her work lost out to Burna Boy’s ‘African Giant’ in the context of highly coveted Grammy Awards 2020 album nomination. Nonetheless if the ‘Johnny’ crooner is still thinking of a possible Grammy nomination next year, then those two key points should be noted.