Interviews

How Afro-Dance is making Afrobeats popular

In the last few years, afrobeats  has increased in POPULARITY and Afro-beats is the catalyst

Afrobeats Choreographer Yoofi Greene with dancers in China

 

Many international radio stations and programmes are jumping onto the sound that has moved many Africans for years. One of the main couriers of this sound has been dance. With music created to move, afrobeats dancers have harnessed their creativity and the internet, to create unique dances and shared it across the world.

One of such dancers is Yoofi Greene, a Ghanaian dancer who relocated to China in 2014. Within the time he has spent there, he has groomed his art and become one of the few amazing Afrobeats dancers in China, teaching classes and owning stages.

In Guiltybeats most recent song, Pilolo, featuring global afrobeats star Mr Eazi and rising musician Kwesi Arthur, they tell the story of how dance has helped extend the reach of Afrobeats across the globe. The video features various Afrobeats dancers in Ghana, Nigeria, China and more; including Yoofi.

 

We beat the raging 8-hour time difference between Ghana and China, to catch up with Yoofi GREENE on the rise of Afrobeats and the part afro-dance has to play in it.

Do you think Africa to the World agenda through music can survive without dance?

In my opinion, I think the whole Africa to the World agenda started through dance, specifically African dance – Afrobeats dance. I feel it cannot survive well enough without the dance aspect of the culture, because it is through the afro-dance that different countries and cultures learn more about Africa as a whole, and not just to see Africans as what the media portrays us to be – poor, lazy, dirty. I feel like afro-dance has brought a lot of good outlook to the continent.

Yoofi Greene

 

Living in China as a dancer and choreographer, especially in Afrobeats, have you seen growth in the reception of the genre over the years?

Yes I have! I have seen massive growth in the reception of Afrobeats here by the locals. I have been here for almost 5 years. 5 years ago, there was no Afrobeats music here. No where playing Afrobeats – no clubs, no bars – nowhere. After I introduced and started teaching the afrobeat music and dance, teaching the culture here China, there has been massive growth in the reception by the locals. Now, they play African music in clubs, add it to their playlists, African music in bars… There are African parties, and there is an African club that looks for African DJs, giving opportunities to people to become DJs. It has really benefited us as Africans here in China.

What do you think is the reason for the growth / popularity?

I think the reason for its popularity/ growth is the difference from other music genres like Hip–hop and R&B etc. Afrobeats has a really catchy beat, really catchy sound that even a mere person who listens to it for the first time enjoys it. The beats are really fast which other genres typically don’t have. Basically, the wealth of the sound of Afrobeats.

Can music help sell a positive projection of Africa?

Oh of course! Yes it can! Music is a really powerful tool in the 21st century, everybody listens to music no matter how old. People from the ages of 7 or 10 and upwards… everybody listens to music. African genre of music is really a different genre compared to other types of music.

 

Do you think African music has contributed to the popularity of the continent, especially travel?

Yes I think it has contributed a lot…… a lot to the popularity of the continent, because trust me, a few years ago, without Afro dance, without African music, without Afrobeats…people would still view Africa in a certain way.

I think it is the whole dance, it’s not even just African music. African music has been around for a while – Davido , 2 Face Idibia, all these people were there, but when Afro-dance started, things changed. Afro-dance started being a hit about 5 years ago and since then it has brought a lot of popularity. I can proudly say that on social media, Afro-dance is the most popular dance on social media right now. Everybody wants to learn, everyone wants to watch and I think it has the most viewed posts because it has catchy beats, the steps are new, and it is a whole new different dance that everyone wants to learn. It has brought a lot of foreigners to Ghana, Nigeria, and other parts of Africa to learn the dance.

I think strongly, and know for a fact that, African music and African dance has contributed to the popularity of the continent especially for travel. It has brought a lot of foreigners and will continue to bring foreigners in the future.

 

As Afrobeats grows, afro-dance can not be sidelined. The tow go hand in hand, and true global domination can be achieved when the two factions operate seamlessly with each other.

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