COLLATERAL WIN: Why Burna Boy Is Africa’s Biggest Winner At The 2020 Grammys

I followed the 2020 Grammys on Twitter, hoping and wishing to see that tweet announcing that Burna Boy has won the International Artiste Category. I’d refresh my timeline severally hoping to get the exciting news which in the end was not to be.

No doubt that Burna Boy desired to get the Grammy, just as all music loving Nigerians as well as Naija and Afro music lovers across the world desired same as we tweeted and sent best wishes for Burna Boy.

In him we all nursed the hopes that the Grammys which seemed to have eluded the Nigerian music space for so long was finally finding it's way home in Burna Boy's victory.

I’m not sure I’d pass as a fan of Burna Boy (although I have two of his tracks on my

playlist) however, I joined other Nigerians who supported him and hoped he wins for country, I’m glad though that he won bigger.

He didn’t get the award; Angelique Kidjo got it. Burna Boy, however was the winner of the night par the International Category and indeed for Nigeria and Africa; it is what I call a Collateral Win.

Although he wasn’t announced as the winner, Angelique Kidjo who won the category would go up on stage and not only dedicate her win to Burna Boy but also make a profound speech that elevates Burna Boy to the poster boy of African music.

In her words:

“Four years ago on this stage, I was telling you that the new generation of artists coming from Africa are going to take you by storm.

“And the time has come . This is for Burna Boy.

“Burna Boy is among those young artists that come from Africa that is changing the way our continent is perceived and the way African music has been the bedrock of every music".

I don’t have a clue as to what Burna’s prepared acceptance speech looked like, but nothing beats that sort of acknowledgement that Mama Kidjo gave of him holding a Grammy in hand, with three more in her kitty.

Burna Boy didn’t get to bring home the award but right on the Grammy stage with the entire world watching, he was so acknowledged by the category winner, pitching him as the poster boy of the African music that is fast taking over the global stage, and as the future of what African music represents at it very best and truest form. This may be well worth 10 Grammys.

I call it sweet sweet Collateral Win.

Collateral Win is not an entirely novel concept especially in Nigeria. For example Ebuka Obi-Uchendu didn’t win the first ever edition of Big Brother Africa, but no one in that house or in the houses since his edition including the winners have gained as much mileage or leverage with the BBN platform.

And there’s Divine Oduduru who represented Nigeria in the 2016 Rio Olympics. The 19 year old ran in the 200m heat against top athletes including Usain Bolt who at the time was an eleven-time World Champion gave his all to the race.

Divine didn’t win that race but he gave Bolt a very close chase to come in second place, that Usain Bolt couldn’t but acknowledge him as they hugged after the race.

Although Divine crashed out in the semi-finals, he had given a good account of himself on a global stage beyond the 'I never experrit' bomb he had become popular for.

One last example to drive this home. A young lady interviewed for what was supposed to be her dream job, putting all her life into the process.

Unfortunately, she did not get the job in spite of her qualifications and a stellar performance both at the assessments and interview stages because the MD who made the final hiring decision preferred another candidate who didn't do as well but had more experience.

So, she lost the job, but did she really lose? A few weeks later one of the company directors who was impressed by her performance at the interview called to inform her of a project and also gave his recommendation of her.

She got selected to execute the project and on the back of that project not only made her first million, she also got to start our own agency as well. She didn't get the job but she did win in the end; it was a Collateral Win.

There's nothing wrong with competing to win, and that is not even remotely suggested by the idea of Collateral Win. If you're in the game by all means your goal should be to win, however in the pursuit of Numero Uno, it is important to not lose sight of the potential wins along the way which sometimes prove more valuable.

As we navigate the shark infested waters of career and a tough industry, we should not lose sight of the fact that our greatest competition is not the other party, but our own selves, our past records and limitations. While striving to get the next career win, don’t miss out on building a great personal brand, a great network of friends and support system and stuff that really matter.

Bear in mind that humans are valuable over and above anything else and that relationships are one of our biggest assets.

Shout out to OluwaBurna, and to African music. Grammy or not we keep winning.

To everyone putting in the work, reaching for more; more wins and more Collateral Wins.

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