At the 2022 BET award show, there were many highlights and famous attendees that made the event special; however, arguably one of the most memorable moments of the day was when Nigerian born singer Tems won the Best International Act award, became the first African artist to receive three nominations, and gave us an inspirational speech.
Since her first international hit Damages in 2020, Temilade Openiyi has won our hearts and reign as the female head of afrobeat to carry the sound globally. Through platinum features with none other than Wizkid, Drake and recently Future, the starlet has delivered hits after hits, always pushing the African music culture forward and into spaces it previously could not reach. After the release of her sophomore EP, “If Orange was a Place”, Tems is finally given her first award and the recognition she deserves.
Competing against strong nominees Dave, French rapper Dinos, Fally Ipupa, Little Simz, Brazilian act Ludmilla, South African collective Major League DjZ and TayC, Tems was awarded as the 2022 best International Act and is now officially the first African artist to receive such an award.
During her acceptance speech, she pleas to remind women of all ages and backgrounds that they are as much capable of becoming in the same position as her: “Where I am from, things like this don’t happen. Where I am from in Lagos, Nigeria, this is a dream. And as you are watching me, I want you to imagine yourself as me because you are meant to be here too.” Explaining further: “I am dedicating this to every single young woman, every artist, everybody that is striving and dares to dream. I dare you to get up from your seat, go for your dream and fight for yourself because you can be here.”
At the end of the show, Lagos state’s very own ended up bringing home two awards as best International Act and best collaboration for the remix of Wizkid’s Essence alongside Canadian singer Justin Bieber.
Words by Lauren Southe.