Africa is very diverse in culture and home to the world’s oldest civilization. Hollywood and many pop culture pinnacles have touched the continent for new inspiration.

Below are some recent examples of African cultures influencing popular culture.

Black Panther

This Marvel movie broke many records, won awards and nominations. Many of its rich scene of an Afro-futuristic world was influenced by actual African cultures. In some scenes actual footage taken of the continent helped build the scenery.


“One Dance” by Drake

This 2016 hit sold millions of copies and dominated on global music charts for weeks at a stretch. It was an afro-fusion song which sampled Afropop Artist Wizkid and Kyla!


“Unforgettable” by French Montana

French Montana’s 2017 “Unforgettable” was influenced by afro-music. It drove to the top of the charts and sold millions of copies. The video featured scenes from Uganda’s ghetto and as of today is at almost 1billion views.


Star Wars

Star wars immediately built a cult following when it hit the big screens in 1970s. One lesser known fact is that a lot of major scenes from this cult classic were actually shot in Tunisia. Scenes which helped its directors create the star wars universe.


“This is America” by Donald Glover

With no promo, Childish Gambino dropped his Satirical piece titled “This is America” in 2018. It which gained over 50milion views in just 4 days. The video received general acclaim for its take on US politics and social issues but also was notable for his use of African dance expressions inspired by South African Gwara Gwara dance, Shaku Shaku dance from Nigeria, Alkayida and Azonto from Ghana as well as dances from Uganda, Angola and Rwanda.


The Weeknd Discography

Fans of the Grammy Award winner know he often credits great Ethiopian Amharic singers and legends for their influence in his music. These sounds are heard clearly on false alarm where he samples Aster Aweke and last few seconds of his 2015 song “The Hills” currently at 1.3 billion views.


Anansi, the Spider on American Gods

The Starz original series often touches on myth beings from several cultures. In the most memorable scene of the series, Ghanaian myth creature Anansi is introduced with distinct African drums rumbling throughout the scene.


Super Eagles Nike Jersey

For the 2018 world cup, Nike dropped a unique design style jersey for the Nigerian team. It was not only inspired by African, tropical patterns but also by a more Retro jersey of the 1997 Nigerian team. The jersey sold out, broke records and is one of Nike’s best-selling products.


Movies about Egypt

The most featured country on the African continent in Hollywood has been Egypt. With 14 high-grossing movies ranked as the top movies about ancient Egypt. Egypt is also currently the most visited country in Africa.


Lemonde Album by Beyonce

Beyonce released her most acclaimed album titled “Lemonade” in 2016. The album drew on different aspects of the black experience in America. It infused African culture in its visuals with patterns, African Spirituality, and design. The album debuted at number 1 and went on to sell millions of copies worldwide.


“All the stars” Kendrick Lamar ft Sza

Kendrick is an artist known for his visuals and hard hitting poetic music. He drew most from the African continent with his 2018 Music Video “All the stars”. The song featured another black powerhouse singer Sza. The video currently has almost 200m views.



These have been some of the most powerful examples in recent times. There are other examples that highlight the richness of African cultures.

Even though there are still many difficulties for African creatives and creatives in general looking to gain inspiration from African cultures, these examples show that the world is interested in what the continent has to offer.

#OpenCall Artnoiseng 2019 Programs- Apply Now

Artnoise invites Afro-inspired Artists from across the world to be part of its 2019 on-going calls in Kenya and Tunisia and Canada.

Programs offer funding and travel allowance to applicants and of course new opportunities to gain inspiration, develop personal craft and complete new projects.

Apply here #OpenCall Artnoiseng 2019 Programs

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1 Comment

  1. Manesha
    March 14, 2019 at 10:21 am — Reply

    This is actually a really cool post, it would be great if the post had the youtube link to directly go to the songs. I think 2018 was a great year for Africa music, hopefully bigger and better.

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