Rema Wins Best Afrobeats Song With “Calm Down” at VMA Music Awards

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The dazzling stage of the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, bore witness to a night of triumph and celebration on Tuesday, September 12, 2023, as the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards unfolded. This star-studded event, known for honoring the brightest stars in the Top 40 music realm, proved to be a memorable evening for both the artists and fans alike.


In a significant and historic achievement, the inaugural award in the Best Afrobeats category was bestowed upon Nigerian vocal sensation Rema and American pop icon Selena Gomez for their chart-topping collaboration, “Calm Down.”

Selena Gomez - Rema - Calm Down Remix

At the age of 31, Selena Gomez and her 23-year-old counterpart, Rema, found themselves nominated in multiple categories for their collaborative masterpiece, “Calm Down.” The nominations included Song of the Year, Best Collaboration, and the category they ultimately claimed, Best Afrobeats.

Their victory was no small feat, as they faced stiff competition from renowned Afrobeats artists and tracks, including Ayra Starr’s “Rush,” Burna Boy’s “It’s Plenty,” Davido featuring Musa Key’s “Unavailable,” Libianca’s “People,” Wizkid featuring Ayra Starr’s “2 Sugar,” and Fireboy DML’s “Bandana.”

In a touching acceptance speech, Rema expressed his gratitude to those who had paved the way for him in the music industry, as well as paying homage to the legends who had pioneered the Afrobeats genre.


Rema’s words resonated with the audience as he stated, “This means so much, seeing Afrobeats grow so big and being here on this stage representing Afrobeats tonight, I am so happy. Big shoutout to people who opened the doors for me. Big shoutout to Fela who started Afrobeat in the first place. Tubaba, Don Jazzy, D’banj, D’Prince, Runtown, Timaya, Wizkid, Burna Boy, Davido.” His acknowledgment of these influential figures highlighted the importance of recognizing the roots and contributors of the Afrobeats genre, a genre that has achieved global recognition and acclaim.

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