Ospreyshire Origins: Pugnam Contra Fures Leonis Pt. III: Rise of the One True Emperor

Lyrics:

[Swahili]

Tazama! Mfalme anainuka!
Tazama! Ukweli utatawala!
Tazama! Hatutakubali wafalme bandia!

Father, I hear your voice in the eastern sky
Mother, I hear you from the constellations
I will make you both proud in being the one true emperor
As I express myself in this human song,
I will right these misdeeds
I’ll still have unity with mankind and the wildlife in my kingdom
I’ve survived capsized ships, weapons, and bigger animals, and I’ll survive this

(Japanese backup vocals: Taitei o nagaku ikiru.)
(Swahili backup vocals: Mfalme ni bandia. Wambariki mfalme wa kweti.)

I hear the cries from Kinshasa, Toronto, Saitama, Grimes, Kigali, Kampala, Dodoma, and Nairobi
While I fight for peace and make sure my kingdom has dignity
I have to address the king who swindled me

You wouldn’t exist without me, but you’re so full of pride
(Japanese backup vocals: Kare wa honto shishi desu.)
(Swahili backup vocals: Ukweli unaishi ndani yake. Akawa ukweli!)
Like uncle, like nephew
You enjoy usurping the throne
Your gods had no worries
Profiting and suing others
For cultures they don’t own
Much like your father you dreamed of
Devastation and deceit
Have you seen a human before?
Have you found a way
To punish without genocide by starvation?
Shame on those humans who are allured
By your mate’s bedroom eyes
Was she your sister or your cousin?
You vagabond in denial
I never ran away when my parents died
Artifice flows through you
And permeates every time that you breathe
You tried blocking my existence
And denying it, too
You’re a false king
I’ll break your deception (X3)
Cause I’m the one true emperor

Copycats get no mercy!


I wasn’t originally planning on writing a song based on this anime when I was coming up with Dear Innovare. However, with everything I know and have learned last year with this and other cases, there was no way I could avoid talking about it especially when a good portion of this concept album involves plagiarism and theft cases. Also, there’s a contest that I have for the fun facts section if someone wants this song for free if they don’t have the album already.

If I could base songs on the Paprika/Inception controversy and the Battle Royale/Hunger Games controversy, then I’d be a fool not to talk about what one could make a strong case to be THE biggest film plagiarism issue of all time. Well, there’s that and having a couple of friends who actually wanted to hear an Ospreyshire track about the first anime series to be created and broadcast in color. One of those friends would be one of my college buddies Drew and the other is my Scottish mate Dave from ZAP Records himself.

[sigh] Here we go.

For those of you who don’t know anything about this song or anime series, this involves Osamu Tezuka’s creation Jungle Emperor Leo AKA Kimba the White Lion. This was a manga made in 1950, but it got the anime treatment in 1965, so this is older than Speed Racer. Tezuka is also known for creating Astro Boy, Black Jack, Metropolis (no, not the German film), and Dororo which got remade last year. This story is about the life and adventures of a lion cub prince named Kimba (I’m going to refer to their English names from here on out). His goal is to have unity between the animals and the humans, but he has to take responsibility to lead his kingdom after his father Caesar (the original king) gets murdered and…

You know what? I don’t need to go further with a synopsis.

Related image

This shouldn’t surprise anyone. If you want to know my full thoughts on this issue, then check out my Lion King rant post I did last Summer. You can also check out my review of Kimba the White Lion on my other blog. If you really want to get in depth with this insane film plagiarism controversy, then check out this link. I don’t want to repeat myself too much here.

This is infuriating how Disney even to this day have never owned up to stealing most of it’s characters, storylines, and even scenes that were shot-for-shot from Tezuka’s work. The reasons why Tezuka Productions haven’t sued Mickey Mouse are because Osamu mentioned on his will not to burn bridges with Disney (context: he died in 1989 during production of The New Advantures of Kimba the White Lion which would be 5 years before The Lion King was released) and because they don’t have as much money to take them on in court. I disagree and they should’ve sued The House of Mouse. Disney even tried to block Jungle Emperor Leo 1997 from North America at the Fantasia Film Festival in Canada back in 1998, for crying out loud! Simba was originally going to be a white lion in pre-production. Roy E. Disney called Sarabi “Kimba’s mother” in the 1993 Prodigy Q&A Transcript which can be seen in one of the links above. They would have so many strong cases for copyright infringement. Here are examples of these various characters:

Screen Shot 2020-01-07 at 11.52.44 AM.png

Comparisons from the first picture and this screencap:

