We have not forgotten about Sundiata Keita. He was determined to walk and, miraculously, he did.
From the original animated film that debuted in 1994 to the 1997 Broadway musical performance, “The Lion King” remains one of the highest-grossing and longest-running shows in history. During his famous pilgrimage to Mecca, he built mosques in his wake and gave away so much gold that the price of gold was devalued for the next 25 years. The Mandinka people were taken over by the cruel and oppressive King Soumaoro Kante of the Sosso. We have merely chosen not to remember. As the movie once again captures the public imagination, it is time to use it as a way to take seriously African history, a topic that is sorely missing from our educational curriculum. When the king died, many suspected foul play. The continuing promotion of Western European literature, such as Shakespeare, has obscured our ability to see African narratives as equally significant. The most important news stories of the day, curated by Post editors and delivered every morning. With Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones, Whoopi Goldberg. Editors’ Notes Perhaps. Though the king favored him, both Sogolon and Sundiata were mercilessly mocked for his disability. The Lion King captures just enough of the original's warmhearted excitement -- and introduces enough new delights -- to feel like more than a cynical Disney money grab. The Lion King Roaring onto dazzling 4K Ultra HD™ for the first time—celebrate the full glory of Disney’s magnificent coming-of-age masterpiece, The Lion King! On Thursday, Disney will rerelease “The Lion King,” entirely redone in photorealistic computer animation. THIS COMPILATION ℗ 1994 BUENA VISTA PICTURES DISTRIBUTION, INC. It’s the story of a disabled man who overcame tremendous physical and political challenges and triumphed by building alliances. Did Disney base its story on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, unaware of the epic of Sundiata that preceded the Shakespearean tale by nearly 250 years?
It was also corroborated by Tunisian historian Abu Zayd and Moroccan traveler Muhammad ibn Battuta, both of whom traveled to Mali about 100 years after Sundiata’s death to learn of the Lion King’s existence and reign. Why have these origins been overlooked?
1994 Preview Editors’ Notes Disney’s feline fantasy was also the first collaboration between Tim Rice and Elton John. Ironically, we would all do well to learn the invaluable lesson Mufasa was trying to teach Simba. Copyright © 2020 Apple Inc. All rights reserved. It’s about a kingdom in West Africa that eventually became the biggest and richest empire in history, as Sundiata’s reign witnessed dominance in agriculture, gold and trade, and introduced cotton and weaving. He ruled his empire, which expanded from the Atlantic coast all the way to the Niger River, from 1235 to 1255. He gathered an army to liberate the Mandinka people and overthrow the Sosso king. However, we don’t always have to look to the future. In a similar vein, many were unaware of South African Zulu singer Solomon Ntsele Linda, the original singer and songwriter of the movie’s classic song, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” Linda was never compensated for his music nor acknowledged until recently, when the Netflix documentary “ReMastered: The Lion’s Share” investigated the history and the debt owed for Linda’s work. The familiarity of these rulers has mainly served to circulate the centrality and even supremacy of white European leaders. We can look at the past and present to imagine great African leaders. In need of their true leader, the people sent word for Sundiata to return and take his rightful place as the king.
But while Musa’s story is better known, the story of Sundiata’s reign is largely invisible in the West, despite the efforts of griots, or African storytellers, who have passed down the tale for generations. (The cast recording of "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" is a particularly buoyant take on the Oscar-winning hit.) One day, Sundiata had enough.
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