Artist Spotlight: Nneka

AAHM NnekaFebruary is African American Heritage Month and WERS AT NIGHT is honoring one artist or one
song every day this month that helped contribute to social consciousness, political responsibility, or
civil rights. At WERS, we believe that these songs are always bigger than just entertainment; music
can be used to drive a movement or even motivate a nation.

Today we are honoring Nigerian singer/emcee Nneka.

Nneka reminds me of Lauryn Hill and I mean that in the best way possible. Being from Warri, Nigeria
Nneka has had a tumultuous upbringing but it has made her a better person for it. It has also made
her music relatable and inspirational. Warri, Nigeria is a town surrounded by oil pipelines so there is
a lot of corruption and politics slowing the progression of the region. When Nneka left Nigeria to go
to school in Germany, she not only found her voice but she lent her voice to the voiceless people in
Warri. She began to sing and leave her audiences in awe.

Nneka’s music could be described as folk but it could also be described as rock, rap, r&b, and
African music. Nneka uses the various melodies to sing about her upbringing in Nigeria, people
fighting for their basic rights, and people belonging to one nation. Nneka has the courage to speak
up about the political corruption and government chaos going on in Warri and how people can
overcome it. Her music is an outlet for her frustrations as much as it is for everyone else in Warri
dealing with these issues daily. The inspirational tone of her music instills faith and a sense of
perseverance for anybody that listens and can identify with it.

Nneka is being honored for her dedication to bringing awareness to issues in her home town of
Warri and other countries in Africa dealing with issues just like it. Her work and music are very
important to people opening their minds and paying attention to a very big problem in the continent
that is often forgotten about. Nneka told CNN, “I noticed that many people are
becoming more conscious of their surroundings and more conscious of investing their money in
proper institutions and infrastructure. So it’s like we’re getting there, but its taking time. It will take
generations to make the people of Nigeria also understand that it is not just the leaders alone that
have to take responsibility, but we ourselves.” I just hope this process continues to help the mind set
of people in towns like Warri all over the world.

By Malcolm Gray

If you liked this, check out:
Grandmaster Flash: “The Message”
Mariami Releases New Single

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