‘Inspired’ to bounce off others

2011-10-28 12:15

It appears that pop star Beyoncé Knowles is taking Pablo Picasso’s quote to heart: “Good artists copy, great artists steal.”

Her work may have earned her numerous awards and accolades, including 16 Grammies and 11 MTV Video Music Awards. But there are many questions around the Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) hit-maker’s creativity.

This year alone, plagiarism allegations have hit Knowles twice.

First it was her magnificent Run the World (Girls) performance at this year’s Billboard Awards which, it has since emerged, was originally done by little-known Italian pop star Lorella Cuccarini.

Knowles responded: “My makeup artist showed me the performance of Lorella Cuccarini a year ago, and it inspired me so much.”

She told AOL Music: “I then met with the talented people who worked on it. The technology and concept were so genius. Thank God for YouTube or I would have never been exposed to something so inspiring. I never worked so hard on anything in my life as that performance.”

The second accusation that might sully the songbird’s reputation stems from her latest hit, Countdown.

Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker has blasted Knowles for stealing her dance moves and costume designs on the video of her songs Rosas danst Rosas.

“I’m not mad, but this is plagiarism. This is stealing. It’s a bit rude. What’s rude about it is that they don’t even bother hiding it,” complained Keersmaeker.

Knowles defended herself saying: “Clearly, the ballet Rosas danst Rosas was one of many references for my video of Countdown. It was one of the inspirations used to bring the feel and look of the song to life”.

Keersmaeker has forwarded the matter to her lawyers.

It is common knowledge that Knowles also looked down south for inspiration for the video of Run The World (Girls).

She roped in the services of Mozambican kwaito dance troupe Tofo Tofo to teach her the moves and they even feature in the video itself.

The difference here is that she acknowledged upfront the contribution of the African dancers.

Beyoncé made sure that she didn’t leave South African photographer Pieter Hugo’s creative concepts behind as she also used them in the video. As usual her defence was “inspiration”.

For her choreography on Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It), Knowles said she was also “inspired” by Bob Fosse’s 1969 video.

Even her songwriting skills have come under question after unknown US singer Britney Jean Carlson claimed that she was in fact the writer of If I Were A Boy, another of Beyoncé’s hits.

In her album Dangerously in Love the singer sponged enough from the 70s. She used a track sample from The Chi-Lites group and utilised it in one of her hits Crazy in Love, which she sang with husband Jay-Z.

She made sure not to leave out a song by Donna Summer, Love to Love You Baby, renaming it Naughty Girl.

The singer has numerous videos and stage performances that were duplicated from other artists, including Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Kylie Minogue, Aaliyah and Ciara.

Some of her detractors believe that if she samples a video and does justice to it, then there is no harm done because that’s what happens in the industry anyway.

» Sources: http://www.france24.com/en/20111010-belgian-dance-legend-accuses-Beyoncé-stealing-moves

http://theperformanceclub.org/2011/10/anne-teresa-de-keersmaeker-responds-to-Beyoncé-video/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2011/oct/10/Beyoncé-dance-moves-new-video

http://www.justcurious.co.za/2011/10/kelly-Beyoncé-destinys-thieves/ 

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