Monday, June 27 was a remarkable day in history for the Nigerian music industry as Tems, Wizkid, Fireboy DML and Pheelz achieved first-time feats at the prestigious BET Awards Show.
Tems, born Temilade Openiyi, was the biggest winner of the night amongst the four, becoming the first African woman to win the Best International Act and the first African to win a category outside of the international act category, with her win for Best Collaboration. She beat out the likes of Fireboy DML, Dave, Major League Djz, Nicki Minaj and DJ Khaled across both categories.
She was also nominated in the “Best New Artist” category alongside Baby Keem, Muni Long, Benny the Butcher, Yung Bleu, and Latto to whom she lost.
Tems’ acceptance speech for Best International Act was dedicated to all the girls and women to come after her. “I want to use this as an opportunity to speak to every single young, old, whatever, every single woman watching this, every single girl watching this at home …Where I’m from, things like this don’t happen. Where I’m from, Lagos, Nigeria, this is a dream and as you’re watching me, I want you to imagine yourself as me because you are meant to be here too,” said Tems in her heartfelt speech.
The gorgeous 26-year-old songstress also mentioned that this was her first win at any award show. This is since her breakout with her debut single “Mr Rebel” in 2018.
Indeed, her win will serve as major inspiration to many artistes in Nigeria’s alternative music space. Tems’ primary musical genre is RnB, a genre which is less appreciated in comparison to Nigeria’s globally celebrated energetic “Afrobeats” genres.
Tems later took to Twitter to appreciate female Nigerian musicians who came before her, for paving the way.
Previous winners of the Best International Act BET Award include Burna Boy, Wizkid, Black Koffee, Stonebwoy, Davido, 2face Idibia, and Sarkodie.
Wizkid shared the Best Collaboration BET Award win with Tems for his 2021 mega hit Afro-RnB song “Essence” which featured Tems and Justin Bieber. However, Wizkid was beat out by The Weeknd in the ‘Best male R&B/Pop Artist’ category.
Pheelz became the first international act to perform at the BET Awards Red Carpet Pre-show, delivering an electric performance of his hit single “Finesse”.
On the main stage, Fireboy DML delivered an exhilarating rendition of his smash hit single “Peru” and “Playboy”, the first single off his upcoming third album. This made him the first Afrobeats Star to perform on the BET stage and it was more than well-received, as it earned him a standing ovation.
Once again, cheers of “Afrobeats to the world!” have set Nigerian Twitter ablaze as Nigerians have taken to the platform to celebrate their own.
Sources: Punch, PM News Nigeria, Premium Times.