U.S. Ambassador Celebrates Growing U.S.-Nigeria Cultural Ties in Music and Arts

US Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard delivers remarks at the event

May 13 (THEWILL) — The U.S. government is committed to strengthening the burgeoning cultural ties between the United States and Nigeria through music, arts, film, cultural heritage, professional and educational exchanges.

L-R_ DBanj_ US Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard_ with Nike Art Gallery curator Nike Davies Okundaye at the Headies reception in Lagos

The US Mission to Nigeria hosted a reception Thursday in honor of the 15th annual Headies Music Awards, which will be held for the first time in Atlanta later this year.

Speaking at the event, Ambassador Leonard applauded the growing ties between the two countries in the creative industry.

She explained that the choice of Atlanta to host the Headies symbolizes the growing relationship between the music industries in the United States and Nigeria, and the growing popularity of Nigerian music in the United States.

“This year’s Headies Awards will highlight the growing ties between the United States and Nigeria and the vast potential of Nigerian musicians, as cultural exporters to the African continent and beyond,” the Ambassador said. Leonard.

Ambassador Leonard noted that cultural exchanges advance the strategic partnership between the United States and Nigeria by forging lasting bonds between American and Nigerian artists and highlighting the vibrant creative community of Nigeria and the United States. .

Headies Music Awards Executive Producer Ayo Animashaun delivers a speech at the event

“The U.S. government has long recognized the role of music in diplomacy, emphasizing freedom of expression, improvisation, democratic and collaborative teamwork. Sharing music is one of the best ways to find common ground with people on an exchange program. The appeal of music is truly universal,” added Ambassador Leonard.

In his welcoming remarks, the Acting Consul General of the United States, Brandon Hudspeth, noted that cultural and artistic exchanges are just one of the ways in which the United States partners with the people and government of Nigeria. .

“We continue to explore innovative ways to foster valuable people-to-people relationships between our two countries,” Hudspeth said.

“The US Mission is honored to partner with the Headies. This year’s Headies Awards will highlight the creativity and growing global reach of the Nigerian music industry.

Headies Music Awards executive producer Ayo Animashaun noted that this is the first year the Headies will be held outside of Nigeria. He described Atlanta as home to many top hip-hop and R&B artists and their record labels.

“The Headies recognizes outstanding achievements in the Nigerian music industry. Our goal is to continue to support talent development and foster innovation in the music industry,” Animashaun added.

The public affairs sections of the U.S. Mission in Abuja and Lagos support programs that connect American creatives with their Nigerian counterparts. Through these people-to-people relationships, the US mission hopes to foster a deeper relationship between the Nigerian people and the United States.

Alice P. Darby