The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival a.k.a Coachella, is among the world’s most anticipated and successful music festivals, with its 2017 festival grossing $114.6 million and attended by 250,000 people. It was co-founded by Paul Tollett and Rick Santen in 1999, holds every year and features artistes from a wide variety of genres, who are considered to grace the stage, based on their social media presence, record sales and how they align with what the most popular music is at the time, as explained by its co-founder Paul Tollett.
On The 3rd of January 2019, Coachella announced the lineup of artistes set to perform at the 2019 edition of the festival, and Nigerian artiste Burna Boy, who had an amazing 2018, with the release of his 3rd studio album ‘outside’ was among the artistes listed along with another Nigerian artiste Mr Eazi, as the only African acts to perform at the festival.
This in itself is a great feat for Burna Boy, as it would mean more exposure for him among other benefits that come with performing on a stage as big as Coachella. However with all of this apparent wins, Burna Boy was displeased by how Coachella announced him as a performing act, complaining about the size of the font used in writing his name on the bill, and insinuating that it was disrespectful to him as an ‘African Giant’. He made this complain via his instagram story but the post has been deleted.
In the post he wrote:
“@coachella I really appreciate you but I don’t appreciate the way my name is written so small in your bill. I am an AFRICAN GIANT” and will not be reduced to whatever that tiny writing means, Fix things quick please.”
This brought about various discussions across social media and had ‘Burna Boy’ trending on twitter. Some people thought this was an unnecessary sense of entitlement by Burna Boy while some chose to take his side on the issue. On the 4th of January, in the early hours of the day, Burna also made another post targeted at those who didn’t agree with his actions and couldn’t see what he was fighting for, referring to them as ‘backward unprogressive fools’, while commending those who took his side, referring to them as the only ‘hope of Africa’.
With the above post, you might ponder, ‘is this really about font size? Hmm maybe Burna Boy seems to be hinting at a bigger picture through his outrage’ but this is false because his premise is totally flawed.
As stated earlier Coachella is a global stage, and though Burna Boy might be the “African Giant’’ he claims to be, this doesn’t mean he is a world or global giant yet. This is not about race, color, culture or whatever black privilege he might be hoping to spin in his favor. This is about recognition and Burna Boy is not that much of a big deal on the world scale yet.
He should look at the positives of performing on a stage like Coachella, get on that stage and show how much of an African Giant he is with a stellar performance and keep on working hard till he is big enough to have the biggest font size on the bill. So Burna what’s it gon be? Coachella or the font size thing.