I wrote before asking whether Beyoncé’s video of Run The World was Homage or ripoff? (Beyoncé’s Run The World (Girls) in comparison to M.I.A.’s Boyz). I didn’t have a strong opinion one way or the other. I also thought this was an isolated occurrence, but apparently not.
Since then, here’s a video of her Countdown video spliced in with work of Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker
And here’s another performance, this time of her 2011 Performance at the Billboard awards put side by side with a work by Lorella Cuccari.
You can read criticism against her here (Beyoncé accused of ‘stealing’ dance moves in new video | Stage | guardian.co.uk) and supporting her here (Bob Dylan, Beyonce Face Questions Of Artistic License : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR)
Reading this material, I had the following thoughts, many of them contradictory
- this is merely video sampling. If you think it is acceptable to sample audio, why not video or choreography
- this is more than just sampling, this is taking major ideas without credit and using it to make your own copy of an original work
- this is good for the artists that Beyoncé uses: they get far more recognition than they would if she did not use their material
- this is bad for the artists, since they don’t receive any financial benefit from Beyoncé or the record label, and they if weren’t for the Internet, they’d get no credit
- Beyoncé is a great artist, and all artists steal
- If Beyoncé is a great artist, what is she bringing to the work? And why does she take so liberally from these artists?
- This has nothing to do with Beyoncé: it has to do with the video director. Beyoncé is mostly a singer and a dancer who depends on the director
- This has alot to do with Beyoncé since she is likely heavily involved with the video
Contradictory thoughts aside, I think this would be a non-issue if Beyoncé asked choreographers up front for either new work or permission to use their work and that she adequately compensated them. Beyoncé is a big star, and no doubt makes alot of money. Some of that money should go to the other artists that she depends on.