I have my issues with BET, but I thought this was a great tribute regardless. One of my friends showed me this video which was for this year’s BET Awards. Public Enemy made a new version of “Fight the Power”. This song came out 31 years ago and it’s still relevant. They came back with Nas, Rapsody, Black Thought from The Roots, Jahi, YG, and Keedron Bryant. This was very necessary and relevant given the times. It’s a shame how nothing’s changed since that song came out or even the movie Do the Right Thing. I was even surprised to hear references to the Haitian Revolution, Breonna Taylor namedropped twice, Seneca Village (FKA Senegal Village) in Central Park being an all-Black community a long time ago or Juneteenth in a mainstream channel. There were great lyrics and one particular highlight was Rapsody (in my opinion, had the vest verse and a shoo-in for guest verse of the year) saying “You love Black Panther, but not Fred Hampton.” WOW! I thought I would share this updated version of this classic rap song with you.
Such a naughty girl typical in copying imagery
Not from precambrian times, but from 2018
I wouldn’t blame your man or blaming fire
But your employers who were accomplices
It sucks to be you abducting the black house
While you call your vanity project a “gift”
Your daughter must be so proud of you
Your shame ya mobali ya mobali [Lingala for “To the right, to the right”]
Oh wait, you have none
You may be called a queen, but I see a phony
Keep thinking you’re a survivor
Ozali mokonzi mwasi te
Ozali nkosi te
Ozali Nzambe te!
Welcome to part 2 of my Pugnam Contra Fures Leonis trilogy which is all about one of the biggest pieces of cat burglary, cinematic plagiarism, and cultural appropriation ever! This is actually the most recent example of this ravenous plagiarism. Shout-out to Inskidee for that term!
This song is about Yannick Illunga AKA Petite Noir. He’s a Belgium-born avant-pop musician of Congolese and Angolan descent who is based in Cape Town, South Africa. In 2018, he recorded an EP called La Maison Noir (The Black House) and released a long-form music video containing most of the songs, but adding a narrative and incorporating visuals from African culture. They filmed it straight in the Namib desert which covers his current home country and it’s next door neighbor Namibia. I think you might like this short musical of sorts.
Then one year later…Mickey Mouse happened to have a certain diva as an accomplice…
LOOK OUT, BEYHIVE! I’M GOING TO BASH YOUR FAKE GODDESS AND THAT OVERRATED MOVIE FRANCHISE!!
Wow, just wow! The Petite Noir video was barely a year old before Disney and the former Destiny’s Child member managed to rip off his music video when the newest iteration of Nala decided to release her video for “Spirit” for the Lion King remake. Here are some images from both videos.
Do you honestly believe that Beyonce, Jake Nava, Jon Favreau, or anyone at Disney didn’t see the Petite Noir video? Do any of you think it’s some little coincidence that both videos would take place in the desert and have traditional African clothing in red and blue? Come on, people. This isn’t like “Mbube” or a certain Osamu Tezuka anime/manga series (we’ll get to that in a certain post!) which both predate the internet. This was from 20-freaking 18. This was stupid and the denial is just facepalm-worthy. JUST OWN UP TO IT! No, just because Beyonce had African musicians on her vanity project of a companion soundtrack doesn’t give her a right to steal from another musician from the continent. Also, notice how that album is called “The Lion King: The Gift” and the Petite Noir’s video is called “La Maison Noir: The Gift and The Curse“. Think about it! Here’s a good link about that plagiarism issue and some of the online reactions.
The song was an experimental acoustic-ish track, but I got to use effects to my mbira to give it an electric sound to it. I was listening to a ton of Konono No. 1 and Kasai Allstars before writing and recording, so that instrumental choice was highly influenced by them using amplified thumb pianos in most of their songs. Besides that, I use Petite Noir references and a bunch of Beyonce references in the lyrics. See if you spot them.
After this piece of thievery, we’re going to get to the big example of this plagiarism marathon. It will be hard not to have some pride in this work and in part 3, all you anime fans are going to love me even though you can guess what the last part will be about. :3
La Maison Noir: The Gift and the Curse is property of Petite Noir and Red Bull Music. The screenshot is from YouTube.
The Beyonce picture is from Timeslive.
The screenshot comparison is from WiseAfri. The La Maison Noir screenshots are property of Petite Noir and The Spirit screenshots are property of Disney.
I really don’t care what anyone says. I like African music. Whether it’s the traditional stuff, experimental works, or Afropop, I enjoy it. Here’s one singer I’ve known for almost a year now. This is Sami Dan from Ethiopia. I first heard this song last year not long after the peace deal with his home country and Eritrea. Even though I rarely listen to pop music, this had a fun beat and it’s a fun love song of sorts. Amharic sounds great when sung.
