Red Bull TV’s ‘Uncredited’ Demonstrates why Afro Dance Needs its Own Spotlight
Despite Afro Dance’s profound role in the success of global music hits, many of its originators and their substantial contributions to African music and pop culture remain uncredited.
●8th January 2024
Afrobeats transcends just music, embodying a cultural revolution that embraces language, food, fashion, and notably, dance. Beneath the groovy tunes, the chart-topping anthems, and the charismatic Afrobeats’ artists that we all love lies another expressive force – Afro Dance, the often-overlooked engine helping to drive the movement.
The struggle for recognition for Afro Dance and its creators still persists amidst Afrobeats’ rapid ascent. Despite Afro Dance’s pivotal role in the success of global music hits and viral TikTok trends, many originators and their substantial contributions to African music and pop culture remain uncredited and ignored mainstream acknowledgment.
Back in 2022, Red Bull’s documentary (Un)credited dropped, throwing a much-needed spotlight on Afro Dance in Lagos, Nigeria.
The 45-minute film wove the personal stories of Nigerian dancers with the evolution of Afro Dance itself, from its roots in traditional Nigerian rhythms to its contemporary fusion with hip-hop and global influences.
Crucially, it shone a light on a lot of disparities, highlighting the challenges faced by Afro Dance artists. Financial insecurity, lack of recognition, and even appropriation of their moves by mainstream artists who capitalise on Afro Dance’s popularity without properly crediting its source are realities they face daily. Nigerian dancer and choreographer Kafayat ‘Kaffy’ Shafau, who has shaped Afro Dance for decades, comments, “Some of the moves that are going viral now, if you break them down to the core, it’s coming from our traditional movement.”
For Seyi Oluyole, the stakes are personal. Her academy for orphaned and disadvantaged girls, Dream Catchers, caught the eye of supermodel Naomi Campbell, but the struggle to keep it running doesn’t deter the dancer. “I don’t need you to open the door for me,” she declares, unfazed. “I’m just going to break the wall and make my own door and let other people in.”
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