King of the Dancehall Beenie Man has been confirmed in the lineup for the Afro Nation Music Festival in Miami in May 2023, alongside Nigerian headliners Burna Boy and Wizkid.
The Girls Dem Sugar deejay, 50, hasn’t been to the United States for a performance since September 2015, according to checks made by DancehallMag.
In fact, the entertainer has been billed for several appearances in the country during 2022, including the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, the LETSGETFR.EE Carnival in Queens, NY, and the House Of Blues in Boston—but, he did not show up, or the events were postponed.
However, Afro Nation has assured fans that Beenie Man will be in the country for their festival. “He’s allowed into the US as of this year,” they wrote on Instagram on Monday, in response to a user who questioned whether he had a US Visa.
Beenie’s travel woes began in 2010 when he was among several Dancehall deejays whose US visas were revoked, the others being Bounty Killa, Sizzla, Aidonia, and Mavado. The US Embassy did not state the reason for the revocation back then but subsequently reissued Aidonia and Mavado with visas later.
In July 2011, the Jamaica Gleaner reported that Beenie’s visa was restored, which saw him returning to the US for performances, including the Groovin in The Park concert in New York, which also featured Jimmy Cliff, Beres Hammond, Konshens, Chronixx, and Sanchez. He then made an appearance at the BET Awards show in 2013, took the stage with Ashanti in New York in 2014, and performed at several other venues across the country until September 2015, according to online records. After that, it was back to square one.
In May 2020, there were calls for both Beenie Man and Bounty Killer to be given back their US visas, following the duo’s performance on the VERZUZ show. Back then Beenie had told The Star tabloid that he should not have lost his visa, and that there was a massive pent-up demand in the US for himself and Bounty Killer.
“We coulda go all 50 states and represent dancehall again. Me wah sold-out Madison Square Garden again, me wah go LA go lock it dung again, and me sure Bounty wah do the same,” Beenie Man had said at the time. “I shouldn’t have lost the visa in the first place. I don’t know what the reason was, but America is America … If dem decide say yuh cannot go, there’s nothing much you can do about it. If dem (US Embassy) feel it in mind that we deserve to get it back, me woulda appreciate it.”
In addition to having his visa sorted, it is also assumed that Beenie will be in better shape by the time Afro Nation comes around. The singer was given medical advice just last month(December) to take a leave so that his injured right ankle could heal properly.
This will be the first time Afro Nation heads to the US. The Afrobeats-focused music festival will take place at LoanDepot Park in Miami, Florida on May 27 and 28. In addition to Beenie, Burna Boy, and Wizkid, the lineup so far includes Rema and Asake, CKay, BNXN, Dadju, Black Sherif. Franglish, Nelson Freitas, Gyakie, and Nissi, among others.
According to a release, more performers will be added in the coming months. General tickets will go on sale starting January 13 via USA.AfroNation.com.