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Friday, February 15, 2013

African performers inspired Beyoncé [Video]

Uploaded on May 2011, the music video 'Run The World (Girls)' of Beyoncé, has been watched more than 160,400,700 times on YouTube. The music video went on winning awards such as the "Best Choreography in a video' at the 2011 MTV music awards and the Best Dance Performance at the 2011 Soul Train Music Awards. No doubt, the music video is now a  global sensation, so the Mozambique dance group Tofo Tofo that has inspired multi-award winner Beyoncé.

Beyoncé with the  Mozambique dance group Tofo Tofo 

The chorus, simply made of a question and answer : "Who run the world? Girls!",  reminds listeners that the song is unapologetically about the empowerment of woment. The concept is not new to Beyoncé's fans who first met her as the lead singer of Destiny's Child, the most successful female R&B group of their generation.

Beyond the world's acclaim, one important point to keep in mind is that African performers have inspired Beyoncé's dance moves. The love for Africa is apparently shared between the two Knowles sisters. As we remember, Africa was all over Solange's new music video.  Solange Knowles is Beyoncé's young sister.


In a mini-documentary called 'Year of 4,'  Beyoncé shares with her fans the journey she undertook in the making of her latest personal album titled '4'. Throughout the mini-documentary, she explains the challenges of managing herself for the very first time and pays tribute to the dance group Tofo Tofo. Moreover, the Seka Moke Foundation showed in a music video "Who Run the World of Dance Talent: Beyonce-Tofo Tofo Boys and the Dancing Girls" that the Queen of R&B may have also included dance moves from Werrason 'Dancing Girls' such as the Earth grab, the tribal twirl, the lazy rabbit, and the kick a**. Werrason is a popular artist from the  Democratic Republic of Congo.

Based on both profiles from the website and on YouTube, Seka Moke Foundation defines itself as an American non-profit that aims to ensure the abusive exploitation of "African performers who receive very little compensation when transferring rights to western producers." According to Seka Moke Foundation, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) of the United Nations had signed the Audiovisual Performances Treaty, which will restore certain rights back to African performers on June 24, 2012.



Beyoncé found out about the dance group Tofo Tofo through the video-sharing website YouTube. This proves that social media gives an opportunity to Africans themselves and the globe to discover how great of a continent Africa is. 

The mission of Seka Moke Foundation raises an important point. Beyoncé and her sister Solange may have acknowledged the incorporation of elements from Africa in their work. However, one  must say that African artists do not always receive the recognition they deserve,  whenever their creative work  is used by artists from the developed world. This needs to change. Even though Beyoncé has set an example of giving credit to the dance group Tofo Tofo, more needs to be done in terms of recognizing the  valuable work of African artists on the international scene.