Earn Your Stripes or Know Your Worth? Burna Boy VS Coachella

by | 4 January, 2019 | CULTURE, HOME | 0 comments

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, popularly known as Coachella is a music and arts festival held annually in Indio, California USA. The festival previously had an indie appeal, showcasing underground acts-which it is still does-but more recently, we’ve seen it take on more commercial acts, with last year’s edition headlined by one of the biggest acts in pop culture-Beyoncé. Beyoncé was the highlight of the entire festival, she performed twice and the festival was informally themed BeyChella.

Beyoncé put on a show-stopping performance at last year’s Coachella. Her set, costumes and performance paid homage to Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the United States. Photo Credit- Beyonce.com

Over the past year or so, African acts have slowly started to feature on the anticipated annual festival line up, with Nigerian artist Wizkid being part of the bill last year, as well as South African band, Goldfish, so when the official line up was released for 2019, I scanned through for some African acts and I was excited to spot Mr Eazi and Burna Boy on the roaster. However, one act was not as chuffed with the way his name was stylized on the poster- Burna Boy, born Damini Ogulu. His argument was that his name was written in small font.

“@Coachella I really appreciate you but I don’t appreciate the way my name is written so small in your bill…” he wrote on a now deleted Instagram story post.

Nigerian artist Burna Boy took to his Insta stories to express discontent over how his name was presented on the 2019 Coachella poster. Photo Cred- The Shade Room.

2018 was undoubtedly a big year for Burna Boy, he released his critically acclaimed album Outside which produced smash single Ye. This past December, his Burna Live concert in Lagos was the hottest ticket in town with many celebrities in attendance.

Image credit- @burnaboygram.

Event and film posters typically highlight the most popular acts -deemed crowd pulling- in a larger font size, positioned at the top or first in line followed by supporting or upcoming acts in smaller font below. In line with this, this year’s Coachella has headlining acts Childish Gambino, Ariana Grande and Tame Impala in the more prominent fonts and the font gets smaller below these acts in order of artist credentials or popularity it seems. This, of course, is very subjective and cause for debate as we have seen in this case with Burna Boy.

“I represent a whole Generation of SOLID AFRICAN creatives going Global…Nothing I say comes from any place of “pride” or any sense of “entitelement”, it comes from my Vision of the future of AFRICA not just AFRICAN MUSIC,” he said in an updated post in his Instagram stories.

2019 Coachella line up. Photo Cred- The Shade Room. Spot Burna Boy’s name circled..

Some Instagram users on Nigerian blog Bella Naija expressed that Burna Boy was being ungrateful, whilst others felt he knows his worth and is simply fighting for it. What are your thoughts on this? Should the benchmark for African artists’ success be International acknowledgment and recognition or should one earn their stripes until they reach a milestone deemed ‘font-size worthy’ on any stage they land?

A photoshopped poster created by a user mocking Burna Boy’s plea.

See some of the comments posted on Instagram below:


Instagram user comments on the matter via Bella Naija.


Main image credit @burnaboygram.


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