Burna Boy Addresses Backlash Over His African Diaspora Comments

The Nigerian singer-songwriter insisted words were put into his mouth: "Everyone has their own agendas."

Ian Macnicol

Burna Boy is setting the record straight.

During a recent appearance on Complex's 360 with Speedy, the Nigerian singer-songwriter spoke about his controversial remarks on the African diaspora and how many Black Americans were not in touch with their roots. 

“There's one quote that's been inescapable for you at this point. Everybody says that you once said, or once alluded to, Black Americans not having any culture,” 360 host Speedy Morman told Burna Boy. “So they’re like, ‘Well, wait a second. Why is he wearing shoes that look like Timbs and sampling an American song if Black Americans have not culture?’”

Burna Boy told the host he wasn’t fazed by the backlash, insisting the criticism was based on untrue claims.

“At the end of the day I’m still gonna do my job. I’m still gonna do what my mission is and my mission is to bring us together, you know I mean?” he said around the15-minute mark. “My mission is a bridge—to build a bridge that can’t be broken—a bridge that should have always been there.”

The drama began back in March, when activist Chaka Bars asked Burna Boy, “Why is it important that the diaspora come home?”

The I Told Them… artist argued that unlike other American minority groups, African Americans lack ties with their homeland.

“The Chinese-American has a base. He knows he’s from China,” he said. “The Italian American knows where their grandparents came from in Italy. They know the first person from their family to come to America and start that line to make them Italian-American. Same goes to everyone else except the African American.”

The remarks immediately went viral, as many believed Burna Boy was dismissing African-American culture; however, the singer told Morman that the assertions were flat-out false. 

“Everyone has their own agendas,” he said in response to the backlash. “Show me the part where I said [that]. That’s all I need. If someone can just show me that part… There’s nothing I said that Malcolm X didn’t say. There’s nothing I said that the honorable Louis Farrakhan didn’t say, you know what I mean?”

He continued: “But obviously, it’s Burna Boy saying it and he’s from Africa... It fits the agenda for your little group or whatever. All that’s beneath me. My mission and my movements is too divine for stupid shit like that. That shit is always gonna come… People are really, really dumb.”

You can check out Burna Boy’s full interview below.

The singer’s seventh studio album, I Told Them… hits streaming services at midnight Friday.

View this video on YouTube


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