The Nigerian music industry has experienced significant growth in recent years, leading to the recognition and appreciation of the country’s diverse cultures. One word that has become a symbol of this cultural revolution is “odogwu.” Originally an Igbo word that means “great man” or “champion,” it’s a term that many of us in the diaspora heard only from our older relatives. Now, it has taken on a new life as a title used in music and popular culture, embraced not just by other non-Igbo Nigerians, but also by other Africans and even the diaspora who used to shy away from their African heritage.
What’s Driving this Phenomenon?
The rise of “odogwu” and other Nigerian terms is driven by the growing influence of Afrobeats on the global music scene. Improved access to equipment, more exposure, and the ability to experiment with different sounds have led to a notable increase in Nigerian music quality, particularly in mixing and audio engineering. Social media platforms like TikTok have also helped terms like “soft life” and “nyash” become ubiquitous, so much so some argue that they’ve been co-opted.
The Nigerian Diaspora in London
The massive African diaspora in London is also helping to promote African cultures. The Nigerian diaspora in London is the largest and one of the most impactful groups in the UK’s Black African population, and their appreciation for Nigerian artists is translating into a worldwide phenomenon. Nigerian musician Wizkid, for example, can sell out the O2 Arena, a 20,000-seat venue for three concerts in the UK, attracting not just Nigerians but people from all over the African diaspora and more.
The Impact on the Diaspora and on the Continent
This exchange of music and talent, fueled by the prospects of financial gain, has created a thriving ecosystem of opportunities for Africans living in their homelands and those in the diaspora. The resounding influence of Nigerian music has a profound impact on the diaspora, with younger generations embracing their cultural identity with pride.
Strength in Numbers and Language Learning
The strength in numbers allows for a sense of community and acceptance that was not always present for previous generations. This is giving Nigerians everywhere much more confidence to speak their native languages. As a result, we’re seeing a growing interest in the learning of Nigerian languages in the diaspora.
At Okwu ID, we understand that this cultural revolution is something to be celebrated and embraced as Nigerian culture continues to spread globally, benefiting us all in different ways. As more and more people embrace Nigerian music and culture, we can expect to see continued growth and recognition of the diverse cultures of the continent.
To learn more about Igbo Culture, click here.
What does odogwu mean?
Odogwu is a title given to a leader, brave and strongman in the Igbo region of Nigeria. Below are examples of how it’s being used in music:
Burna Boy – Odogwu
Eltee Skhillz feat. Rayvanny – ODG Remix
Lex Amor – Odogwu