Lion prince: Kimba=Simba
Deceased father lion: Caesar=Mufasa
Comic relief hyena henchmen: Tom and Tab=Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed
Wise, yet eccentric baboon advisor: Dan’l=Rafiki
Major-domo bird who gets into prat falls: Pauley=Zazu
Major villain that usurps the kingdom: Claw=Scar (BIGGEST RIPOFF VILLAIN EVER!)
Girlfriend lioness who becomes the prince’s mate: Kitty=Nala

Bonus examples:

Lion queen mother: Snowene=Sarabi
Daughter of the main character: Lukio=Kiara (see: Susume, Leo or Jungle Emperor Leo 1997 and The Lion King II respectively)
Son of the main character: Lune=Kion (see: Susume, Leo or Jungle Emperor Leo 1997 and The Lion Guard respectively)

Even The Simpsons made a joke involving this plagiarism controversy. Yes, that’s James Earl Jones doing all the voices in that scene!

Enough of me ranting here. I felt like I’ve done a bunch of it on two of my blogs already. Hahaha! Let’s talk about the music. This is actually the longest Ospreyshire song I ever written and recorded and has more instrumental layers than anything else. I had three different sounds from one keyboard, bass, acousmatics, African percussion instruments (fair trade, FTW!), and my little mbira. I felt so compelled to use both Swahili and Japanese lyrics which was a very nice touch and I wanted to be respectful to those cultures. The lyrics use a TON of Kimba and Lion King references. I won’t explain them all, but here are a few and the meanings therein.

Kimba references:

“Father, I hear your voice in the Eastern sky. Mother, I hear you from the constellations.” This represents the death of both of Kimba’s parents. The Eastern sky also references an opening lyric in the Jungle Emperor Leo 1997 ending theme “Wind Song”. That and he sees the spirits of his dead parents in the sky in the original show (SOUND FAMILIAR?).

“…this human song” This references the Kimba song “Sing a Human Song” in the English dub.

“Saitama…Grimes” Those cities have major significance to Kimba. Saitama, Japan has a baseball team called the Seibu Lions who use that character as a mascot even to today. Grimes refers to a town in Iowa referring to Right Stuf and their anime distribution subsidiary Nozomi Entertainment who have the license to the original show.

Top Lion King potshots in my opinion in no particular order:

“Was she your sister or your cousin?” Who is Nala’s father? No Lion King fan has ever given me a straight answer on that issue, so I directly referenced that infamous incest theory in this song! Do the math.

“Your gods had no worries profiting and suing others for cultures they don’t own…” Three words: HAKUNA MATATA TRADEMARK!

Note: I reference capitals of countries where Swahili has official language status with Kinshasa (DRC), Kigali (Rwanda), Kampala (Uganda), Dodoma (Tanzania), and Nairobi (Kenya).

“Have you found a way to punish without genocide by starvation?” This line calls out Mufasa’s severe protagonist centered morality of the Elephant Graveyard. Starving and isolating others is genocide. Just look at Shark Island in Namibia, the several Native American tribes who were subjugated by the pilgrims, and The Devil’s Punchbowl in Mississippi to name a few. Also, I have to give props to Croatian blogger Vigour of Film Lines for noticing that severe flaw of the Mufasa character and for calling the Elephant Graveyard a concentration camp, too!

Fun facts:

I namedrop the title of my other song “They Dreamed of Devastation and Deceit” in the lyrics. It’s even more appropriate when you consider the subtitle is (Circle of Lies).

Lion King fans! I actually parody two songs from that movie franchise from a musicality standpoint. The intro should be obvious and the other parody aspect kicks in when I start singing halfway through the song. The first person who gets the answers right gets this song for free if they didn’t buy the album.

Hope you liked my somewhat lengthy backstory on that song. This concludes this song/poem trilogy.

The picture of The New Adventures of Kimba the White Lion is from Fandom and is property of Tezuka Productions.

The screenshot of Mufasa, Simba, Caesar, and Kimba is from Mashable and they are property of Disney, Tezuka Productions, and Nozomi Entertainment respectively.

The character comparison guide is from the Internet Archive. All characters are property of Tezuka Productions, Nozomi Entertainment, and Disney respectively.

The video clip is from The Simpsons and is property of Fox.

