When Beyoncé and Jay-Z saluted the classic of African cinema

“Kuki-buki”: when Beyoncé and Jay-Z saluted the classics of African cinema

(Sources: Far Out / MUBI / RocNation)


A dynamic couple in the music and entertainment industry, Beyoncé and Jay-Z have become famous not only for their chart-topping hits, but also for their commitment to shining a light on important cultural and artistic endeavors. Their powerful influence extends far beyond music and extends into film and the arts, where they use their significant platform to promote meaningful, relevant and vital projects.

One such notable occasion occurred when they brought a visionary 1970s Senegalese film into the global spotlight, reaffirming their commitment to celebrating diverse and impactful cinema. The film in question was Touki BukiA cinematic masterpiece created by Senegalese director Djibril Diop Mambéty in 1973. This avant-garde gem is a seminal work in African cinema, renowned for its innovative storytelling and profound exploration of cultural identity and social change.



Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s appreciation for Mambéty’s project was instrumental in bringing this Senegalese cinematic treasure back into the spotlight. During their 2018 On the Run II world tour, the power couple incorporated elements of the film into their performances, captivating audiences around the world with their celebration of Black culture and identity.

One image in particular defined it: Jay-Z riding a motorcycle with horns and a zebu skull protruding from it. He looks thoughtfully into the distance, and Beyoncé sits behind him, with her hands on her shoulders, looking at the camera from behind his torso.

Inclusion Touki Buki Their world tour was a profound tribute to the storytelling and cultural significance of the film, which is widely considered one of the greatest works of avant-garde African cinema. Through stunning visual references and thematic elements that echo the spirit of Mambéty’s film, Beyoncé and Jay-Z pay tribute to the film’s enduring influence. Touki Buki and reminded us of its continuing resonance in contemporary art and culture. Renowned director Martin Scorsese even included it in his list of 253 films worth watching.

Mambéty’s film is a mesmerizing and thought-provoking story set against the backdrop of post-colonial Senegal. The film follows the lives of Mori, a charismatic shepherd who dreams of escaping to France, and Anta, a university student looking for a bright future abroad. Their intersecting journeys are intertwined with rich symbolism and powerful imagery, reflecting the complexities of modernity and tradition in Senegal.

Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s forward-thinking approach to celebration Touki Buki and integrating their visual identity into a global multi-billion dollar media campaign underscored their commitment to amplifying diverse voices and marginalized narratives in the world of entertainment. Through their advocacy, they breathed new life into a gem of cinema, inviting audiences to explore the rich tapestry of Senegalese culture and cinema.

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