Opinions & Features August 12, 2022 at 06:12 pm

From The Lion King to Renaissance, Beyoncé features African acts back-to-back on projects and we love it

Emmanuel Kwarteng August 12, 2022 at 06:12 pm

August 12, 2022 at 06:12 pm | Opinions & Features

The vinyl cover art for Renaissance. Parkwood Entertainment

I believe that when Black people tell our own stories, we can shift the axis of the world and tell our REAL history of generational wealth and richness of soul that are not told in our history books,” Beyoncé said in “The Lion King: The Gift” album visuals. 

Born Beyoncé Giselle Knowles, Beyoncé has demonstrated a strong belief in the rising African continent’s vast creatives in the continent’s entertainment space. 

The U.S.-based act who has won many awards and a record six studio albums released her seventh album Renaissance giving prominence to African acts back-to-back. Beyoncé’s The Lion King’s album visuals, Black is King, is a celebration of African customs with a contemporary touch. 

She uses a Pan-African viewpoint and blends aspects from several African nations in the visual album. In order to emphasize the diversity of the continent, she collaborates with numerous African musicians, actors, directors, designers, and choreographers. This is particularly significant because she projects these African acts to the international market.

African influences are shown to viewers in the form of popular dance forms like the Network (Ghana) and Kpakujemu (Nigeria) as well as music genres like Afrobeats (Nigeria) and Gqom (South Africa). Additionally, there are pictures of several regions of the continent, in the Black is King. 

Several African artists like Shatta Wale (Ghana), WizKid (Nigeria), Mr. Eazi (Nigeria), Yemi Alade (Nigeria), Tiwa Savage (Nigeria), as well as Busiswa Gqulu (South Africa) made appearances on Black is King visual curated for the Lion King album. It won Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding Costumes for a Variety, Nonfiction, or Reality Program and the ADG Excellence in Production Design Awards- Variety Special Overview.

Renaissance Album

Beyoncé has included African artists on Renaissance, although less prominently than on The Lion King. This is especially true of the song “Move”, which has an Afrobeats-inspired sound and features Tems as a composer and performer in addition to producers P2J (Nigeria) and GuiltyBeatz (Ghana). GuiltyBeatz also produced three songs for “The Lion King: The Gift” project.

Renaissance contains a renewal-related element once more from Beyoncé. She leads listeners on a trip through the 16 songs on the album with the aim of establishing a safe zone free from criticism, perfectionism, and overthinking. The 1970s Studio 54 disco era is referenced in the music, which seamlessly transitions to more modern pop, R&B, and house genres.

Beyoncé revived this genre and made many new listeners familiar with it on her album, Renaissance, which is well named. Break My Soul, the album’s debut song, introduces listeners to the dance-pop and house influences that permeate the entire album. Beyoncé masterfully combines diverse disco elements with music genres including pop, electronic house, Afrobeats, trap, and soul, to mention a few.

The Global Impact 

It is clear that Beyoncé plays a significant influence in shaping certain strands of popular socio-cultural thought when taking into account how popular music functions as a hub for social change within popular culture.

Her music has questioned and revitalized numerous narratives in the mainstream music industry over the course of her career.

Her work gives African musicians a voice on the international scale and challenges negative stereotypes about Black female musicians by utilizing a variety of musical styles. Her most recent CD carries on this tradition by bringing fresh ears to a disco revival with a modern twist.

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