What do you get when you combine music, luxury fashion, and the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic? Davido’s hit single, “Dolce & Gabbana.” The Afrobeats track was released at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in April last year, with proceeds from the music video to be donated towards coronavirus research. 

The song’s video quickly gained traction and is currently sitting at over 18 million YouTube views, all of which contribute to the cause. Speaking to CNN, the Nigerian artist explained that he realised how the pandemic had affected everyone’s lives and that he and his team felt that using his music to help with relief efforts was the best thing to do. 

“We were on tour at the time and we were doing this campaign with Dolce & Gabbana,” Davido explained, “When this whole virus broke out we heard that Dolce & Gabbana were doing funding for research for the vaccine.”

“So we brought up this great idea, we said you know what, let’s not be insensitive and just drop the video just because we spent money on it,” he said. “Why don’t we give all the proceeds to the cause as well? Because everybody’s affected. We just felt like it was the best thing to do... This is the first time that something like this has paused the whole world.” 

On Sept. 25 the artist will be joining Tiwa Savage, Femi Kuti, and Made Kuti from the Global Citizen Live stage in Lagos for a once-in-a-generation global broadcast event to defend the planet and defeat poverty. 

Global Citizen Live is a 24-hour broadcast with performances from some of the world’s biggest artists across seven continents. Through the campaign, we’re calling on world leaders, corporations, and philanthropists to step up and act on some of the world’s biggest issues such as climate change, vaccine equity, and famine. Global Citizens help us make this call as part of the campaign, by taking action with us on the Global Citizen app, or on the Global Citizen website

As well as the funds raised through “Dolce & Gabbana”, Davido also donated over $1 million to his home country, Nigeria, in an effort to help the country respond to the pandemic, as well as $600,000 worth of meals for those experiencing food insecurity. 

This isn’t the first time that Davido’s stepped up for others, particularly those from his own country. The Afrobeats star is known for sporadically assisting those in need by reaching out on social media to financially assist them, whether it’s paying for school fees or medical treatment, and Davido has on more than one occasion prioritised philanthropy on his platforms. 

In fact, one Twitter follower who received a donation from the artist to pay for his university fees recently announced that he’d graduated thanks to the artist’s contribution. 

Last year the streets of Nigeria were taken over by the country’s youth when protests calling for the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Service rocked the nation in a movement dubbed #EndSARS. The 27-year-old artist was one of those on the ground calling for change. Interestingly enough, a key soundtrack to the demonstrations was Davido’s “FEM”, which was released in September last year, with a title that loosely translates from Yoruba to mean “shut up.” 

“I didn’t see this coming, and then I dropped it, and then three weeks later, everybody [was] singing it, everybody in protest,” he said speaking to Apple Music’s Africa Now Radio. “I was really delighted to see that they were using my music as a voice, not being violent, just really enjoying it. It was really amazing to see. But I loved this.”

The artist further used his influence to set up a meeting with the country’s Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, in an effort to make sure that the voices of young Nigerians were being heard. 

He explained that his influence did not mean that he was the leader of the movement, and the artist was determined to shine the spotlight on the young leaders at the forefront of the protests. In arranging the meeting with Adamu, Davido said he wanted to make sure that he could contribute to necessary change. 

“I just see it like I have the opportunity to be able to get to him,” he told music publication NME. “I went there to convey the message of the people. I’m not here to act as a leader, I’m just like everyone else that wants a change.”

With music that drives movements and responds to the global pandemic, we can’t wait to watch Davido take the stage at Global Citizen Live. Find out more about the once-in-a-generation event, and see how you can take action with Davido to defeat poverty and defend the planet here

You can join the Global Citizen Live campaign to defeat poverty and defend the planet by taking action here, and become part of a movement powered by citizens around the world who are taking action together with governments, corporations, and philanthropists to make change.

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By Khanyi Mlaba