From its star-studded, red carpet premiere to its already-popular soundtrack, the new Lion King remake has caused a frenzy.
Just last week, one of the movie’s most high-profile stars, Beyoncé, dropped two new music videos for songs on the soundtrack, one called “Bigger” and the other, “Spirit.” Of course, it's no surprise that the star’s fans, the Beyhive, showed an outpouring of support for both videos — which also both featured Blue Ivy.
In an interview with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America , Beyoncé expanded on her creative process. "The concept of the video is to show how God is the painter and natural beauty in nature needs no art direction,” she said. “It's the beauty of color, the beauty of melanin, the beauty of tradition."
However, since the videos’ release, some are wondering whether Beyoncé may have taken inspiration from more than God alone.
On Monday, @Diet_Prada — an account that surfaces fashion scandals — took to Instagram to blast Beyoncé, suggesting she borrowed some of the original visual concepts from another artist, South African singer Petite Noir. Born Yannick Ilunga, Noir is a South African singer, writer and song producer with almost 12,000 followers on SoundCloud and over 50,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.
The 29-year-old released his debut extended play The King of Anxiety in 2015, alongside his creative director and wife Rochelle Nembhard. In 2018, he released a mini-album titled La Maison Noir/The Black House, which provided the backdrop for the video “La Maison Noir: The Gift and the Curse,” which some say Beyoncé’s most recent two videos resemble.
On @Diet_Prada’s post, which has over 45,000 likes, they compiled a side by side excerpts of the videos, and discussed the importance of Noir’s 17-minute video, which has almost 2 million views. “The film revolves around a cosmogram from Petite Noir aka Yannick Illunga's native Congo, referencing the four elements of fire, earth, water, and air,” the post reads. “It also symbolizes rebirth...As founders of the Noirwave movement, husband/wife duo Illunga and Nembhard’s work seeks to write a new narrative of the contemporary experience, uniting all people of African descent, across the continent and beyond. Dieters and Beyhive that are about to go off in the comments, please remember to be constructive.”
This isn't the first time Beyoncé has been accused of taking a little more than inspiration from another artist’s work. Throughout the course of her longstanding career, people have accused her of mimicking their fashion looks, live performances, video concepts and dance moves.
Even before her solo career, she was accused by a producer, Rob Fusari, of taking credit in an interview his ideas to create Destiny Child’s Bootylicious. In an interview with Billboard in 2010, Fusari said that Beyoncé’s father defended her at the time. “He explained to me, in a nice way, he said, ‘People don't want to hear about Rob Fusari, producer from Livingston, N.J. No offense, but that's not what sells records. What sells records is people believing that the artist is everything." (Knowles has not commented publicly on the controversy).
But the copying claims didn’t end there.
In 2011, Beyoncé released Countdown and 1+1 which some said had uncanny similarities to contemporary ballet Rosas Danst Rosas and the unfinished French film Le’ Enfer. In a statement to The New York Times at the time, Beyoncé did not deny the connection. “Clearly the ballet Rosas Danst Rosas was one of many references for my video countdown,” she said. “It was one of the inspirations used to bring the feel and look of the song to life.”
Concerns were even raised about the trailer for her earlier album Lemonade, which critics argued was similar to a short film called Palinoia. The accuser pursued legal action, but the claims were ultimately dismissed in court.
Beyoncé’s team did not respond to a request for comment from Yahoo Lifestyle regarding The Lion King videos. Petite Noir’s team also declined the opportunity to comment. Reactions from the general public on social media have been mixed.
Some are rushing to Beyoncé’s defense, posting photos that they say suggest she’s done videos of a similar style years prior. One person simply captioned their picture, “Beyonce 2009 try again,” insinuating that she was the original inspiration and that Noir would have to try harder to prove such a claim.
Others insist the similarities are impossible to deny, and are defending Petite Noir. One user writes, “the ridiculousness of how bluntly Beyoncé chopped Petite Noir’s work is beyond my comprehension.”
And while the original post on @Diet_Prada elicited some angry reactions, the majority of commenters appear to agree that the videos look too similar to be an accident. “Who is surprised?” one commenter wrote. “Beyoncé has been stealing and copying from smaller artists for a long time.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle: