Beyoncé Black is King

Beyoncé/YouTube

Beyoncé’s ‘Black is King’ draws praise and criticism online

Rapper Noname criticized it saying, 'We love an [African] aesthetic draped in capitalism.'

Jul 31, 2020, 8:21 pm

Internet Culture

Moises Mendez II 

Moises Mendez II

Beyoncé released her highly anticipated visual album, Black Is King, on Disney+ on Thursday night and Twitter erupted in tweets of praise and joy for the iconic musician’s newest project. While praise came in droves, as it normally does, there were some who were not huge fans of Queen Bey’s latest artistic endeavor.

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Dani Kwateng, culture and entertainment director for Teen Vogue, tweeted a screenshot from the visual album with the simple caption, “GOOSEBUMPS.”

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Journalist Shehnaz Khan applauded the diversity and inclusion of dark-skinned Indian women in the “BROWN SKIN GIRL” music video.

“Just when I think I couldn’t love Beyoncé more, she’s put dark-skinned Indian women and girls in the video for BROWN SKIN GIRL,” Khan wrote. “Doing more for representation for dark-skinned South Asian women than most Bollywood celebrities who prefer to promote skin lightening.”

Twitter even changed the icon when a user likes a tweet. Normally, it is a heart with confetti, but if the hashtag “BlackIsKing” is used, it comes up with the lion symbol on the cover of the accompanying album, The Gift.

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However, not everyone was pleased. Some of the critics brought up the way she portrays Africa in her music videos and projects. Rapper Noname, who has very outspoken about this topic on Twitter said, “We love an [African] aesthetic draped in capitalism.”

“Hope we remember the [Black] folks on the continent whose daily lives are impacted by U.S. imperialism. If we can uplift the imagery I hope we can uplift those who will never be able to access it. Black liberation is a global struggle,” she continued.

Arguments for and against Noname’s statement unfurled in her comments section.

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“Who are you speaking for? I hope you didn’t fix your fingers to tweet for U.S., cause I can tell you what we don’t need is your voice,” one Twitter user replied

In a different tweet, the user continued.

“And for you to reduce it to just African aesthetics, it’s pathetic. Not only are you loud, but you’re wrong and you’re doing more damage than you think.”

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One user came in defense of Noname and agreed with what the rapper said.

“Sis. We are tired of this version of Africa she’s portraying, this ancient everybody’s a king/queen idealism. It’s so foreign to our reality and it’s clear African Americans are only interested in us for some antiquated ancestral imagery which they draw validation from, not U.S.”

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*First Published: Jul 31, 2020, 8:21 pm