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Burna Boy Takes Citi Field

Burna Boy comes late. In fact, the Afrobeats star is at the forefront, surprising his fans who know something else. By the time he appeared on stage at Citi Field in Queens to the cheers of thousands in a sold-out stadium, his smile beaming before the two-hour kickoff, he have been there for six hours.  At this time, he made two sound checks: the first immediately after his arrival, and the second to verify that he could be heard above the explosion and progress of the pyrotechnic exercise. A friend brought Burna on stage - in a golf cart filled with five other people - where they spent 10 minutes in total for each sample. That time is enough, Burna's nephew Shawn Ogulu assures me because Burna knows the process inside and out. Before his sold-out show (41,000 stadium seats) on July 8, he showed no sign of nervousness, smiling at the dozen friends he brought with him, some of whom could not get on board Burna's golf course and should navigate Citi Field in a variety of packed vehicles. Burna, as he is called by almost everyone in his orbit, spends time before his performances in a locker room in the basement of the stadium, many of his guards quickly closing the curtain that blocks the hallway every time someone enters their space. Burna camp - people, according to Matthew "Baus" Adesuyan, co-founder of the label Bad Habit and one of the collaborators of Burna, "make the body better and make Burna happiness" - including cousins, uncles, and, especially. , his younger sister Ronami Ogulu, who directs her brother's games and throws everything from Burna's clothes to the movements of teammates and backs. "The team here is new and there are a lot of moving parts, so I have to make sure all the T's are crossed and mine is dotted," he says, walking from the stage to the 'one room. house, which is said to be his office. 

Burna Boy: Love, Damini tour; Citi Field in Queens, NY Jul 08, 2023

Most days, he went to the stadium with many books and pens. When his phone rings and the person on the other end informs him that Burna should be ready to go on stage at 9:15 am instead of 9, he runs to the nearest scrolling dial., stuck to a nearby door, and made the changes. At 9:15 a.m., Burna was taken to the arena wearing a beautiful silver Robert Wun gown. Just before he appeared in front of the audience, he sat in his golf cart and listened intently as his mother (known as Mama Burna) shook his head and told him words when the uncle (who passes by Uncle T on the set) tries to protect them from being seen. Saturday's concert - the biggest in 32 years in the United States - is the first time a Nigerian artist will perform at a concert venue in the country. Last year, Burna made history by becoming the first Nigerian artist to headline Madison Square Garden, where a game can hold half the crowd at Citi Field. His promotion to MSG and Citi comes after years of steady work at smaller shows in New York. In 2017 he performed at the Times Square Palladium (which seats just over 2,000 people), in 2018 at the Gramercy Theater (under 500 people), and in 2019 at the Apollo Theater (about 1,500 people). Burna is famous by orders of magnitude around the world, whose sixth studio album, Love 2022, Damini, became the number one debut for an African album on the Billboard 200 and earned him a Grammy nomination. He usually sells out shows with huge stadiums overseas, but Burna's team sees his stardom in the United States as a novelty and therefore a bad thing. "America is different, it is difficult for me to enter the market," Adesuyan tells me. "We have to tell people, 'You're not just black Americans, you're from Africa.' which he spent at the carnival. In the center of the scene is a red and white carousel that shows on the cover of Love, Damini. A video clip in the film shows a young boy walking down a street fair. In the middle of the show, Burna stood on a platform surrounded by many cakes, told the crowd that he will be celebrating his birthday (July 2) throughout the month, and will continue singing "O Plenty".

Operation Burna Boy: Inside His Historic Citi Field Concert

Burna is kept in the background, keeping to himself when interacting with the staff, but in performance situations he moves from one part of the stage to another, running music, singing, throwing his jacket, banging bras, and turning. Before singing "For My Hand," Ed Sheeran wrote, he told the "women" in the audience that if they don't have a man, he's their man for the night. When he brings out Dave to sing their song "Location", the crowd goes wild. Finally, she changed her silver dress into a red one, then took it off and went shirtless for the rest of the night. In addition to the carnival movie, music for some songs like "Ye" and "Last, Last" appeared on the screen behind the actor, turning Citi Field into a mega church with Burna as pastor. A choir and dancers repeat his words on stage, highlighting words that are unknown to non-Yoruba and Igbo people. When he sings "Odogwu" - which means "conqueror" in the Igbo language - the dancers greet him in celebration. When Burna sings "Collateral Damage" - a song about inequality and police brutality in Nigeria - the dancers and singers raise their hands in the air. "Although not everyone can know exactly what they are talking about, they know that it is related to politics and that it is a vehicle for it," Deborah Adefioye, one of the musicians, told me about the movie. In the audience, people raise their hands. The Citi Field crowd showcases Burna's ability to mix, match and blend his music and culture. There are those who watch the agbada, bubas and sokoto, but there are also many Louis Vuitton, Loewe, Prada, Zara, Shein and vintage. In the elevator leading to the arena, Moroccan Americans speak French; A little later, Ghanaians spoke Twi; and the Guyanese defender says, in English, that his friends and family love Burna, even though he only knows "Last Last," the song he debuted at Madison Square Garden last year and which is a success. In Queens, he released another song, "Big 7", a tribute to his seven friends and family members - his closest inner circle. Burna tells the crowd, "New York is the best place to show why. As fireworks erupted in the stadium, he shouted, 'I love you, New York.' And the fans shout back, "We love you, Burna Boy."

Burna Boy and his mother Bose Ogulu

 “America’s different. It’s a tougher market to crack,” Adesuyan tells me. “We have to say to people, ‘You’re not just Black American, you’re from Africa.’” “New York is the best testing ground for this shit,” Burna says to the crowd. As fireworks explode above the stadium, he shouts, “I love you, New York City.” And the fans scream back, “We love you, Burna Boy.”