Big Wins For Africa At The 2024 BET Awards

Authored by

It was a massive night for South Africa and Africa at large, as South African acts Tyla and Makhadzi won “Best International Act” and “Best International Artist” respectively at the 2024 BET Awards. Tyla also won a second award for “Best New Artist”, cementing herself in history as the first non-American to win in that category. Makhadzi was nominated alongside fellow African artists, Seyi Vibez (Nigeria) and Tyler ICU (South Africa) for her respective category.

The BET Awards ceremony, which took place on Sunday, 30 June in Los Angeles California, honours and celebrates the achievements of black artists in the categories of music, television, film and sport. This year, American actress Taraji P Henson took on the mantle of host, with Canadian rapper Drake having earned the most numbers of nominations (7). He was followed by Nicki Minaj (6), while R&B artists SZA, Victoria Monèt, Beyoncé and rappers J Cole and Sexyy Red all earned five nominations each. Tyla earned four nominations alongside Usher, Doja Cat and Megan Thee Stallion. Notably, this year, Usher was also honoured with the “Lifetime Achievement Award”. The list of performers on the night included Megan Thee Stallion, Victoria Monèt, Kaytranada, Will Smith, GloRilla, Tyla, Ms Lauryn Hill, her son YG Marley and Wyclef Jean

Makhadzi (born Ndivhudzannyi Ralivhona) is a South African singer from Ha-Mashamba, Limpopo. At the age of 13, she started her career by performing at taxi ranks, earning money from people’s gratitude offerings. She then joined a musical group called Makhirikhiri as a dancer. She began working on her music career after she left dancing and in 2009, 2011 and 2012, she released three albums titled ‘Muvhango, ‘Ndo Tshinya Ni? and ‘Litshani u Ntsala Murahu. She released her fourth album ‘Rita Dee in 2014, gaining the attention of Rita Dee Entertainment in 2015 and signed a record deal with them after the release of her fifth album ‘Muhwalo Uya Ndemela

Makhadzi released another album titled ‘Yo Shoma in 2017 where she received two Fame South Africa awards for “Best Female Artist” and “Tshivenda Best”. Her studio album ‘Matorokisi’ was released in 2019 and it peaked at number two on local iTunes/Apple Music South Africa charts. 

She has since collaborated with fellow South African artists such as ‘Jerusalema hitmaker producer Master KG, singer and rapper Sho Madjozi, musician and dancer Moonchild Sanelly and Amapiano DJ and pioneer Kabza De Small. She separated from her record label and established her own label, Makhadzi Entertainment and began working on her sixth studio album, ‘Mbofholowo’ which was released on 1 September 2023. The album garnered one million streams in its first 48 hours and was certified platinum in South Africa. 

She was announced as Spotify’s Equal Ambassador later that month. Makhadzi’s achievements include two South African Music Awards, one  Metro FM music award and one Basadi in Music award. Internationally, she holds a Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award and now she has her first BET Award. 

Tyla (born Tyla Laura Seethal) is a South African singer/songwriter from Johannesburg, South Africa. Her passion for music started when she started posting original songs and covers on her Instagram and thereafter sending those videos out to multiple industry figures. She was discovered by Garth von Glehn, who organised recording sessions for her. In 2019 after finishing high school, she released her debut single titled ‘Getting Latefeaturing producer Kooldrink, achieving national attention and success in South Africa. She garnered seven million views on YouTube following the release of the music video and received a South African Music Award nomination for “Best Music Video of the Year” in 2022. 

At the time of her debut single’s success, she was studying towards a degree in mining engineering but she managed to convince her parents to take a year off school to pursue her music career. She was then signed to American record label Epic Records and released two singles, ‘Overdue’ and ‘To Last’. In 2023, Tyla released ‘Been Thinkingand it became her first Billboard charting single, entering the charts at number 36 on the Mainstream R&B/Hip Hop AirPlay charts. 

She made her first public appearance at the Dolce & Gabbana after party for Milan Fashion Week. She then joined American singer Chris Brown for his “Under The Influence Tour” as an opening act. She released another single titled ‘Girl Next Door’ featuring Nigerian singer Ayra Starr and released her biggest single to date ‘Water’ in July 2023 as the lead single of her self titled debut album. The song gained popularity on the video sharing platform TikTok via a dance challenge and instantly became a hit in several countries worldwide. Water also made Tyla the youngest South African artist and first South African solo artist in 55 years to enter the Billboard US Hot 100 Charts after South African jazz artist  Hugh Masekela’s entry into the charts in 1968. 

Tyla went on to perform the hit single on the Swedish talk show ‘The Bianca Show and the American late night show, ‘The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. The music video was released on 6 October 2023 and amassed 3 million views on YouTube in 72 hours. Tyla announced the release date of her debut album set for March 2024 and simultaneously released three singles titled ‘Truth or Dare’, ‘On and On’ and’ Butterflies’ following her announcement. Her debut album included features from Nigerian singer Tems, American rappers Gunna and Travis Scott, American singer Becky G and South African amapiano DJ Kelvin Momo. She has also collaborated with South African amapiano artists such as Daliwonga, Young Stunna and Major League DJz

She received her first international award at the 66th Annual Grammy Music Awards in February 2024 for the inaugural “Best African Music Performance” for her performance on Water. With this, she made history as the first recipient of the award and the youngest African artist to win a Grammy. Her additional international awards now include two BET Awards and an electrifying performance of her hit single ‘Jumpfeaturing American rapper Gunna and Jamaican dancehall artist Skillibeng on one of the biggest award shows in the USA. In her home country, she holds the most nominations for the 18th Metro Music Awards with six nominations. 

Both Makhadzi and Tyla have shown great representation for their country and continent by raising the bar even higher for African music at large. Representation at international award ceremonies is imperative for the growth of Africa and showcasing to the world the talents that Africa has to bring to the world stage. As global recognition for African artists grows, seeing these musicians being celebrated and appreciated internationally for their artistry, should instill nothing but pride for all Africans, no matter where they may be in the world.