Nigerian singer Bez graces the new cover of “Applause Africa’s” latest issue. The Lagos-based soul man is also being honored as one of the “40 Under 40″ inspirational and accomplished Africans in the diaspora at

the magazine’s African Diaspora Awards taking place on December 8th in NYC (Click here for more info).

Other honorees include Singer Angelique Kidjo, CNN journo Lola Oguinnaike, social activist Saran Kaba Jones of FACEAfrica and model Liya Kebede. Bez took a moment to

talk to Afripop about being an honoree, his sense of responsibility to the continent, and what we can expect from his upcoming performance:

Firstly, congratulations on being honored by Applause Africa as one of 40 Under 40 Africans making moves. What does this honor mean to you?
Thank you very much. It is indeed an honor to be recognized as a young African making moves in my industry, in my own way and setting a huge example. I always strive to add value in whatever way I can, using my music as a vehicle and reaching everyone possible who cares to listen. To me, this means a lot of people have been listening, and that is a dream come true.

What were your initial thoughts when you found out you were being honored?
To be honest, I felt I hadn’t done enough yet,

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maybe in 5 years, or 10 years! But I remembered the story of the ant that diligently goes about its tasks excellently, thus affecting decomposition that helps plants grow and in turn, plants provide oxygen, food and existence for humans.

You’re also on the cover – your first in America.
Yes!

My very first cover in America! Think about how exciting that can be. You see when you have firsts, you have this exciting feeling
and everything seems surreal, but it’s happening. It’s also great that it is at the end of the year, sort of like saving the best for last.

What do you think is the responsibility, if any, of Africans movers and shakers like yourself to the continent?
I do think we have a great responsibility. I’m a member of the African Leadership Network, and as leaders in our various fields, we aim to take attention back to Africa, and build prosperity for the people and the continent. A lot of young people in the Diaspora are coming back home. They’ve seen many inspiring people working to educate, employ, rebuild and inspire younger ones to build a greater future for themselves, and that is our job, to inspire.

What can people expect of your performance at the awards ceremony?
The Bez experience! Haha! I live for the stage, and people can expect to know me more through my music and engaging performance. They would bezified when I’m done.

Check out Bez’ “Stupid Song” video which premiered on BET’s “106 and Park” earlier this year.

 

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