Over the past few years, more American pop and R&B stars have been collaborating with producers from Africa, especially South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana. Black Coffee has worked with several American musicians, and dozens of African producers have become in-demand collaborators. Perhaps most famously, Drake has worked with the Nigerian singer and producer Wizkid on several tracks, including Wizkid’s “Come Closer.”
Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 is the latest iteration of the organization’s concerts, which offer fans tickets in exchange for taking action to end extreme poverty by 2030.
In addition to Usher, this show, Global Citizen’s first in Africa, will feature Beyoncé, JAY-Z, Ed Sheeran, Eddie Vedder, Kacey Musgraves, Pharrell Williams and Chris Martin, plus African artists Cassper Nyovest, D’Banj, Femi Kuti and Wizkid, among others.
It’s being presented as part of Mandela 100, a series of events produced by the Nelson Mandela Foundation to mark the 100th anniversary of the late activist’s birth. The event is tied to the Next 100 Summit, and Oprah Winfrey will deliver a speech about women's rights at the main event.
“You see how artists can fulfill their duty to give back,” Usher says. “The celebrity aspect is a treat for their time, for people who are advocating for these goals.”
Usher first worked with Black Coffee when the latter remixed “Tell Me,” although they didn’t meet in person. “That was the beginning,” Usher says.
Next up? “We’re working on music for the future,” Usher says. “The song we worked on so far is incredible.”