Written by: Keyshawn Bellamy
On October 7, 2023, South African DJ Black Coffee became the first African artist to headline Madison Square Garden and sell out the iconic venue. This historic achievement is a testament to Black Coffee’s talent, hard work, and dedication to his craft.
Achieving this remarkable feat at the vibrant age of forty-six, Nkosinathi Innocent Maphumulo, better known as Black Coffee, dedicates much of his time to the rigorous, both physical and mental, demands of being a constantly touring music artist—this year being especially demanding. In a Zoom chat with Laura Schreffler of Haute Living, he admitted, “I’ve been suffering, but I’m feeling a little bit better… This is how 2023 is starting. Basically, it’s telling me to take better care of myself. But so far, it’s been amazing.”
With production credits on prominent artists’ work such as Drake and David Guetta, Black Coffee has cemented himself as a pioneer for cultural connection in music, blending his South African roots with global music styles in his work.
The South African artist makes it pretty transparent that what he does isn’t solely for himself and his passions but to invigorate those same exact passions into the past, present, and future of this ever-changing music industry and to put his homeland on the map. Black Coffee has gone on to state for the record “I had a dream of winning a Grammy, but that dream was very specific, because most people — in fact, everyone from my country who has won a Grammy — has won in the African category. Meaning, they were put up against other African artists, and that’s something I deal with every day. I was never really on the radar of other mainstream people in my line of work… But because I’m from Africa, I won’t be put up against my peers; I’ll be put up against other African people, which doesn’t translate the value of who I truly am. And so when I started putting out albums, I was very aware of how I wanted to compete with my peers ― those I look up to and who inspire me. I knew I didn’t deserve to be labeled in the world music category; I wanted to compete in the mainstream.”
During the night of one of his crowning achievements, Black Coffee was performing alongside the amapiano known as Major League DJz with several celebrity guests enjoying and documenting a hit night of Black Coffee’s life as they filled in the spaces at the venue.
With fellow artists hailing from the same continent, such as Burna Boy, Libianca, Wizkid, etc. having sent out vibrations across the globe and helping to make a way for those of Africa to continue doing the same and shed light on an array of cultures and lifestyles, Black Coffee goes on to raise the standard and reinvigorate the old saying “Hard work pays off”.