Beyonce has been accused of stealing the visuals from her Spirit and Bigger video from a film created by an African musician and his wife.
A post on the Diet Prada Instagram account compares screenshots from an extended cut of the double track video, directed by Jake Nava, to La Maison Noir: The Gift and the Curse, to a 17-minute film the artist Rharha Nembhard directed for her husband, South African musician Petite Noir.
“Here’s a side by side comparison of @Beyonce ‘s “Spirit” + “Bigger” extended cut directed by Jake Nava vs. South African musician @petitenoirkvlt ‘s “La Maison Noir: The Gift and The Curse”, directed by artist @rharha_nembhard and released in May 2018,” the caption reads.
The Diet Prada clip comparing the two works shows that both feature dancers in similar, bright blue or orange clothing striking similar poses, Beyonce in a cowrie beaded face veil that resembles an outfit used in La Maison Noir: The Gift and the Curse, as well as scenes featuring her daughter Blue Ivy, seven, which resemble those featuring a child in the African visual artwork.
Beyonce’s new album accompanying her role as Nala in The Lion King also has a similar name, as it is called The Lion King: The Gift.
Petite Noir’s video, which has almost two million views on YouTube, revolves around a cosmogram of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the singer’s father was a politician before being forced into exile. It also references the four elements of fire, earth, water, and air and symbolises rebirth, while depicting the formative stages of the musician’s life, which were spent moving around before settling in South Africa.
Beyonce is yet to publicly respond to the controversy.
The Formation hitmaker isn’t the first star to be accused of borrowing imagery from a lesser-known African artist, as Kendrick Lamar and SZA settled a lawsuit brought by British-Liberian artist Lina Iris Viktor over their music video for All the Stars, the theme track from the Marvel movie Black Panther.
She claimed they had used her copyrightable stylised art motifs in her video.