Ospreyshire Origins: Pugnam Contra Fures Leonis Pt. I: The Uncrowned King of Johannesburg

Lyrics:
[Zulu]

Bass voice: Kumele adale
Baritone voice: Inkosi yethu izokwaziwa
Tenor voice: U-Linda ungumbali wangampela wengoma

Johannesburg was where the lion was born
It had a roar that shook the concert halls
Collective voices made sure no one slept
Only controlled by the uncrowned king

Ethnomusicologists stepped in
To colonize the canorous monarch’s song
That lion was poached as it reached stateside
Leaving the king without a cent to his name

What a token gesture that was thievery
New York and Burbank usurped his throne
His daughters were neglected by their greed
They had to keep that lion and king alive


We’ve got another song that involves South Africa and some Zulu lyrics much like “Lebombo”. Hooray! This also kicks off the first part of my Pugnam Contra Fures Leonis trilogy for Dear Innovare! Double Hooray! This song was an Ospreyshire first in creating a one-man acappela chamber choir song with no instruments and/or acousmatics! Triple Hooray all the way!

This song is an homage to South African musician Solomon Linda. He’s a beloved singer even to this day in that country. His biggest song was called “Mbube” which means “Lion” in the Zulu language. He invented a subgenre of South African choral music that’s named after that particular song and has been involved in that country’s Isicathamiya scene (just so you know, you’re supposed to click on the “c” when you pronounce the name of that acappella genre). Feel free to check it out!

That song got the attention of an American licensing company to take it stateside. First came Pete Seeger “adapting” the song into “wimoweh”.

Next came what became easily the best known form of covering. By covering, I mean total plagiarism. Everyone should know the biggest rip-off version by now if you didn’t figure it out from the original “Mbube” song.

Solomon Linda died before The Tokens did their stolen version of his song. To make matters worse, he died penniless and his family lived in poverty long after his passing. The surviving family members struggled and wondered why they didn’t get money from Solomon’s song. Then in 1994, there was this big animated movie that would be the straw that broke the camel’s back especially with two characters.

Image result for the lion sleeps tonight

Seriously, screw Disney. The Lion King was able to rake in over $15 million in royalties from “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and that’s not even counting the Broadway version. The Linda family with the help of journalist Rian Malan and the South African government sued the American licensing company and Disney for plagiarism in the 00s. This issue was shown in the 2019 Netflix documentary called The Lion’s Share which I actually reviewed on Iridium Eye. I don’t want to spoil the case and all the details that went into it, but Disney STILL never credited Solomon Linda and the “Mbube” song in the Lion King remake!

This rampant plagiarism, cultural appropriation, and bastardization of Africa makes my blood boil, but I’m not done yet.

We still have two more songs that deals with other aspects of the cat burglary coup of the century. Yes, I just referenced the biggest villain clone ever, but it was way too appropriate.

The picture of Solomon Linda is from Change.

The Lion King is property of Disney. The image of Timon and Pumbaa is from Financial Times and is property of Disney.

Shedding The Vestiges of Music Fandom Within

I liked the wrong genres for the wrong reasons since my high school years
5 star reviews and independent spirits caught my eyes
Namedropping bands most have never heard of was a wasted talent
Things have slowly changed once I wanted to know more about my heritage
It only went to show that the bands I hated and even some that I liked were sheltered
I mean, if I wanted to hear first world problems in musical form, I’d listen to pop punk
The originators have become even more apparent once I delved into classic soul and blues

Cultural appropriation ruled for decades in the realm called rock and roll
As the original innovators still haven’t been renowned in Cleveland
I was insulted and mocked for liking music in my college days
While I can’t distance myself in that regard (I’m a musician, you know)
I have to shed so much of what I used to like to codify more of what I stand for and honoring the innovators in music who never got credit

No matter if they are pop fans or the indie elite, I will not take your judgmental pretensions.

3 news cases I have to vent about: Mass Shootings, Cultural Appropriation, and Dehumanization

I wish I wasn’t physically sick today. Over the past few days, I’ve been hearing stories and I just get emotionally sick hearing about these. This world is too cruel and bigoted for it’s own good. I couldn’t just have 3 different posts going on.

1: The mass shootings in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH

This should be quite obvious since this was big news over the weekend. I wasn’t shocked at what happened. So many people died in two different shootings in El Paso and Dayton by Patrick Crusius and Connor Betts respectively. It’s not surprising at all with who the suspects were and I’m frustrated by how well they treated. When I saw the video of Patrick Crusius being arrested, he was taken alive (OF COURSE!) by only 1 single cop. Apparently he wasn’t in fear of his live for someone who gunned down over 20 people and people have been treated worse for less nationwide let alone in Texas. Oh, I’ll get to that reason why I namedropped that state in particular. When I saw a different video from the African Diaspora News Channel (FKA The Advise Show). Phil talked about the El Paso shooting and said something that really hit me in just four words “Mass murderers have privilege”. Think about that for a minute. How many unarmed Black people get gunned down for far less by the police, yet White killers get taken alive and the cops suddenly don’t feel scared even if the suspect is armed? This is the Injustice system on full display.

