The live-action remake of The Lion King had a successful opening weekend as the film raked in $192 million, domestically. Beyoncé curated the The Lion King: The Gift album which partnered mainstream, American celebrities with African artists from various areas of the continent, but according to one singer, Bey neglected to feature anyone from Kenya.
TMZ spoke with John Katana, the lead singer of the popular Kenyan band Them Mushrooms and he stated that his band, if not other artists from Kenya, should have been included on The Gift. “No, no one called us,” he said. “We just read about it in the media, just like everyone else. There’s been a big debate on social media about that: Kenya missing out on The Lion King.”
He added, “The creatives in the country are complaining that Kenyan acts, if not Them Mushrooms, should have been on Beyoncé’s recording, you know? Because [hakuna matata] was made popular from Kenya by our band. So, everybody feels that Kenya should have had a piece of the pie, but that’s not the case.”
The Gift featured artists from all over Africa including Nigerian acts WizKid, Yemi Alade, Mr. Eazi, Burna Boy, and Tiwa Savage; Cameroon artist Salatiel; Ghana artist Shatta Wale; South Africa’s Busiswa and Moonchild Sanelly; as well as a number of producers and songwriters. There are over 50 countries in Africa and we’re certain not all were represented. However, because The Lion King is said to take place in East Africa, many believe Kenya should have been highlighted. Regardless, the album was a celebration of various cultures throughout the continent and it’s unfortunate that there are those that feel underrepresented.