The United States government, in recognition of the burgeoning relationship with Nigeria in the creative industry, has targeted fostering cultural ties between both countries through the promotion of music, arts, film, cultural heritage, professional and educational exchanges.
Mary Beth Leonard, the United States ambassador to Nigeria, made the disclosure during a recent reception hosted by the U.S Mission Nigeria to honour the 15th Annual Headies Music Awards, which will be held for the first time in Atlanta, U.S, later this year.
Delivering remarks at the event, Leonard explained that the choice of Atlanta to host the Headies symbolises the growing relationship between the music industries in the United States and Nigeria and the growing popularity of Nigerian music in the North American country.
“This year’s Headies awards will highlight the growing U.S.-Nigeria ties and the vast potential of Nigerian musicians as cultural exporters to the African continent and beyond,” she said.
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The ambassador also noted that cultural exchange advances U.S.-Nigeria strategic partnership by forging lasting ties between American and Nigerian artists and shining a spotlight on the vibrant creative community in Nigeria and the U.S.
According to her, the U.S. government has long recognized the role of music in diplomacy, with its emphasis on free expression, improvisation, and democratic and collaborative teamwork.
Leonard emphasised that sharing music is one of the best ways to find common ground with people on an exchange programme, adding that the appeal of music is universal.
In his welcoming remarks, Brandon Hudspeth, the U.S. consul general noted that cultural and artistic exchanges are just one way the United States partners with the people and government of Nigeria.
Speaking on the partnership with Headies, Hudspeth explained that it is one of the methods of exploring innovative ways to foster valuable people-to-people connections between the two countries.
This year’s Headies Awards, he noted, will highlight the Nigerian music industry’s creativity and growing global reach.
On his part, Ayo Animashaun, executive producer of the Headies Music Awards,who confirmed that it’s the first year the Headies will be held outside of Nigeria, described Atlanta as home to many prominent hip-hop and R&B artists and their record labels.
“The Headies recognises outstanding achievements in the Nigerian music industry. Our goal is to continue to support the development of talent and nurture innovation in the music industry,” Animashaun added.