Storm after Beyonce features West African artistes in ‘Lion King’ album, snubs Kenyans

Grammy award winner Beyonce, has released her 14 track album titled ‘The Lion King: The Gift.’ Beyonce has four solo songs on the album alongside collaborations with Kendrick Lamar, Childish Gambino, and her daughter, Blu Ivy.

She also featured West African stars in the album but snubbed East African musicians despite the film drawing inspiration from Kenya’s Hells Gate National Park. Animators of the movie traveled to the park to get a feel for the ‘great circle of life’. Beyonce recently said that each song was written to reflect the film’s storytelling that gives the listener a chance to imagine their own imagery. West African artists featured in the album include Nigerian pop stars Tiwa Savage, Wizkid, Mr. Eazi, Tekno and Yemi Alade. Others are Nigeria’s Burna Boy, Cameroonian Salatiel,  Ghana’s Shatta Wale and South Africa’s Busiswa and Moonchild Sanelly.

Beyonce said the album features many acts from Africa because she wants it to be about authentic music from the continent. “I wanted to make sure we found the best talent from Africa and not just use some of the sound or my own interpretation of it,” she said in an interview.

On Tuesday, Kenyan musician Victoria Kimani was fighting a solo fight in questioning why Kenyan artistes were not featured in the album.“As much as we celebrate with our fellow Africans …. The obvious exclusion of Kenyans / East Africans on this Soundtrack is Depressing…. The movie was based on KENYA,” tweeted Kimani. “The movie was based on Kenya. That’s fine…. Our Queen forgot about US. WE were not represented in her love letter to us. It hurts. That’s all.”

Victoria Kimani further stated that the movies characters, namely Rafiki, Simba, and Nala are Kenyan and Disney would have had Lupita Nyongo or Barack Obama on the outro. She said; “Seems we don’t have artists in East Africa, as much as we celebrate with our fellow Africans.” Her comments ignited a barrage of angry replies mostly from West Africans. Oyemykke a Nigerian motivational speaker lashed at her.

This article was originally published by Hillary Kimuyu for Nairobi News

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