Africa’s Owning the Spotlight

BEYONCE’S ALBUM “THE GIFT” HAS GOT THE WORLD VIBING TO THE SOUND OF AFRICA

Source: Waploaded

Source: Waploaded

Following a successful premier of the Lion King movie, star artiste Beyonce Knowles-Carter released a one of its kind album and it has got the world in some sort of “spirit” mode. The movie which would see the star artiste play the role of Nala (Simba’s love affair – in the movie) was originally released in 1994 as a cartoon produced by Walt Disney. I practically grew up watching that cartoon, I think I must have seen it nearly a thousand times, to the point I could recite the lines of each character word for word. To be honest, Scar was my best character – he had a goal and he was determined to get it no matter what – he was ambitious, although he was cunning, a sly guy, and a liar (characters I don’t approve of).

I am particularly excited that such an album was released in my time. I guess it’s just the right time for Africa to feel the limelight for a bit and an opportunity for us to get this sound that we love so much to eardrums beyond our shores on a larger scale. Beyonce Knowles-Carter said that this album is her to gift to Africa and as such she set out to work with the best of the best in the African entertainment industry. The album featured many of Africa’s finest musicians such as Wizkid, Yemi Alade, Burna Boy, Mr Eazi, Tiwa Savage, Tecno, Shatta Walle, and more. 

One of the most difficult things I encountered while listening to this album was picking a favourite song, the album is simply phenomenal and if you haven’t heard it yet, I TINK you should and if you already have, kindly leave your thoughts on any of the songs in the comment section below.

Get in formation

QUEEN BEY HAS ESTABLISHED A "FORMATION" SCOLARSHIP PROGRAM FOR YOUNG WOMEN

I am glad this song transcended from just being a meme and a sisterhood power upper to actually effecting positive change even though it took a year since the release, it is fine, we would take it.  The scholarship which is set to launch for the 2017-2018 school year is under the reins of four participating universities, which are- Berklee College of Music, Howard University, Parsons School of Design and Spelman College. 

To add to the celebration of the one-year anniversary of LEMONADE,
Beyoncé Knowles-Carter announces the establishment of Formation Scholars awards for the
2017-2018 academic year, to encourage and support young women who
are unafraid to think outside the box and are bold, creative, conscious and confident.
Four scholarships will be awarded, one per college, to female incoming, current or graduate students
pursuing studies in creative arts, music, literature or African-American studies.
The schools selected for participation are Berklee College of Music, Howard University, Parsons School of Design
and Spelman College. All details and application deadlines are available directly from the colleges.
— Beyonce.com

So Beyonce did not only feature Nigerian Author, Chimamanda Adichie's "We should all be feminist" to add verses to her songs, she clearly has a strong passion for all things women empowerment and prior to this scholarship program, she openly supported the anti-Trump Women's March and signed an open letter in support of International Women's Day. The album so far has bagged numerous awards- two Grammys, eight VMAs, five BET Awards, four Soul Train Music Awards and four Emmy nominations; so it is a good thing she did not mark its anniversary with a tour or a rare photo of Blue Ivy or JayZ.

Taking a step further after challenging them with a whole album of inspiring words, she has put words to motion by giving them a chance to take their future by the horns.

Visit her website here.

Will You Pay to take a University course on Wizkid or Don Jazzy?

YOU CAN NOW STUDY THE "POLITICS OF KANYE WEST" AT WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY, CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? 

Kanye West 

Kanye West 

Pop culture is breaking barriers and crossing borders into lands where it never treaded before. The biggest shocker was having Bob Dylan snatch the prestigious Noble prize for Literature. No one saw that coming! Now, Washington University says you can study the Politics of Kanye West right in their university.

Bob Dylan // Source: www.time.com/

Bob Dylan // Source: www.time.com/

The course was crafted to do an in depth study of everything Kanye West and Pop Culture, from the intersections of hip hop and sexuality to the infamous Taylor Swift MTV Video Music Awards moment; targeted to reach students in their own language. Speaking on the course, the lecturer said “It is a good way to get students to connect issues of politics, race, gender, sexuality, and culture.”

Noting how both relevant and timing this would be for his students he said:

I knew my students had connections to Kanye… They’re always referencing his music and performances and videos and fashion. What better time than now to take seriously Kanye West as a cultural icon? I’m always interested in how he’s pushing whatever boundaries.
— School Lecturer
Kanye West on Stage // Source: www.independent.co.uk/

Kanye West on Stage // Source: www.independent.co.uk/

 

Now this is the future of school, bringing relatable realities home that students can connect and relate with. Imagine plating serious issues like politics, race, gender, sexuality, and culture on same table as Kanye West who indeed is the main dish of the course. In the Fall of 2014, the University of Mossouri offered a course on Kanye West and Jay Z’s just around the heat of their ‘Watch the throne’ album. Some Students of the University needed to buy a copy of the ‘Watch the Throne’ album while signing up for the course (English 2169). A Georgetown University offered a course on Jay-Z in 2011. Both figures, Jay Z and Kanye West are big hip hop icons and strong role models for young people.

A similar course was set up at the University of Texas at San Antonio, offering a class on Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ album. Classes centered on pop culture megastars like Bruce Springsteen, Tupac Shakur, Mayin Gaye and others have been taught in colleges in recent years

Official Album Art for Beyonce's  Lemonde

Official Album Art for Beyonce's Lemonde

 

Bringing this home to Africa, it’s high time we started embracing the reality of the influence our art has on daily lifestyle and culture. As pop culture unofficially makes its way into sacred lands, we might just have to make room for official grand entrances like the ones mentioned above. A course on the ‘Falz’ lingual influence on the average Nigerian should be springing up now or Fela, his Afrobeat and the Nigerian culture, new courses on Funke Akindele, Wizkid or Don Jazzy following. Considering how much influence these icons have on the daily lives of young people, it’s about time African schools harnessed these influences in General Studies, Arts and Social Sciences. Culture must be consciously curated and passed on. Schools must be deliberate about carrying students along. Pop culture is offered as that ready and available medium. 

Wizkid // Source: www.nigezie.tv/

Wizkid // Source: www.nigezie.tv/