Outspoken rapper Noname has never been shy about sharing her opinion on big cultural moments. The biggest thing happening in pop culture right now is, of course, Beyonce’s visual album Black Is King, which premiered on Disney+ overnight and has had social media buzzing ever since. Noname contributed to the buzz with a controversial observation of her own — one which once again has placed her at-odds with Beyonce, whom she’s criticized in the past for their diverging views on capitalism and pro-Blackness.
While many are celebrating Black Is King as a powerful ode to Blackness, Noname’s viewpoint strays away from outright praise. Instead, she loaded her applause with a sarcastic condemnation of what she feels is an indulgent exhibition of excess wealth. “We love an African aesthetic draped in capitalism,” she wrote. “Hope we remember the Black folks on the continent whose daily lives are impacted by US imperialism. If we can uplift the imagery, I hope we can uplift those who will never be able to access it. Black liberation is a global struggle.”
She followed up with a pair of retweets highlighting anti-government protests currently taking place in Zimbabwe, including retweeting an Associated Press post reporting that a prominent Zimbabwean writer had been arrested during the protests.
— AFP news agency (@AFP) July 31, 2020
To everyone who was mad at Zimbabweans for speaking on #BlackLivesMatter and police brutality in America instead of our issues here, now is the time to speak up. Now is the time to show that #BlackLivesMatter here too #ZanupfMustGo #FreeZimbabwe ✊🏽
— Belinda Munyeza (@MdnightIsAplace) July 31, 2020
As usual, it appears her purpose was not to tear down Beyonce but to highlight how ongoing struggles for social and systemic reform are often sublimated by feel-good imagery and powerless posturing. While there will undoubtedly be those who find encouragement, enlightenment, and purpose in Beyonce’s uplifting messaging, for Noname, it’s more important that the fight is on the ground, raging on every day — including in African nations that Beyonce highlights, but doesn’t investigate, in Black Is King.