This weekend, Afro Nation made its debut in Detroit, one of the most historically significant music cities in the world. Hosted at Brewster-Douglass, the site of a former housing project that birthed icons Diana Ross and Smokey Robinson, tens of thousands of fans turned out to vibe to contemporary sounds, though the exuberant soulfulness on display couldn’t help but evoke the area’s rich history.
Nigerian superstar, Burna Boy headlined in rare form, playing new songs like “Sitting On Top Of The World” and leading sing-alongs of hits like “Ye” and “Last Last.” He capped off a lineup filled with international A-listers, showcasing the breadth of styles animating Black music today.
Looking as glamorous as ever, R&B star Ari Lennox wowed the audience with her heart-on-sleeve lyrics and flawless vocals. Latto and Detroit’s own Dej Loaf represented for American hip-hop, the former bringing her brash southern attitude, while the Detroit native Dej Loaf’s candy-coated melodies earned a rapturous reception from the hometown crowd.
As always at Afro Nation, African and global genres got their turn in the spotlight as well. Fans streamed into the grounds carrying flags representing their heritages, and artists of nearly as many nationalities took the stage. Crossover dancehall star Skillibeng tore up the main stage with his streetwise blend of the Jamaican sound. South African sound architect DJ Maphorisa, a major name in his country’s Amapiano scene, headlined the Piano People stage, providing a proper climax to the stage’s all-day dance party.
France’s Franglish, Nigeria’s Victony, Tanzania’s Diamond Platinumz, and many others made their presence felt as they proudly represented their musical traditions.
See more performance footages below courtesy Afro Nation.