BET Amplified, ViacomCBS-owned BET’s stamp of approval highlighting “the next big thing in music,” is going global.
BET and BET International on Tuesday announced Zambia-born, Botswana-raised rapper Sampa The Great as the first-ever BET Amplified global artist.
The network brand said it was kicking off a month-long “effort to build awareness around Sampa to [its] core audiences globally and will highlight her work in a multitude of ways, including linear and digital programming across BET Jams, BET Her, BET Soul and BET International channels,” including in Africa, the U.K., France and South Korea.
“This marks the first BET Amplified artist for BET International [which] will continue to spotlight international artists each month with BET Amplified International,” the network said.
BET Amplified launched in the U.S. in January as a “multifaceted campaign that identifies and elevates stars on the rise.” Spearheaded by the BET music programming team under the leadership of Connie Orlando, the recently appointed executive vp of specials, music programming & music strategy, its goal is “to engage in specialized social and digital activations, giving artists full-frame promo spots across all BET channels and creating unique opportunities for them to engage with audiences across BET’s platform of over 90 million households around the world.”
Artists are selected based on such criteria as their “unique sound,” social media presence, and projected impact on the music and entertainment industry. “With the first BET Amplified” global artist, the BET team sought to identify a groundbreaking artist with transcontinental appeal and expand to reach audiences around the world,” the company said.
“We launched BET Amplified with the goal of highlighting emerging artists within the States, and we’re so grateful to see the program continuously expand since its inception, now reaching our network of channels around the world,” said Orlando. “BET has been a launching pad for emerging talent since the networks inception 40 years ago. With the rapid changes of the new digital age, I’m thrilled to usher in new ways to work collaboratively with artists and the music industry as we continue to build on that long-standing history and find new ways to continue to introduce new talent to our audiences.”
Sampa The Great, who is now based in Melbourne after studying audio engineering in the U.S. , blends hip-hop, soul, R&B and spoken word. Co-signed by Kendrick Lamar and Ms. Lauryn Hill, Sampa won the Australian Music Prize twice – in 2017 for her mixtape Birds And The BEE9, and in 2019 for her debut album The Return.
“I’m so excited to be the BET Amplified artist for September,” said Sampa. “Representing Zambia on the global stage, the best way I know how – through my music!”
“We’re thrilled to honor Sampa The Great, an outstanding talent, and celebrate her on a global level,” said Monde Twala, senior vp & general manager of ViacomCBS Networks Africa and BET International. “Identifying and elevating Black talent to a global audience is one of our highest priorities as a brand and it’s our duty to use our massive footprint to amplify emerging artists. In doing so, we’re not only shining a light on incredible artists, but also connecting music lovers to the culture across the world.”
BET Amplified previously put the spotlight on such artists as Pink Sweat$, Masego, Snoh Aalegra, Rema, Lonr. and Chika.
This article originally appeared in THR.com.