Burna Boy’s song “City Boys” from his album “I Told Them…” has garnered significant attention since its release on August 25, 2023. In an interview with Henrieviii of Kiss Fresh, Burna Boy explained why he used audio from J Hus’s Instagram story as the intro to the song.
J Hus, a British rapper and singer, often referred to himself as “Mr. Ugly” due to the societal view of black African men as not meeting traditional beauty standards. Burna Boy explained that J Hus was speaking for black African men who, at a certain time, were not considered aesthetically pleasing according to society’s beauty standards. These individuals faced marginalization from mainstream media and societal norms.
Burna Boy emphasized that there was a time when black African men weren’t celebrated and were subjected to derogatory labels. J Hus’s self-reference as “Mr. Ugly” reflects the negative stereotypes that were perpetuated during that period.
However, the global rise of Afrobeats, UK Drill, and other music genres has led to a shift in this narrative. Black-skinned men, as well as everyone around them, now recognize their true worth and beauty. The music industry has played a role in celebrating black artists for their unique styles and appearances, challenging the previous standards of beauty.