Known for his songs “Dami Duro” and “Fall,” Davido has been one of Africa’s most prominent artists over the last decade and is the African artist with the highest number of followers on Instagram.
Ten minutes later, he had already raised $17,000 — and on Saturday he announced the full amount he received from fans and celebrity friends totaled over $485,000 and would be used for charitable purposes.
“In my usual playful manner, I requested a few days ago that my friends and colleagues send money in celebration of my birthday,” Davido wrote in a statement. “The response and outcome exceeded my expectations.”
The musician, whose real name is David Adeleke, will turn 29 on November 21. He said his aim was now “to do this fundraising every year to celebrate my birthday and give back to people in need.”
He said he would also make a personal donation of $120,000, or 50 million naira, and named a disbursement committee that will identify orphanages that need funding, and distribute the funds accordingly.
The appeal for donations initially confused fans, many of whom contributed — but there was also criticism from social media users who said it was inappropriate for a celebrity to raise money for himself, especially given the levels of poverty in Nigeria.
Davido posted regular fundraising updates throughout Wednesday and Thursday, and several of his celebrity friends also jumped on the bandwagon. Nigerian rapper M.I Abaga said he had sent 1 million naira and wrote, “I want my own hit song with Davido.”
“I’m actually crying,” the singer wrote after $163,000 had been deposited into his account. “I really love you guys man.”
Davido first suggested he “might give it all away” on Friday afternoon, and later that day he released the music video for his new single “Champion Sound,” featuring South African rapper Focalistic.