The United States government says it is committed to strengthening its burgeoning cultural ties with Nigeria through music, arts, film, cultural heritage, and professional and educational exchanges.
This is as U.S. Mission Nigeria hosted a reception on Thursday to honor the 15th Annual Headies Music Awards, which will be held for the first time in Atlanta later this year.
Delivering remarks at the event, Ambassador Leonard applauded the growing ties of 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 U.S.-Nigeria ties and the vast potential of Nigerian musicians as cultural exporters to the African continent and beyond,” Ambassador Leonard said.
Ambassador Leonard 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 United States.
“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. 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,” Ambassador Leonard added.
In his welcoming remarks, Acting U.S. Consul General Brandon Hudspeth noted that cultural and artistic exchanges are just one way the United States partners with the people and government of Nigeria.
“We continue to explore innovative ways to foster valuable people-to-people connections between our two countries,” Hudspeth said. “The U.S. Mission is honored to partner with the Headies. This year’s Headies Awards will highlight the Nigerian music industry’s creativity and growing global reach.”
Executive Producer of the Headies Music Awards, Ayo Animashaun, noted that it’s the first year the Headies will be held outside of Nigeria. He described Atlanta as home to many prominent 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 the development of talent and nurture 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 connections, the U.S. Mission hopes to foster a deeper relationship between the people of Nigeria and the United States