2: #TrademarkWars Pt. III AKA Be Prepared…because Disney is suing people because of a foreign phrase!

Disney…STOP GIVING ME REASONS TO BASH YOU REGARDING YOUR RIP-OFF MOVIE!

I swear if that company keeps up with this madness, then I might as well call Ospreyshire’s Realm the Lion King Thievery Expose Blog. As you all know, Disney trademarked the phrase “Hakuna Matata” which sparked outrage on and off the African continent. There’s a petition still going on right now. You should already know my thoughts about this issue. I remember some people being in denial that Disney wouldn’t be stupid enough to sue people despite having legal fiat to do so. It was only a matter of time, but those people would be wrong and I was proven right. You see, Disney is suing a Chinese company for trying to trademark that Swahili phrase, but as “HakunaMatata” in their claim. Here’s more information about that story. Let’s break it down. An American company is suing a Chinese company over a phrase they didn’t invent from a language that isn’t spoken in either place. Now, China wants in on stealing African culture, too. For me, this is like America and China’s predatory business practices in Africa in microcosm. Just look at all the people being exploited by companies from both countries in the continent. You even have Chinese people beating up Ugandan politicians or murdering Namibian employees there and that’s the stuff I know about. I’m sure China wouldn’t like it if Disney trademarked a common phrase like “Xie xie” or “Ni hao” if they did something idiotic to promote the upcoming Mulan live-action remake, and everybody knows it. Lion King fans, I dare you to defend this and the other forms of theft.

#3: A leashed Black man…HOW SHAMEFUL!

Going back to Texas, there was a mentally ill Black man who was apprehended by two cops on horseback and leashed him! If it wasn’t for the cars and fashion, I would’ve thought I saw a real life scene from the 1800s, not 2019. The slave catcher imagery was beyond sick and this goes back to the first news story. You get accused of trespassing (allegedly), then you’ll have two cops leashing you up with horses, but if you slaughter people in the double digits, you get to be arrested with dignity by one cop! This is just beyond sick. I don’t want just an apology for their racist actions, I want those cops involved to be punished and for Donald Neely to sue the police department. America is so freaking bigoted. I’ve dealt with being discriminated firsthand here and that’s something some of you will never deal with in your lives. Name one white person in 2019 who was treated like Donald Neely. Exactly. I can’t ignore the mistreatment of others just because of their race and I hate how demonic people get softer treatment. I’m beyond infuriated as I recover from being sick.

I had to get these things off my chest. This dehumanization needs to stop.

Disney and Beyonce need to stop giving me carte blanche to rant about that stupid rip-off movie franchise and how they rip off stuff again (or CAN YOU FEEL THE HEIST TONIIIIIGHT?)

I’m sorry. I seriously didn’t expect to make a rant involving the best-selling piece of plagiarism in movie history. Okay, I did get a smile on my face how that remake has been getting negative reviews, but I still get frustrated with their fans defending the indefensible.

However, recent situations and discoveries are only proving me right more and more!

Let’s recap on what The Lion King has stolen thus far:

1: Kimba the White Lion. ‘Nuff said.

2: Trademarking the phrase “Hakuna Matata” which is totally cultural appropriation.

3: Withholding royalties from the late South African songwriter Solomon Linda for his song “Mbube” which was plagiarized into “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”. He died penniless and his heirs sued a licensing company and Disney for not giving credit to Mr. Linda and for the royalties which they wouldn’t get until 2006.

Then came a 4th reason and this one involves a music video, the most famous Destiny’s Child member, and a lesser-known South African musician of Congolese and Angolan descent.

So, Beyonce came out with the new music video for “Spirit” which is a song for The Lion King remake. It features imagery of a desert and people wearing blue and red traditional African clothing. Wouldn’t it be crazy if the imagery copied a long-form music video that came out last year? Oh…that actually happened.

Petite Noir is the originator in this story. He made a short film/long-form music video for his “La Maison Noir” EP. I’ve checked out his music and it’s really good. I bought his EP on Bandcamp not just because I liked the music video or his music, but to support a real artist who doesn’t steal from others. He even self-directed his own music video. Want to know the subtitle of it? The Gift and the Curse. HAHAHAHA! Get it? Because that Beyonce vanity project…I mean companion soundtrack is called The Lion King: The Gift! Wow, shame on Beyonce, director Jake Nava, and Disney for stealing someone else’s art. I hope Petite Noir lawyers up and sues all those parties involved.

