Culture Hack

Africa to the World: The Continuing Rise of Afrobeats and Beyond 

We have all heard and seen the impact of globalization and the interconnectivity of upcoming generations. In recent years, the African diaspora has seen a shift in culture, leaving brands with an opportunity to inspire creatives and collaborate in bringing attention to its growing market and unique style.

To the African Diaspora, Afrobeats has inspired individuals, particularly those of African descent, to explore their ancestry, create a sense of community and foster pride in being Black, and having roots in Africa. Beyond the Diaspora and black community, it is growing in popularity throughout the world. Artists such as Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber, and Selena Gomez have co-opted the sound on popular mainstream singles such as Peru, Essence, and Calm Down. TikTok has been a major vehicle of delivery to different audiences through dance challenges, “A Day in the Life” and many more trends. 

Afrobeats has and continues to grow the relationship between Africa and the diaspora. Rooted in representation, creative expression and rich history, the cultural importance of this genre should not be understated. Brands have been hesitant to enter the African market due to cultural nuances and lack of knowledge, but with the rise of Afrobeats and the emerging sense of style, it is a perfect opportunity for brands to connect. 

The encouragement of traditional style and textiles has allowed artists to express their individuality and sound, and inherently change how Africa is viewed. From Vogue featuring Wizkid on its cover, to Burberry featuring Burna Boy in its Christmas collection as well as his appearance on the Savage X Fenty show, brands have started meeting their consumers beyond a single category. They are utilizing the impact Afrobeats has on the diaspora to meet their consumers through collaboration and features. Not only to bring luxury to the market but to unbox the cultural identities and varying aspects of their consumer profiles.

Brands have yet to understand the importance of this genre– or shall I say this movement. Most importantly, the influence it has on the ever-evolving Black culture and representation around the world. With increased travel, global concerts, and countries such as Ghana hosting ‘homecoming’ for those of Ghanaian descent, this has certainly empowered many generations of Africans and Black individuals to rediscover their sense of identity. 

Most recently, in September of 2022, it was announced that the government of Nigeria would be banning foreign actors and models from its ads in hopes of enhancing the country’s talent and economy. Further popular Afrobeats artists: Tems, Burna Boy, and Rema performed at the 2023 NBA All-Star game. 

The curiosity and relatability of Afrobeats has certainly begun shifting how the world views Africa as well as how Africa presents itself to the world. From reclaiming many components of their ancestry to applying and transforming their capabilities to represent their identities, the African diaspora is now, quite literally making the world listen.

Naomi Augustin