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July 29, 2011

Tofo Tofo: Mozambican Kwaito Dance Group Inspires Beyoncé's "Run The World (Girls)" Video

I recently caught "Year of 4", a documentary on MTV chronicling Beyoncé's road to the release of her 4th solo album entitled "4".  The beginning of the documentary showed Beyoncé at the beach explaining how much she loves the water and how the ocean humbles her and keeps her at peace.  Unlike other documentaries Beyoncé has released, this one seemed more close to home and more REAL.  She seems to really have come into her own and no longer resembles that insecure young lady that was afraid to mess up or make mistakes.  She also talks about how her mother pretty much had to force her to take a year off as she explained that she did not want Beyoncé to live with the regret of not living her life while following her dream.  A tougher, more confident and secure Beyoncé (not her alter ego Sasha Fierce) was seen learning dance moves, calling the shots, and rallying her troops in preparation for the release of her 4th solo album.

What also really stood out to me in this documentary was how she explained the inspiration for the 1st dance scene in the video where she is in the sand, accompanied by two African dancers as they do some major footwork alongside her.  The dancing is impressive to say the least.  She then went on to explain that she saw the dance group on Youtube and made a mental note that she would use their talents in the future.  Fast forward to the making of her video for Run The World (Girls) as the camera shows 3 eager dancers from Mozambique on a plane set to arrive in the United States to school Beyoncé and her dancing crew.

The young men are energetic and enthusiastic as they experience the U.S. for the first time in their lives.  I really love that Beyoncé didn't just steal the moves that the men featured on Youtube, but actually gave them a chance to be involved and get some international pop star shine.  Besides, no one else could seem to do it to her liking, but these guys.  After their scene is done and the three dancers are free to leave the set, Beyoncé is shown with tears falling from her eyes.  She explained that she understood how they probably felt leaving their first video shoot, not knowing when they would ever be on another set again, doing what they love.  She explained that this is how she felt leaving her first video shoot as she recalls she didn't want to leave.  Seeing this strong, yet vulnerable side to Beyoncé was really an eye opener and made me love her that much more.

Music and dance originate in Africa.  The same booty shaking and gyrating that we see on videos today derive from countries in Africa that were inspired by the drum.  This may not be commonly known, but it is fact.  To see these brothers get their shine is empowering because I am very big on influence and appreciation of history and heritage.  All in all, the documentary was very entertaining and you definitely get to see another side of Beyoncé.

Check out a video of the dance group called Tofo Tofo from Mozambique.  This video inspired Beyoncé to search for these dancers for four months leading up to the video shoot:

Now here is Beyoncé's Run The World (Girls) video, which I am sure you all have seen.  Notice any similarities?

You can also check out the entire episode here on MTV:

What are your thoughts on the videos?
Do you like this dancing style from Mozambique?
Do you think Beyoncé is always stealing from someone?

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