Disney and Nala…I mean, Beyonce are only proving me right even more that this franchise is a legacy built on artistic larceny. First, Japan, then multiple Swahili-speaking countries, and South Africa TWICE now?! They really have no shame.

I really didn’t want to do a post bashing this movie franchise again, but it was deserved.

Now if you excuse me, I’m going to rock out to Petite Noir’s EP at the moment. Dear Beyhive, your so-called goddess isn’t infallible whether she got Mickey Mouse money or not. Disney fans, your favorite company isn’t innocent.

#TrademarkWars Pt. II: Drop the Hakuna Matata trademark because cultural appropriation sucks!

http://chng.it/YkXFKwDbQN

At the time of this post, over 187K+ people signed the petition in that link above. I’m one of them because I practice what I preach.

Some of you may have seen my #TrademarkWars post not too long ago. I’m not sorry for repeating the information, but some of this maybe new to some of you. For those of you who didn’t see that earlier post, let me give you the scoop. Disney owns a trademark for the words “Hakuna Matata”.

“But Ospreyshire, that’s a stupid thing to worry about!” You might say. “What’s the big deal?”

It’s because making a dollar of a foreign phrase is cultural appropriation. That’s why.

This offends me more than The Lion King ripping off Kimba the White Lion, and that’s saying something. The thing is “Hakuna Matata” has been a very common phrase that the Swahili-speaking world (examples: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, DRC, etc.) has said for centuries. Disney acts like they can just own foreign words like some kind of hidden treasure. That’s colonizer thinking right there. Could you imagine the outrage if Disney or any other conglomerate were to trademark foreign phrases such as “C’est La Vie” from the French or “Que Sara Sara” from the Italians? Everybody would riot if that were to happen. Even English speakers know what those phrases mean and would call out something like that. Keep in mind, even Paris Hilton couldn’t trademark “That’s hot” and  Donald Trump couldn’t trademark “You’re fired” when The Apprentice was a hit show, so what does that tell you? I guess since this involves Africans, then they don’t matter in Disney’s eyes by taking a common saying that’s spoken throughout multiple countries in that continent.

Cultural appropriation is another form of racism as it steals from others while benefiting the appropriator. I’m sick and tired of people getting away with thieving cultural elements that clearly never belonged to them to the first place. The Swahili speaking public got nothing out of this trademark even though they’ve been saying it long before the invention of animation.

If this irks you that colonialism still permeates even in kids movies, then I would urge you to sign.

Hakuna Matata: Not some remorse-free philosophy

http://chng.it/YkXFKwDbQN

#TrademarkWars: Have you no shame, Disney?

I know this is an older story, but I just have to talk about it.

I apologize if this issue is getting old especially for those in the aniblogger community, but holy crap…did Disney have to steal something else especially in regards to The Lion King? Ripping off Kimba the White Lion wasn’t enough for them?

Basically, Disney owns a trademark for the words “Hakuna Matata” which is stupid on so many levels for a common phrase in the Swahili-speaking community in Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, DRC, Uganda, etc.). I also didn’t know that there was a popular song in the 70s that used the phrase in it’s chorus.

Sure, some of you are rolling your eyes to me bashing Disney since I am a former fan of The Lion King. Besides the shameless stealing of Kimba, I couldn’t stand some of the plot holes, the protagonist centered morality of Mufasa, and the racist implications of the hyenas (come on, you don’t think they sounded like ethnic stereotypes?). Not to mention the whole Elephant Graveyard situation is much more disturbing in hindsight when you research things like the Congolese genocide, the Namibian genocide, or the genocides against Native Americans to name a few where people where exiled and starved out at punishment. Makes me wonder if Disney fans see the hyenas as proxies for Black people to be punished at all costs while claiming that company isn’t racist for hiring minorities as some rhetorical dodge for it not being racist (strawman defeated). Please, that’s like saying the porn industry can’t be sexist because they hire women.

The thing isn’t just about trademarking a common Swahili phrase or for me ragging on Disney for their business practices. The bigger picture is cultural appropriation. One other example that Dr. Mumbi gave in the video was Louis Vuitton capitalizing on traditional Masai cloth by giving it the luxury treatment which is idiotic and offensive to me. Culture isn’t some free for all object for people to steal. I would bet you money if someone were to steal stuff from Louis Vuitton or any other big company, then lawsuits would be handed like candy on Halloween. Screw that double standard. If you want to incorporate something like someone’s culture then do it respectfully and pay the price for it.

This trademarking is so shameful on many levels. If you want to sign the petition about this matter, then here’s the link: https://www.change.org/p/the-walt-disney-company-get-disney-to-reverse-their-trademark-of-hakuna-matata

Video is property of Dr. Mumbi Seraki.