Burna Boy From Controversy to Controversy

A legend in the top firmaments of the music industry, Burna Boy has transcended from the regular Nigerian or African artist, breaking into the global world. He is regarded as an unambiguous favourite in the eyes of all. Whatever reasons people may have for not liking the guy, tacky music or lack of talent, certainly, are not part of it. With his standard genre, Afro-fusion — one that blends Afrobeats, dancehall riddims, reggae, American rap and R&B — Burna Boy draws a huge audience and never alienates them.


However, meshed in between his chart-topping singles and award-winning albums are his troubling controversies. Burna Boy does not disappoint when it comes to feeding the masses with different varieties of colourful news. The singer trudges his repository of groundbreaking, artistic creations alongside his collisions with the law and public opinion. Part of the general perception of Burna is the subject of him being rude, dismissive, and painfully arrogant. Another part is his continuous run-in with the law. Could these run-ins be what he was alluding to in “Pree me” where he hinted at the many times he “broke the law”? The report about Burna Boy being banned from the United Kingdom for stabbing and killing someone in 2010 while in the UK due to gang-related activities is one that is quite popular amongst people who are familiar with the artist. Even though he refuted it, the news still sorta stuck.


In November 2017, Burna Boy clashed with the Nigerian police where they labelled him wanted for allegedly sending armed thugs to assault and rob fellow musician, Abiye Jumbo, popularly known as Mr. 2Kay. Although the matter was later settled amicably between Burna Boy and Mr 2Kay, it is a brilliant blemish on the singer’s record. It is hard to forget Burna Boy’s grouse with the organisers of Coachella where he blasted them for printing his name in small letters, claiming that his personality as a talented creative was too large for his name to be printed using such tiny fonts. I mean, he is the African Giant, afterall. Notwithstanding, it is imperative to note the Giant’s 2015 tweet where he threatened to “hospitalize” or “murk bloggers” that wrote unfavourable things about him. Hmm.


Recently, typical to the singer’s usual velitations, Burna has found himself in another assault implication. A Twitter user with the handle @theflowolf took to the social media platform to call out the singer’s security detail for allegedly attacking his two friends, going as far as shooting one in the leg and scraping the other in the head on June 8.

Flowolf flips out damning proof of this as he shares photos of the victims in the hospital. He explains that the three of them met the singer and his security at Club Cubana, but got into a “petty altercation because of woman”. Another person identified as Abiola testifies to the crime and posits that Burna Boy should not be able to “walk freely” for randomly pulling out a gun in a fist fight. According to Punch News, the Lagos State Police Commissioner’s Special Squad has detained the five policemen claimed to be responsible for this incident. It was further elaborated that Burna Boy made advances at someone’s wife, an act that annoyed the husband of the woman, leading to the whole squabble. However, things got super serious when one of Burna’s guards, Ibrahim, “brought out his service pistol and shot multiple times while Burna Boy was laughing.” The police have been unable to get wind of the singer as he zoomed off from Nigeria immediately after the tragic event.


Burna Boy’s contribution to pop culture and the globalisation of Afrobeats in recent times is laudable. He continues breaking borders with his sound and reconceptualising the image of African artists throughout the world. However, his tendentious identity wars with his notability and threatens to dilute his accomplishments. It is impossible to demand perfection from him, but making conscious effort to extricate himself from negative drama and bad PR would be considerably rewarding.

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