February 26, 2021

“I always said that I would sing with Beyoncé and they would take me crazy” | Culture


The afrobeats Nigeria is the style that has more weight on the disc. Most of the musicians that Beyoncé has had are popular stars of that country: WizKid, Tiwa Savage, Yemi Alade, Tekno, Burna Boy and Mr Eazi. There is a singer from Ghana, specialized in dancehall, Shatta Wale. Salatiel of Cameroon, the only artist from the Francophone part present in The Gift. And the South African Busiswa and Moonchild Sanelly, who give it the touch of gqom, the style of electronics from the Durban suburbs. These are the stories behind the songs My power Y Toilet.

"My uncle raped me and instead of letting me out I used my music to empower me"

My power It is a shout to the force of women. Artist Moonchild Sanelly spent a year sending music to Beyoncé's team. I dreamed of being on the album. “In my interviews I said that one day I would sing with Beyoncé. They thought I was crazy, ”he explains from the other side of the phone. Is ambassador of gqom and the kwaitoHe left his hometown, Port Elizabeth, with 19 years, a suitcase and some cash because his uncle sexually abused her and no one believed him. He moved to Durban, the cradle of the South African electronic music, and tried to succeed by all means. His goal: to go out one day in a national media to report the violation he suffered. He did it. And then he began receiving messages from many women who had been through the same. “I changed the story. I used what they took from me to empower me and other women. ”

In a country where family honor weighs more than women's freedom, Moonchild chooses to talk openly about sexuality. And his narrative makes it mixing his "broken English" and the xhosa. Use both languages ​​in the verses you wrote to My power. “We no longer have to sound like a white person to be respected. We fill concerts in Europe and the public knows our songs. ” For her, what works is to be authentic and believes that that's why Americans are inspired by Africa. "South Africans have to know what our power is."

"Millions of people listen to us and still digital platforms do not verify us"

On May 24, Cameroonian singer Salatiel opened his inbox and met an email from Beyoncé's team. They wanted me to participate in a project of the singer. They did not specify which one. "I thought it was a heavy joke," he says. There was no contract, no details. Weeks passed and he finally knew it was real. Beyoncé's team had crawled on the Internet to find a voice like his. "They wanted truly African rhythms, they asked me to sing the choirs." Two weeks before the publication of the album, between two concerts, Salatiel had a digital session with Beyoncé and Pharrell Williams to record Toilet. The whole album was produced in Los Angeles, so African artists sent their sessions telematically. Everything was so fast that Salatiel could not meet Beyoncé, nor attend the premiere of the film.

The author of Anita Y Toi et Moi He is the only Francophone artist that appears on the album. And he feels very proud of that. Faced with the success of its Nigerian neighbors, he believes that access to international markets is much more difficult for French-speaking Africa. For him it is due to several reasons. On the one hand, Nigeria has the largest population on the continent and that is reflected in its scope. They also have better connections with the West and American or European representatives. "We have a very limited distribution to the local," he explains. Therefore, being able to participate in this album for him is a gigantic step. “It's a way to keep our heads up, show the world that, although we are 30 million, we have 300 tribes, each with its languages ​​and music.” For the singer, the great stumbling block of artists from central and eastern Africa is the lack of presence in the digital world. What Sataliel does not understand is why Instagram, Facebook or Twitter do not verify the accounts. "We have millions of reproductions. Are we not part of the world?" he asks.

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