Feel free to check out this song.
I recently discovered this music/dance troupe not long after I reviewed the movie Munyurangabo. I decided to research some things about Rwanda after the fact like how the capital Kigali is one of the cleanest cities on the planet and what their music scene is like. This was really cool how it incorporated traditional rhythms alongside modern instrumentation while they sing in Kinyarwanda. The melodies were so sweet and very authentic. It’s been a while since I promoted other musicians, but this is one song I’ve been listening to recently. Check out Intayoberana!
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:
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.
It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything on this blog.
Some of you may know that I’ve been getting more into African music and even more recently into movies made in that continent. Even though I’ve never been to Africa, I come from a multi-ethnic family and I did a DNA test where one of my results from my maternal side came up as Cameroonian among other ethnic groups in Africa and Europe. I decided to check out the music from that country and stumbled across Mr. Leo. I first heard the song “Pray” and found it touching given that country’s situation currently with the conflicts involving the French-speaking Cameroonians and the English-speaking ones where there have been fatalities. It saddens me how there have been divisions like that in this post-colonial landscape. Luckily, there are people in that country who hate the bloodshed and see each other as brothers and sisters despite what languages they speak. It certainly hit my heart because these people could be distant relatives of mine in some way. I hope you check out this song.
Part of the song is in Banso which is one of the local languages in that country. I found translated parts of that song which make it more heartbreaking knowing what everything means.
Amen chorus part:
Let us kneel down (Amen)
Let us keep praying that (Amen)
The day will soon be clear
Let us kneel down (Amen)
Let us keep praying that (Amen)
The day will soon be clear
Banso part of the 2nd verse:
If you are ignoring your brother
Beware, you are making a mistake
If you are chasing your brother away
Beware, you are making a mistake
Translation credit to Chris Logan
Here’s a quick post that some of you may be interested in.
I haven’t spotlighted many musicians outside of ZAP Records (the label I’m affiliated with), but I thought I would branch out by discovering some music off the beaten path. You’ve all noticed that I’ve been talking a bunch about Africa lately with some various news sources going on there, but I thought I would change it up with their music scene. I’ve been listening to some pop music in Africa mainly in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Ghana, and Togo recently, but I randomly discovered this series of music. It’s called Cypher Abyssinia which is a yearly rap tradition in Ethiopia where their rappers spit some verses together. However, they aren’t rapping in English. It’s all in Amharic, one of the major languages in that country. For those of you that don’t know, that’s the same language that The Weeknd used in the outro to his song “The Hills” (he’s Ethiopian-Canadian, for those that didn’t know), and the alphabet used in that language (Ge’ez script) is one of the inspirations of the Wakandan alphabet in Black Panther. It sounds really cool hearing rap music in an African language. Bonus points for incorporating traditional rhythms and melodies while mixing it with a hip-hop beat. Feel free to check it out!
Video courtesy of AND Tunes
My friend Justin Yates released his newest EP called “Friend”. He even released a new music video for his song “Burn”. Justin Yates is someone I’ve known for years when I got into the local music scene and he’s one of the few people from that area who I still talk to and never lost respect for. He works harder than so many other musicians I know. Feel free to check out the music video and to buy his EP.
Very recently, Dave Emmerson from Dystopian Futures was interviewed by The Antidote. He had some great insight for his current band. Dave also talks about the weaknesses of social media, rampant narcissism, and sci-fi. Shoot, I didn’t even know he was a fan of Dr. Strangelove. Hahaha! I thought this was a great interview and you should check it out.
Don’t forget that Dystopian Futures’s Low Arts EP comes out on 6/11/18 on http://zaprecords.bandcamp.com.
Check out the Fear EP: https://zaprecords.bandcamp.com/album/zap-033-fear-cs
Don’t forget, Dystopian Futures has a new music video for their Low Arts song. Yes, I worked on it and I threw in some stealth puns. Hee hee hee…
Here goes my 2nd week in a row about my other blogs. Hahaha!
One thing I’ve been doing for years is some videography and some photography. I have my own little DIY thing called Autumn Peal Media.
The video projects I’ve done in the past involve concert footage, some sports highlights, poetry, and some music videos including the following:
The Old-Timers “Mammon” which I do-directed with lead singer Dave Emmerson [Hardcore/Punk from Scotland/South Africa]
Watercolour “Ulysses” [Indie Folk from England]
Praiser “Your Ego” [Hardcore from Germany]
Ospreyshire “My Heart is a Crater” [Spoken Word/Anti-Pop/Avant-garde]
Feel free to check out my other works! I post photos every Saturday and reference throwback videos on Thursday.