Afrobeats concerts are known for their electrifying performances and vibrant energy. From the artistes to the fans, there is never a dull moment at these events. With each show comes a new set of antics and unforgettable moments that keep music lovers coming back for more. Oghenovo Egodo-Michael takes a look at some of the artists who have taken their ‘stage madness’ to another level with their fans
Grammy Award-winning singer, Damini Ogulu, aka Burna Boy, is known for his very lively performances. Indeed, he is talented, both in the studio and on stage. However, fans do not waste time in expressing when they are pleased or dissatisfied with his performance or work ethics.
On the first day of 2023, at his ‘Lagos Loves Damini’ concert, fans booed him after unapologetically keeping them waiting for many hours. Even though the ‘Last Last’ singer was reluctant to apologise to fans, he later did after he was called out severally on social media.
He has also been involved in several controversial incidents during his live performances.
In 2019, he kicked a fan who tried to climb on stage during his concert in Zambia. He later apologised and explained the situation on March 31, 2019. He wrote on social media, “I am sorry about how it looks, but this person continuously tried to rob me on stage. It was like the tenth attempt to do it after telling him several times to stop. Apologies for how it looks, but it is not the case at all. I appreciate all my fans.”
That same year, Burna returned a fan’s ticket money, for not dancing or reacting to his performance. He stated that the fan was discouraging him, because he was too dull and not ‘vibing’ to his performance.
The singer also appeared in a gorilla costume during his 2019 performance at the Wembley Arena, London, United Kingdom.
Burna boy has also stayed loyal to his band— The Outsiders— with whom he has been continuously working for over eight years. Observers say that is one of the factors that has helped him to have remarkable stage performances over the years.
Ahmed Ololade, aka Asake, is known for very creative performances that make him stand out. One of such instances was his grand entrance on stage at the 2023 Afronation Festival, which took place on June 29 in Portimão, Portugal. The ‘Joha’ crooner rode to the stage on a bike to the delight of his fans. As the night got heated, Asake spontaneously dived into the crowd of fans that turned up for the event. Before jumping into the crowd though, he made sure he took off the valuable items, such as his chains and wrist-watch, he was putting on.
The singer’s performance is usually so energetic that on December 11, 2022, he suffered a wardrobe malfunction on stage, while doing a popular dance step known as ‘gbese’. During his performance at the 02 Academy Brixton Arena in London, the singer’s pants got ripped at the buttocks area, after he took an energetic leap.
However, just like other top artistes, Asake has had his fair share of being booed by the crowd. In one of his shows at Birmingham in the United Kingdom, fans vehemently booed the singer for allegedly showing up late for the event and delivering a lacklustre performance. A fan who attended the event had taken to Twitter to lament the unfortunate situation. She wrote, “Asake’s Birmingham concert was the worst concert ever. This man did not come out till 11pm. There were a stampede and people were literally fainting. People started leaving because of their safety.”
Meanwhile, that was not the only time there was a stampede at the singer’s show. Some fans lost their lives in their struggle to watch Asake perform at his Brixton concert on October 16, 2022.
Two fans, identified as Rebecca Ikumelo and Gabrielle Hutchinso, passed away after the incident, while many others had injuries.
Divine Ikubor, popularly known as Rema, is undoubtedly one the most sought after afrobeats artistes at the moment. There is also no doubt that the singer has many female fans who are in love with him and his craft.
At his recent show in Houston, United States of America, on July 28, 2023, some female fans threw their brassieres on stage to show how excited they were to witness the singer’s perfomance. A fan even went a step further by writing her phone number on her bra. Reacting to the fan’s action, Rema said, “Girl, you are really clean. This bra is so white. I love girls with good hygiene. Oh! You even added your number. Expect my call tonight, baby.”
Rema has also had some dramatic performances, such as when he pretended to collapse on stage in a performance at the 02 Brixton Academy Arena on November 9, 2022.
