Africa, Beyonce, Feminisim -

Who Run The World?

Sorry to disappoint but girls don't really run the world and I'm not moved by the pseudo-militancy of that whole single ladies/independent woman movement as championed by Mrs Jay-Z…or is it Mrs Carter? perhaps Sasha Fierce or Yonce?…whatever!

OK, I've got a strong feeling I probably sound like I've had a whole bowser of hatorade right now so I'm gonna stop - cos I actually have something positive to say about Destiny's Child's leading lady.

The news is that Beyonce has just released her 5th studio album. Now that in itself is not necessarily remarkable, until one considers that she has broken with convention and done so without any prior announcement. No major label backed promo splurge, no 'beefs' - real or imagined, no sex tapes, deliberate leaks or the usual silly bull manure scandals that some artistes invent in attempts to draw attention to an imminent album/video release (take note Miley Cyrus!). According to reports, the release was totally unexpected and for someone who usually loves to hog the limelight, I must say I find it quite impressive and dare I say, even modest of her. It must be noted though that she's not the first musician to do this - I would tell you who else has done it before but you're probably not familiar with them anyway, so..... Oh hang on, is this is just another unoriginal wily stunt then? Eerrmm..nah!, I'm sure it's just the hatorade in me talking, let's carry on..

So the album release was fascinating for the aforementioned reasons albeit not enough for me to actually check out the music - that's until I learned that in her song Flawless, she sampled a speech by one of my favourite authors, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie entitled We Should All Be Feminists. I hold Adichie in high regard for reasons that include the fact that she is pretty, super smart, articulate and of course African by way of Nigeria. | never quite understand feminism but that's besides the point, someone of Beyonce's stature could have easily quoted a million other people from elsewhere but I applaud her for recognising and accommodating a strong and beautiful African voice in her craft. (Here's hoping the samples were cleared - if not she can afford any lawsuits anyway so…don't matter!)

Normally, the cynic in me would have dismissed this as just another gimmick were it not for the fact that I'm aware Beyonce has done this before, that is, incorporate African talent in her creative expressions. For her Run The World video, she flew members of her team to a remote part of Mozambique to locate and persuade some unassuming African fellas she had spotted online doing the now famous tofotofo dance to be part of her project. I'm sure the gesture opened doors for the said gentleman and Mrs Carter gets my full respect for appreciating African creativity. She is one of only a handful of high profile international artistes who have actively worked with Africans in a mutually beneficial exchange, especially from the urban/pop bracket.

For doing that I say, nuff respect Bey!...


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