Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu, better known to as Burna Boy, has spoken of the palpable relief that swept through him when he won the Grammy within the Best Global Music Album category on March 14, 2021.
“I felt very relieved, a lot of relief because I deserved it,” Burna Boy says straight-faced in an interview with the BBC. “So if I didn’t catch on once I hoped , a situation wouldn’t happen where it’s like i would not get what I deserve again, you know?” he adds, referencing the previous year when he omitted on winning the award.
Burna Boy hit the music scene in 2012, after releasing his debut album L.I.F.E. He realised afterwards that his music touched variety of individuals and transcended several cultures.
“It’s bigger than me and that’s when it quite hit me that this is often not a hobby anymore, you wont to do that on the streets and everybody would be going crazy, but now I don’t see anyone better than you so it’s like this is often serious now,” he says.
On the impact of winning a Grammy for him and other African artists, he says “it just shows….like you know, anything is feasible and whatever situation you’ll be in, and whatever environment you discover yourself doesn’t really determine your future and what you’re getting to do.
“It doesn’t stop you from not just considering your dreams, you know. ‘Cause at the top of the day, we are in an environment that’s very discouraging; you understand, an environment that doesn’t even believe itself before they even consider believing in you.”
Burna Boy also spoke of why the album that won him the Grammy was so important for him and why African artists should continue telling their own stories.
“It’s always important on behalf of me to form music and bodies of labor the maximum amount as possible because on behalf of me that’s what is going to be left behind when I’m not here.
“That’s going to be my footprints on the world. I believe at every step of my life to create a body of work that narrates and explains that time of my life.
“Because our stories have always been twisted and told and most of the time our stories have been twisted into the western world and then white faces have been put on the real characters; do you understand?
“Now is the time to overturn all that because finally we have a generation of Africans who is not going to stand for that. You understand?
“So what better time to start to do, to change the narrative back into the truth,” he adds.