Meet the 2 Africans Who Contributed to Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ | Lifestyle | KenyaBuzz
Lifestyle

Meet the 2 Africans Who Contributed to Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’

26 Apr 2016 | By Lisa Mugera | @Lisa_Mugera

The much anticipated world premier of Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade exclusively streamed on Tidal.com, featured some of the best creatives in her 12-track visual album. And amongst these creatives were Kenyan-born Warsan Shire and Nigeria's Laolu Senbanjo.

| Warsan Shire

Warsan Shire

Warsan Shire was born in Kenya to Somali parents, but grew up in London. The writer, poet, editor and teacher took a big role in Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’. Her poetry featured prominently throughout the visual album.  Evidently, one of the most powerful aspects of Beyoncé’s 12-track visual album is the spoken word, which reveals Beyoncé’s most deepest and personal thoughts. The spoken pieces are used to transition from one song to another.

Excerpts of Warsan’s poems such as ‘Women who are difficult to love’ and ‘Nail Technician as Palm Reader’ are also featured in Beyoncé’s songs, voiced by Beyoncé.

warsen picture
 
“I tried to change, closed my mouth more...
Tried to be softer, prettier, less awake”

 “The nail technician pushes my cuticles back,
Turns my hand over,
Stretches the skin on my palm
And says,
“I see your daughters and their daughters”…’

Warsan released her debut pamphlet ‘Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth' in 2011 and went on to win the Brunel University African Poetry Prize in 2013.  In 2014, she was appointed as the first Young Poet Laureate for London and was selected as Poet in Residence for Queensland, Australia, where she collaborated with the Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts.

warsan shire book

Beyoncé’s incorporation of Warsen’s spoken word is reminiscent of the singer’s quotation of Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi’s words in her song, ‘Flawless’.

| Laolu Senbanjo

Laolu senbanjo

Laolu Senbanjo is a Nigerian artist who resides in New York. His work featured primarily in Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ in her song, ‘Sorry’. The artist states on his Twitter account, “Everything is my canvas.” Laolu is the brains behind the incredible body art seen in the monochrome section titled ‘Apathy’, where there are girls riding a bus seated in a single line.

lemonade girls in a bus 2

lemonade girls in a bus

His work is also seen later on in the album, where Beyoncé adorns a dotted face, with white dots delicately curved along her eyes to portray her emotions.

beyonce lemonade

Laolu has also worked with other major celebrities such as our very own Lupita Nyong’o.

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