Shortly after joining the billion streams club, Nigerian artist Rema won his first MTV Video Music Award (VMA) at the just concluded award show alongside Selena Gomez.

The collaboration “Calm Down” beat out Ayra Starr’s “Rush”, Burna Boy’s “It’s Plenty”, Davido feat Musa Key’s “Unavailable”, Libianca’s “People”, Wizkid feat Ayrra Starr’s “2 Sugar” and Fireboy DML’s “Bandana” for Best Afrobeats.

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Rema also becomes the first African artist to win the award as it is a new category unveiled for the 2023 ceremony. 

On Tuesday, Spotify announced that Rema had become the first African artist to garner a billion streams on his collaboration with Gomez, a feat he called “a blessing and a win for the culture.”

“It’s a blessing. It’s not just a big win for me, my team and family, it’s also a big one for the culture. I feel really happy and I’m really proud of the fans as well for going back to the song and putting people on the song. Shout out to the DJs and everyone who made this possible,” Rema said.

As such, the VMA win becomes the icing on the cake of an already great week for Rema.

Elsewhere at the VMAs, Taylor Swift led this year’s nominations with eight nods including Artist of the Year, Video of the Year and Song of the Year for her hit 2022 track “Anti-Hero” while Beyoncé, Doja, Karol G, Minaj and Shakira joined Swift as artist of the year nominees, marking the first time since the category was introduced in 2017 that all artist of the year nominees are women.

As promised earlier in August, Shakira took home the Video Vanguard Award becoming the first South American artist to receive the award named in honour of the late Michael Jackson.

To top the night off, Nicki Minaj debuted a verse from her upcoming album Pink Friday 2 set to be released on November 17th. The rapper also took home the award for Best Hip-Hop for “Super Freaky Girl” beating out Lil Wayne, Drake, Metro Booming, Dj Khaled and more.

See the full list of winners.

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