Now that Pan-Africanism has become a mainstream conversation within my community, there has been a lot of focus put on identity—culture, nationality, and race. Many celebrities have jumped on board and used their platform to artistically pay homage to our African ancestors. However, it has garnered some backlash (and rightfully so). Today’s culprit is Beyoncé.
The following information comes from Africa News.
Beyoncé recently released her new visual album, Black Is King, on July 31, 2020. As a way to promote Black self-love and uplift the global collective, she uses this project to embrace her African heritage. She features popular Continental artists like Yemi Alade, Busiswa, and Shatta Wale. And it has received noticeable praise, John DeFore of the Hollywood Reporter stating the following:
“Black Is King+ is a sometimes penetrating presentation of African artists whose work blends brilliantly with that of Americans with roots on the continent.”
Some Continental Africans, however, are unimpressed by Beyoncé’s “imaginary and Wakanda-Esque” depiction of Africa. They’ve advised that she delivered a distorted and amalgamated vision of the continent that didn’t highlight its true diversity.
If you’ve been following this blog, then you know that I am an advocate for Pan-Africanism. African people politically aligning ourselves with each other and building coalitions to gain global sovereignty is Black empowerment. But things get pretentious when culture is brought into the conversation, from both Continental Africans and those of us in the diaspora. We are not a monolith and never will be, mainly because of our history. So romanticizing cultural conformity under the guise of African unity, in my opinion, is lazy and somewhat disrespectful.
Cultural appropriation within the race is real. And I’m going to expand on this at a later date, so stay tuned.
To check out the full article, click here. If you have any additional information, feel free to comment below.
Until Next Time…