Beyonce reportedly insulted Kenyans with her “Lion King” album, “The Gift.” According to John Katana, the frontman of Chakacha Kenyan Band, Them Mushrooms, by not including any local artists on her album, the artist made her feelings for the Kenyans very clear. 

Katana shared to TMZ that Beyonce’s snub of Kenyan artists on this album did not go unnoticed. It felt weird for them because a massive chunk of scenery, culture as well as language utilized in both the 1994 and 2019 versions of “The Lion King” movie came straight from Kenya. Katana and the other Kenyan artists could not believe not one of them made the cut for Beyonce’s album for the movie. 

Since Beyonce called upon many African-born artists to participate in this album, it’s puzzling to the community that no Kenyan artists made it to the record.

More than just an extension of the movie, the album’s main purpose is said to be about showcasing today’s African musical stars. Beyonce has the platform to do it, after all, putting the distinctive African sound on the map because she is one of the world’s biggest pop stars to date. 

Katana claimed that he is beyond sad by this, since none from Disney also reached out to the “Hakuna Matata” OGs. Technically, one can say this phrase made “Lion King” what it is today since it is one of the most iconic lines and songs from the film. It is a popular Swahili phrase that John and his colleagues claimed to have popularized through their 80s platinum hit, entitled “Jambo Swana.” 

For her part, Beyonce might have realized her mistake, albeit too late. She did her best to rectify the oversight by adding Swahili at the beginning of the track, “Spirit,” which is the only song from the album to make it in the movie. She also sings in Swahili at the end of “Otherside.” However, Pitchfork magazine claimed that these measures are not enough, especially since the album was hyped as being super dedicated to authenticity. 

Also, the overall album was described merely as a “shadow of a movie that stands in the shadow of the 1994 original,” which is quite negative. The site Consequence of Sound also claimed the album felt like a “chopped mess.” The critics claimed the album lacks cohesion and serving too many masters -- Disney, Beyonce, and the different African artists, whose genius works felt crammed in this one album. 

'The Lion King' 'The Lion King' remake arrives in theaters on July 19. Facebook/DisneyTheLionKing