This should be a celebratory time for Beyoncé. Not only is she part of the new, box office-shattering remake of The Lion King, a role that made the singer one of the highest-paid actresses in 2019, but she also got a chance to flex her production talents on the soundtrack for the film.
But that’s the thing — fans are upset with the “Crazy In Love” crooner over the album. They’re not happy that she left certain artists off the project. And people are even suggesting that she copied some of the videos for the songs from somewhere else. Yikes.
Beyoncé reportedly “omitted” Kenyan artists
So, some people are upset that the album, The Gift, which is described as a “love letter” to Africa, didn’t include any Kenyan artists.
John Katana — the leader of the Chakacha Kenyan band, Them Mushrooms, who helped coin “Hakuna Matata” — told TMZ on July 24 that he and other Kenyan artists can’t get over how Bey allegedly snubbed their country.
They reportedly found the alleged omission “puzzling,” given that “a lot of the scenery, culture, and language used in ’94’s and 2019’s The Lion King appears to come straight from Kenya (or at least East Africa).”
Disney did choose a bunch of African artists for the project, though. The Gift features Nigerian pop star Burna Boy, South African stars Busiswa and Moonchild Sanelly, and Malian artist Oumou Sangaré. But Katana said that Disney didn’t bother to include any Kenyan creatives, big or small.
“No one called us. We read about it in the media, just like everyone else … We should have been on this album,” he told TMZ.
That’s not the only thing people are mad at
People are also criticizing two videos Beyoncé released for songs on the album, one called “Bigger” and the other, “Spirit.”
“The concept of the video is to show how God is the painter and natural beauty in nature needs no art direction,” the Lemonade singer said in an interview with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America. “It’s the beauty of color, the beauty of melanin, the beauty of tradition.”
But some have questioned whether she found inspiration from elsewhere. On July 22, an Instagram account named @Diet_Prada shared a post suggesting the visuals were inspired by South African singer Petite Noir. Noir is a South African singer who has more than 50,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, and over a million plays on YouTube.
“Does ANYONE have original ideas anymore?” one person wrote in the comments. “I’m a huge Beyoncé fan. But this is really, really similar,” commented another. “Disturbing. I had zero plans on seeing The Lion King but the visuals were stunning. Now to find out they are stolen….” someone else added.
However, some people defended the Ivy Park designer.
“It’s not copying. The damn album was a love letter to Africa. She did it to show love to our heritage,” one person wrote. Another added, “Unless she was the creative director for the video, I blame her team, not Bey!”
Oof. Beyoncé hasn’t addressed the criticism, at the time of writing. But you might not want to hold your breath for a response from the famously quiet star.