Beyoncé's ‘Black Is King’ criticised by Noname amid cultural appropriation claims

5 August 2020, 11:50 | Updated: 5 August 2020, 12:42

Beyoncé's 'Black Is King' criticised for it's use of African culture by rapper Noname
Beyoncé's 'Black Is King' criticised for it's use of African culture by rapper Noname. Picture: Getty

Rapstress Noname has been vocal amongst many who have criticised Beyoncé's Disney film 'Black Is King', for it's use of African culture.

By Tiana Williams

Rapper Noname has seemingly addressed the popular controversy over Beyoncé's portrayal of African culture in her new visual album Black Is King.

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The 28-year-old rapstress took to Twitter and has appeared to criticise Beyoncé's choice to 'capitalise' on the heavily African-inspired film, which was released on Disney+ on Friday.

Beyoncé's film Black Is King draws from Afro-centric culture in it's messaging, clothing, music, imagery, choreography and overall aesthetic.

The film has widely been celebrated for positively representing Africa and putting the continents bold and rich culture at the forefront of mainstream popular culture.

Rapper Noname criticises Beyoncé's controversial film 'Black Is King'
Rapper Noname criticises Beyoncé's controversial film 'Black Is King'. Picture: Instagram

The film pays tribute to iconic black figures within the entertainment industry, such as supermodel Naomi Campbell, Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o, and singer Kelly Rowland.

Bey's husband Jay Z and daughter Blue Ivy also feature in the film.

Although the film has been praised for many positive ways it reflects blackness and African culture, it has also been criticised for capitalising off of African culture without truly paying her respects and giving back.

Rapstress Noname has mad it clear she does not totally agree with Beyonce's decision to utilise African culture in the way that she has.

Noname tweeted: "we love an african aesthetic draped in capitalism. hope we remember the blk folks on the continent whose daily lives are impacted by u.s imperialism."

She continued "if we can uplift the imagery i hope we can uplift those who will never be able to access it. black liberation is a global struggle".

The "Self" artist then went on to retweet a Twitter user who replied to her tweet.

A fan on Twitter wrote "sis, they're killing us in Zimbabwe. literally. the world is turning a blind eye to the blatant human rights abuses we're facing every single day. our black lives clearly don't matter".

Noname then replied: "they matter to me".

Noname responds to a fans comment on Twitter
Noname responds to a fans comment on Twitter. Picture: Twitter

She also posted an Essence feature, written by Burundian writer Judicaelle Irakoze titled "Why We Must Be Careful When Watching Beyoncé’s ‘Black Is King’".

A point in the article reads: "There is a real danger in romanticizing pre-colonial Africa. The glorification of kingdoms before white men met us erases the reality that Africa wasn't exactly a paradise."

The journalistic piece continues "African kingdoms were rife with slavery, imperialism, women’s oppression and class oppression. Not everyone was a king or even a queen."

The article also refers to Beyonce as a "powerful transcending artist" with a "right to tap into her Africanness", yet holds the star accountable for "willingly, through her art, participates in telling romanticized African royalty stories, rooted in glamorizing Africa, she indirectly dehumanizes our Africanness".

See fans reactions to Noname's criticism below,

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