The GROW, UNITE, BUILD, AFRICA (GUBA) Enterprise and Rolling Stone joined forces in hosting the second annual African Nominee Brunch on Saturday in Beverly Hills, ushering in the excitement ahead of the 66th Grammy Awards. This collaborative event, held at the heart of Grammy weekend, marked a pivotal moment in the celebration of African representation, setting the stage for the introduction of the Best African Music Performance category.
The partnership between GUBA and Rolling Stone underscored a shared commitment to amplify the global impact of African music. This year’s brunch was a vibrant continuation of the tradition, with Rolling Stone making its first appearance as a partner, adding to the festivities that have become synonymous with Grammy weekend.
African music’s exponential global influence, fueled by the rise of Afropop and subgenres like Afrobeats and Amapiano, took center stage at the event. Recording Academy President Panos Panay expressed his excitement, stating, “This is just the beginning of the journey for our organization in having a significantly bigger embrace of the culture of the continent.”
The brunch commenced with a captivating performance from dance group AfroMekah, choreographed to songs nominated for Best African Music Performance, including “Water” and “Unavailable.”
Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. and President Panos Panay emphasized the evolving nature of the Academy and the significance of celebrating the diverse musical landscape emerging from the continent. Mason remarked, “Times are different, everything’s changed, and the Academy is a different Academy.” He highlighted the importance of recognizing and celebrating the rich musical diversity of Africa.
CEO, Lady Dentaa Amoateng MBE, of GUBA, also spoke passionately about the significance of embracing and celebrating the diverse musical landscape during the event. Her remarks echoed the commitment of GUBA to promoting African excellence and fostering collaboration.
Following the announcement of the new category, industry insiders at the brunch emphasized the award’s importance in representing the entirety of the diverse African diaspora, extending beyond mainstream and western audiences.
Mason and Panay described the inaugural award as the first step in a broader commitment to recognizing and supporting African music within the Grammy framework. Mason expressed his eagerness to learn from the diverse talents across the continent and underscored the Academy’s commitment to contributing to the global music landscape.