Perhaps you have heard of the name ‘Damini Ogulu’ at one time or another, without being able to tie it to a known personality. But unfailingly, you must have heard of the stage giant, Burna Boy. And his global fame as we speak is “Twice as Tall” as his true height of around 6 feet 2 inches!!!
Burna Boy was highly influenced by Afrobeats music inspired by the creator, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. Curiously enough, his maternal father Benson Idonije – a well-known ex-broadcaster and music critic, had once been Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s manager. Burna Boy has also made an impressive experiment out of Afro-fusion, his brand of music. Blending Afrobeats with elements of Dancehall, Pop, Reggae, R&B, and Nigerian street music became his exclusive art. He was even reputed to create his own music beats using the FL Studio software.
Who is Burna Boy?
Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu (aka Burna Boy) was born in Rivers state, southern Nigeria in July 1991. He is a highly vocal and talented singer, songwriter and music producer. Burna Boy did not just come well prepared into the music industry, he was also well educated. He is a graduate of Media Technology (University of Sussex, 2008 to 2009) and Media Communications and Culture (Oxford Brookes University, 2009 to 2010). His mother, a former French lecturer at the University of Education in Port-Harcourt and a multilingual translator, eventually became his manager. It is clear under no circumstances would such a mother allow her son to fail in his career. And the proofs are there for the whole world to see.
Burna Boy’s Achievements and Awards
Burna Boy has released six award-winning albums so far. Namely L.I.F.E (2013), On a Spaceship (2015), Outside (2018), African Giant (2019), Twice as Tall (2020) and Love, Damini (2022). Additionally, he has released 39 singles and 2 extended playlists. Some of his most popular singles include ‘Kilometre’, ‘Last Last’, ‘Ye’, ‘Gbona’, ‘On the Low’, ‘Destiny’, and ‘Anybody’ to mention a few.
And between 2013 and 2023, he has won no less than 58 national and international music awards. He won a Grammy award for Best Global Music album at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards (2021) for Twice As Tall – his 5th studio Album. He won three awards for Best International Act category at the renowned BET Awards – the only African artist to have ever done so. Burna Boy also won four awards at the Soundcity MVP Awards Festival of 2019. He is also a proud recipient of a national award of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic from the Nigerian government.
Burna Boy collaborated with many local and international music artists over the years. He worked with big names in the international music industry, the likes of Sam Smith, Justin Bieber, Master KG, Beyonce, Stomzy, Ed Sheeran, and many others. He is well traveled, having taken his musical tours to Jamaica, Britain, USA, Zimbabwe, and many other places. Burna Boy is currently signed up with Atlantic Records of USA; and he even owns his own record label, Spaceship Entertainment.
Burna Boy and His Fashion Style
‘Oluwa-Burna’ as he is sometimes jokingly called, is lucky to have a sibling – Ronami Ogulu – who is a creative director and stylist. His younger sister quite often would help dress up Burna Boy in an interesting ensemble for his shows. Much of the singer’s outfit and accessories are a mix of fashion pieces from local designers and international designer labels. As his sister claimed in a recent interview, Burna Boy is typically not in favour of fitted clothing, or getting measured.
A common feature of Burna Boy’s dressing is him appearing like a rockstar, or a hip-hop artiste. Feeling free all the way. Apparently he is inspired by the singer Prince – whose clothing and dress sense could be described as stylishly wild. With clear hints of rock star freedom and non-conformity. Nevertheless, Burna Boy prefers to be comfortable in his clothes. From Tabi boots to clothing and shoe labels by Onalaja, Prada, Marni, Louis Vuitton, Gucci. Trust him and his sister to test them out. And the cost is never a barrier, whether expensive or cheap.
Fashion Styles Inspired by Burna Boy
Burna Boy is obviously not afraid to experiment with his fashion style. In fact, Burna Boy has this carefree nature, combined with strong elements of boldness. That double nature not only makes him speak his mind boldly to anyone (whether you take offense or not). He also exhibits it in his dressing and habits.
Burna Boy, who once rocked block haircuts, is now well-known for his iconic dreadlocks. It is no surprise the dreadlocks and braids trend is now everywhere – something not particularly new in the African or Afro-American fashion world. One might say it is a legacy that became popular with long-gone and contemporary Reggae artists. Something about adopting protective hairstyles is the rave amongst the black community.
And so many black celebrities (especially in the music, arts and sports industries) unabashedly carry dreadlocks and braids. Burna Boy has long joined the gang, and is practically an ambassador of dreadlocks and protective hair styling, unannounced. At a time he tinted his dreadlocks, then discontinued with it. His music fans all over Nigeria and Africa need not be convinced (or even impressed). Because whether they like it or not, that is Damini for you. So many Nigerians – male and female, young and old – have caught the fever.
Quite often, Burna Boy does not hide his skin. Along with that came his choice of body art: tattoos. The singer has a great deal of tattoos all over his body. One should not be surprised either. Perhaps he picked the habit cheaply from so many fellow music artists who indulge in tattoos; and perhaps not. A fleeting look at the streets, and you would see a large number of youths boldly showing off their tattoos. These are interesting times.
Earrings and Nose Rings
Burna Boy has for long given himself a treat by wearing earrings – right from the days of rocking block haircuts. He even pierced his nose to add nose rings, although that is not too common with him. And on the streets? Trust music fans. Burna Boy and a host of male and female celebrities by the scores chose to adopt ear and nose piercings. So why can’t the commoner who can afford them? Everyone according to his or her tastes. Ear and nose rings are now popular with many youths – thanks to the likes of Burna Boy.
Expensive Necklace and Jewelry
Burna Boy obviously adores his expensive large necklaces, wristwatches and bold rings that could cost a hand and a leg. Customized gold and diamond jewelry that cost millions of Dollars are common in his collection, and he hardly dresses up without them.
You could see the rave for flashy jewelry (for ankles, wrists, neck, ears, hair) amongst a lot of youths in Nigeria and the black community in general. Again thanks to all the black celebrities that promote it – including Burna Boy. That does not necessarily mean the display of large, expensive jewelry is in good taste though.
One unbeatable trend with Burna Boy is his indulgence in tinted shades. In fact, Burna Boy was chosen by French designer Jean Paul Gaultier to promote a set of 90s-style designer sunglasses. They were even named ‘Burna Boy Sunglasses’, and they cost between 400 and 600 US Dollars per piece. That was sometime in June 2023. The singer also has a collection of geometric diamond shades designed by the trio of Austrian eyewear brand Martin Lasnik; Lori Rose; and 13&9 Design.
Let’s just say Burna Boy has succeeded in renewing the indulgence in tinted shades. He is not the only one though. The likes of Wizkid, KIzz Daniel, Davido, and countless other artists and celebrities have for long been addicted to designer sunglasses. Both men and women, local and international stars have their own collection. Now that’s a fashion trend not so bad to follow. Especially if the paparazzi, the Press and curious members of the public will not allow you to take an innocent afternoon stroll. Just block out the ‘goddamn blinding lights’, thank you.
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