In the kaleidoscope of stars that the VMAs gathers annually, it’s always a heartwarming sight to witness genuine moments of appreciation, pride, and camaraderie. And this year, at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards, that moment came when Selena Gomez and Rema were declared the winners for the Best Afrobeats category. Their chart-topping number, “Calm Down,” not only entranced audiences globally but also bagged this prestigious award, highlighting the blend of talent and culture the duo represents.
The Intense Race to the Top in VMAs
The VMAs, as is customary, hosted a myriad of talented artists vying for the coveted moon man trophies in various categories. In this grand spectacle of musical prowess, the Best Afrobeats category saw fierce competition. Achieving this high honor signifies not just recognition at an international platform but also resonates with the ever-growing influence of Afrobeats in the global music scene. It’s the affirmation of a genre’s rise and the artists who champion it.
An Outpouring of Gratitude
When Selena Gomez and Rema were announced as winners, the audience was met with two profoundly grateful artists. Their heartfelt speeches post the win reverberated with sincerity. Gomez, known for her evocative voice and powerful performances, alongside Rema, the Afrobeats sensation from Nigeria, truly exemplified cross-cultural collaboration at its finest. They were effusive in their gratitude, acknowledging everyone who played a part in the creation and success of “Calm Down.”
Taylor Swift: The Unwavering Pillar of Support
Yet, amidst the clapping and congratulatory cheers, one figure in the room stood out — Taylor Swift. Swift, a longtime friend and confidante of Selena Gomez, couldn’t contain her excitement. With a beaming smile and eyes filled with pride, Swift was spotted standing and cheering for the victorious duo. The cameras didn’t miss the moment she mouthed, “I love you” to Selena, a testament to their enduring friendship and mutual support in an industry known for its vicissitudes.
Diving Deeper into “Calm Down”
What makes this win even more captivating is the backstory behind the song. Before achieving this monumental accolade at the VMAs, Rema shed some light on the inspiration behind “Calm Down.” In a candid interview with Pitchfork in February 2022, he reminisced about a particular party where the inception of the song took place. He recalls a girl who, with her unique charm and grace, stood apart from the crowd.
Intrigued and drawn towards her, Rema decided to approach her. Their interactions were brief, filled with dances and laughter, but Rema faced a slight hurdle — her friends. Their protective stance acted as a barrier, but as destiny would have it, the duo later reconnected in the absence of the protective brigade. The blossoming of their relationship served as the muse for “Calm Down.”
The 2023 MTV Video Music Awards were more than just an award ceremony. They were a celebration of diverse musical genres, groundbreaking artists, and the magic they create. Selena Gomez and Rema’s win for “Calm Down” wasn’t just a testament to their incredible talent but also a nod to the global impact of Afrobeats. And as the music industry continues to evolve, blending borders and genres, it’s artists like these who pave the way for a more interconnected and harmonious musical world.