The singer is known to often go on stage with a giant teddy bear.
On July 27, 2023, Rema walked out of a performance to the dismay of expectant fans. Giving the reasons for his action, the popular singer noted that the venue was not good enough.
Oluwatobiloba Anidugbe, popularly known as Kizz Daniel, did the unthinkable when he employed a fan after having a moment with her on stage at his Afro Classic USA tour that was held on July 9, 2022. During the show, Kizz reached out to a fan from the crowd and suddenly carried her while she was dancing. It was a wild performance indeed as the ‘Buga’ crooner was subsequently seen sprinkling water into the audience as he performed his hit track, ‘Pour me Water’.
In a subsequent interview with an American radio host and TV personality, Charlamagne tha God, Daniel noted that he always sought the permission of the women he usually got intimate with on stage. He added that no fan had ever turned him down. He also revealed that the lady he carried on stage during his performance was employed afterwards. He said, “That is the fan right there. She now works with me. I am not playing.” He, however, added that the relationship between them was a business one. The fan in question who actually accompanied him to the interview told listeners that her name was Efya, and and she hailed from Ghana, though she lived in the US.
In August 2022, the singer got into trouble when he did not show up for a performance he had already been paid for in Tanzania. He was later arrested by the police. The artiste eventually apologised to his fans and staged a ‘free’ concert in the East African country to appease them.
Michael Olayinka, popularly referred to as Ruger, is another artiste that has had some epic moments with fans during his performances on stage.
During a performance on March 27, 2022, Ruger walked off the stage after he was embarrassed by a female fan who groped him during the performance.
However, the singer often brings female fans on stage and dances with them in an erotic manner. During a recent show in Canada on June 11, 2023, Ruger danced with a female fan, who was apparently excited to share the stage with the singer. She went on to give him a steamy lap dance.
Another video of his performance in Suriname last month also went viral and got many people talking. While performing, the artiste brought out a female fan and asked her to sit on the stage. As his performance got more heated, the singer instructed the fan to use an expletive to her boyfriend. The excited fan did not hesitate to do as he commanded, as she yelled and stuck out her middle finger to the crowd for emphasis.
Fast-rising singer, Oyinkansola Aderibigbe, aka Ayra Starr, has had her fair share of interesting stage moments.
During a performance at the Afrochella Concert held in Ghana on December 28, 2022, Ayra was running around on the stage when she suddenly fell. Showing her ingenuity, the singer quickly stood up and continued her performance, without missing a beat. After the show, Starr called out the organisers of the show, admonishing them to properly clean their stage after each performance.
She wrote on Twitter, “Afrochella, next time, you should clean your stage after every artiste’s performance. That fall was very unnecessary and painful.”
Aderibigbe was also caught up in the moment during a performance at the University of Benin, Edo State, in 2021. The Mavins star took off her jacket, leaving only a black bra on. To the delight of fans, she threw the jacket into the audience, and the fans in attendance struggled to get a hold of it. However, the singer is known for mostly performing in skimpy attire, which attract both knocks and kudos from her fans.
Unarguably, one of the most controversial artistes in the country at the moment, Habeeb Okikiola, aka Portable, is used to raising eyebrows, whether on or off stage.
However, the ‘Prisoner’ singer took it several notches higher during a performance at the New Afrikan Shrine, Ikeja, Lagos, on December 28, 2022. The singer took many by surprise when he was carried to the stage in a white coffin. On stepping out of the coffin, the crowd went wild with excitement.
The singer is also known for usually climbing poles and loudspeakers during his performances. At other times, the singer falls to the ground and dances in an erratic manner like one having an epileptic fit.
Portable has also had his fair share of stage madness from fans. At a show organised by another artiste, Temitope Adekunle, aka Small Doctor, in December 2022, some of the artistes vehemently rejected Portable’s performance. They threw all sorts of items at him on the stage after he claimed to be king of the street just a day before the event.