From Benin to the O2 Arena: Rema's Journey through Music

Written by: CoolAfrican Merch



Time to read 2 min

Written by Junior Achebe | Thursday 16 November 

In the heart of London's iconic O2 Arena, amidst the vibrant echoes of cheering fans, stood a figure symbolising not just the global reach of Afrobeats but the rich cultural tapestry of Benin - Rema. The young Nigerian superstar, born Divine Ikubor, has rapidly ascended the ranks of the music world, bringing with him a piece of his homeland, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria.


Photograph by AmzyObr

Benin, a city steeped in history, is renowned for its art, particularly the Benin Bronzes, which are now predominantly housed in the British Museum. These artefacts, a testament to the city's artistic heritage, were looted during the British expedition of 1897. Rema's rise to fame mirrors a journey of reclamation, echoing the calls for the return of these cultural treasures.

Rema's music, much like the storied walls of the Benin Kingdom, resonates with stories of resilience, passion, and innovation. His performance at the O2 Arena was a spectacle that intertwined the traditional beats of Afrobeats with modern twists, mirroring the fusion of the old and new in Benin's art. The show was a bold statement, showcasing his willingness to experiment and push boundaries, blending genres like trap and rock'n'roll with traditional Nigerian sounds.


Photograph by AmzyObr


As the 23-year-old artist ascended the stage, the audience was transported to a world that transcended geographical boundaries. His performance was not just a concert; it was a cultural dialogue. Songs like "Calm Down," which has shattered streaming records, were more than just melodies; they were bridges linking disparate worlds - from the ancient streets of Benin City to the bustling metropolis of London.

Reflecting on this profound connection, Rema took to Twitter after the show, expressing his sentiments in a powerful message: RAVAGE UPRISING/ My Ancestors' bronzes sit in the museum of this very city so I remade mine. Hence, Edo is redefined, the map reshaped, your minds awakened & the mask reborn. Thank you London! 🦇🇬🇧. 

This tweet encapsulates the essence of his performance – a reclamation and reinvention of his heritage, a nod to the historic Benin Bronzes that reside in the British Museum, the very city where he performed. It was a statement of cultural resurgence and a call for recognition.

Rema's journey from Benin to the global stage is emblematic of the resilience and creativity of the Nigerian youth. His music is a testament to the enduring spirit of a nation and its diaspora, constantly innovating and evolving while staying true to its roots.

Photograph by AmzyObr

As the night drew to a close, the fusion of cultures, the electrifying performance, and the symbolic significance of the event lingered in the air. Rema, a young artist from Benin, had not only performed at one of the world's most prestigious venues but had also brought a piece of his heritage to the forefront of the global music scene.

In conclusion, Rema's performance at the O2 Arena is a reminder of the power of music as a universal language, a tool for cultural expression, and a bridge connecting the past with the present. As we celebrate this musical journey, we also recognize the stories of resilience embedded in African history and art. The "Bruised Bronze" hoodie, available at CoolAfricanMerch, symbolises this narrative beautifully.



This unique pullover hoodie is not just a fashion statement but a powerful representation of Africa's resilience and the cultural significance of its artefacts. Wearing the "Bruised Bronze" hoodie is a way to honour the tumultuous yet inspiring journey of these artefacts and keep their stories alive in our hearts. Just as Rema's music bridges cultures and eras, this hoodie connects us to a rich history, reminding us of the strength and beauty that emerge from adversity.


You can watch the Live stream performance here :