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US Ambassador Celebrates Growing US-Nigeria Cultural Ties In Music, Arts   

U.S. Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard delivering remarks at the event

May 13, (THEWILL) – The US government is committed to strengthening the burgeoning US-Nigeria cultural ties through music, arts, film, cultural heritage, professional and educational exchanges.

L-R_ DBanj_ U.S. Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard_ with Curator of Nike Art Gallery, Nike Davies Okundaye, during the Headies Reception in Lagos

US Mission Nigeria hosted a reception on Thursday, to honour the 15th Annual Headies Music Awards, which will be held for the first time in Atlanta later this year.

Delivering remarks at the event, Ambassador Leonard, applauded the growing ties of the two countries in the creative industry.

She explained that the choice of Atlanta to host the Headies symbolises the growing relationship between the music industries in the United States and Nigeria, and the growing popularity of Nigerian music in the United States.

“This year’s Headies awards will highlight the growing US-Nigeria ties and the vast potential of Nigerian musicians, as cultural exporters to the African continent and beyond”, Ambassador Leonard said.

Ambassador Leonard noted that cultural exchange advances US-Nigeria strategic partnership by forging lasting ties between American and Nigerian artists and shining a spotlight on the vibrant creative community in Nigeria and the United States.

Executive Producer of the Headies Music Awards, Ayo Animashaun, delivering remarks the event

“The US government has long recognised the role of music in diplomacy, with its emphasis on free expression, improvisation, democratic and collaborative teamwork. Sharing music is one of the best ways to find common ground with people on an exchange program. The appeal of music is truly universal”, Ambassador Leonard added.

In his welcoming remarks, Acting US Consul General, Brandon Hudspeth, noted that cultural and artistic exchanges are just one way the United States partners with the people and government of Nigeria.

“We continue to explore innovative ways to foster valuable people-to-people connections between our two countries”, Hudspeth said.

“The US Mission is honoured to partner with the Headies. This year’s Headies Awards will highlight the Nigerian music industry’s creativity and growing global reach.”

Executive Producer of the Headies Music Awards, Ayo Animashaun, noted that it’s the first year the Headies will be held outside of Nigeria.  He described Atlanta as home to many prominent hip-hop and R&B artists and their record labels.

“The Headies recognises outstanding achievements in the Nigerian music industry. Our goal is to continue to support the development of talent and nurture innovation in the music industry”, Animashaun added.

The Public Affairs Sections of the US Mission in Abuja and Lagos, support programs that connect American creatives with their Nigerian counterparts. Through these people-to-people connections, the US Mission hopes to foster a deeper relationship between the people of Nigeria and the United States.