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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Featured on Beyoncé Song “Flawless”

December 22, 2013

By Nathaniel Simons, The Africa Channel

The news heard around the world – Your jaw most likely dropped when your Facebook and Twitter timeline flooded with the news that Beyoncé had released an album on December 13th at midnight.  Over 1.2 million tweets in the span of 12 hours signaled the utter shock that shook the web.  How was this release different?  There was no concentrated PR move, no appearances on late night talk shows, and no album release party.  Mrs. Carter simply posted a message on Instagram that read, “Surprise!”

But “surprise” is a bit of an understatement to describe all of the emotions that fans went through in learning that the album featured 14 brand new songs and 17 new music videos.  The 32-year-old singer and mother to Blue Ivy released the album via iTunes, and it sold nearly 500,000 copies within 24 hours.

One of the tracks on the album features Half of a Yellow Sun and Purple Hibiscus writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  The track, titled “Flawless,” pulls in samples from a TEDxEuston TEDTalk called “We should all be feminists,” in which the Nigerian-born Adichie describes how she views feminism.  While Beyoncé’s 30-second YouTube clip ( doesn’t include Chimamanda, the second verse does.  It samples from Adichie’s speech:

We teach girls to shrink themselves
To make themselves smaller
We say to girls
“You can have ambition
But not too much
You should aim to be successful
But not too successful
Otherwise you will threaten the man”
Because I am female
I am expected to aspire to marriage
I am expected to make my life choices
Always keeping in mind that
Marriage is the most important
Now marriage can be a source of
Joy and love and mutual support
But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage
And we don’t teach boys the same?
We raise girls to see each other as competitors
Not for jobs or for accomplishments
Which I think can be a good thing
But for the attention of men
We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings
In the way that boys are
Feminist: the person who believes in the social
Political, and economic equality of the sexes

What do you think of this collaboration? Have you listened to the track? We’d love to hear your thoughts!


Twitter: @NathanielSimons


Photo Sources: &


Chimamanda at TedxEuston TedTalk:


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