Globalization and ‘Africanization’ of Contemporary Pop Music: Implications for History and Theory

Okoli Al Chukwuma & Atelhe George Atelhe


 Globalization is the essence of the contemporary world order. As a dynamic evolutionary process, globalization identifies both with homogenization and hybridization of cultures.  The process of globalization has been associated with the paradoxes of globalism and localism: the global is getting rather localized while the local is becoming increasingly globalized. The impact of globalization on aspects of world’s civilizations has been tremendous. With reference to popular culture, the influence has been far-reaching. This influence has often been described as westernization in view of its western predilection.  But whilst contemporary popular culture has been overly reflecting the dynamic of western cultural homogenization, its pop music component tends to have been corresponding to an ‘Africanized hybridization’. This has been exemplified in some inter-related tendencies, viz: (i) African artists are currently dominating the pop music art worldwide (ii) African sound-scapes feature very prominently and predominantly in the music (iii) African ethno-musicological heritage find copious and profound expression in the prevailing genres. The study thus explores how globalization tends to be transforming contemporary pop music into a sort of an Africanized pattern. Relying on a discursive descriptive analysis, the study problematizes this ‘Africanization’ tendency, drawing its implications for the history, theory, and praxis of cultural globalization. Capitalizing on the global exploits of Afro-pop, Reggae/Ragga and Hip-hop/Rap, the paper posits that the influence of globalization on contemporary African popular music is promising; adumbrating a prospect of an African cultural renaissance in the era.

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