The United Kingdom is making it hard for African artists to enter and perform in the country.
At least 20 artists have been denied visas, according to The Voice.
African artists like Burna Boy, Tems, Wizkid, Davido, Asake and others have been making waves by topping charts and winning Grammys. The genre has expanded its reach so much that pop culture has tapped into African music, leading African performers to collaborate with international mega artists like Drake and Justin Bieber.
Since the fanbase is growing, more music festivals in countries worldwide have featured Afrobeat singers and rappers in addition to those created to focus on the genre’s talent, like the Afro Nation Music Festival.
There has been one country specifically making obtaining a work visa difficult for African artists to perform, meet and grow their relationships with fans: the UK. An investigation by The Voice revealed the Home Office government ministerial department had been racially discriminating against and taking money from African performers.
Christian Borquaye, a music manager of a few major African artists, shared that he’s witnessed firsthand how artists are being treated and knew nearly 20 artists the department denied visas granting them entry into the UK, which has put Britain as “the most difficult embassy to work with,” according to The Voice.
Ghanian singer Nii Funny, who had a Visa denied in 2021, told The Voice, “It is not fair for them to treat us that way because the UK is our former enslavers so if we are going there to play a show, I think they have to support us.”
“The criteria that they are giving the artists to come here is quite demanding. An artist who is trying to climb the ladder has to pay visa fees and there is no guarantee is going to get that visa,” Borquaye told the outlet. “We had a collaboration with an artist in the UK and there was a show that we really wanted to be on, but the process was like hell.”
The process stops UK fans from seeing their favorite Afrobeats artist and halts music videos from being made, partnerships from being formed and travel in general.
A Home Office spokesperson told The Voice:
“Musicians and performers are a valued and important part of UK culture with the country attracting world class entertainers and musicians from around the globe.
“This is why we offer a dedicated immigration route for creative workers.
“All visa applications are carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with the immigration rules.
“The application process is designed to ensure that all visa decisions can be made using the most accurate information and is fair for all applicants.”