Beyoncé’s highly anticipated visual album “Black is King” was finally released on Disney Plus on July 31. The visual album was written, directed and executively produced by Beyoncé herself.
There are special appearances by Jay-Z, Tina Knowles-Lawson, Kelly Rowland and Blue Ivy, as well as some other familiar faces like Lupita Nyongo, Naomi Campbell and Pharell.
In 2019, Beyoncé was the voice actress of Nala for the live-action Lion King. Her album “The Lion King: The Gift” was the companion for the live-action film but she gave it her own twist, according to Variety.com.
“I wanted to put everyone on their own journey to link the storyline,” Beyoncé said in an Instagram post. “Each song was written to reflect the film’s storytelling that gives the listener a chance to imagine their own imagery while listening to a new contemporary interpretation.”
She wanted to create an album that celebrates Black creativity and culture. This was her inspiration for her visual album. When viewers see the album as a whole, they will see the story of Simba being portrayed by a Black child.
The young king was displaced from his kingdom. Throughout the film, we go through his journey back to his kingdom in his request to reclaim the throne with the queen.
“With this visual album, I wanted to present elements of Black history and African tradition, with a modern twist and a universal message, and what it truly means to find your self-identity and build a legacy,” Beyoncé said in an Instagram post.
Beyoncé traveled across the world to find many international artists to create a unique and authentic album that consisted of many artists, producers and directors such as Shatta Watta, Ibra Ake and Emmanuel Adjei.
“This is a new experience of storytelling,” Beyoncé said in an interview with Pitchfork. “I wanted to do more than find a collection of songs that were inspired by the film. It is a mixture of genres and collaboration that isn’t one sound. It is influenced by everything from R&B, pop, hip hop and Afro Beat.”
Director and photographer Joshua Kissi stated that creating the film in multiple locations allowed the film to have more than one definition of what it means to be Black.
“This is the first time where we get to have a global conversation within the diaspora and beyond what it means to be Black and what it means to be African at that,” Kissi said in an interview with Teen Vogue.
The featured locations included New York, Los Angeles, South Africa, West Africa, London and Belgium.
Beyoncé stated in an Instagram post that her hope is for the film to inspire people to continue to leave a legacy and a positive impact on others.
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I typically keep comments short and sweet, but I just watched the trailer with my family and I’m excited. 🎶please don’t get me hype🎶🤪 “Black Is King” is a labor of love. It is my passion project that I have been filming, researching and editing day and night for the past year. I’ve given it my all and now it’s yours. It was originally filmed as a companion piece to “The Lion King: The Gift” soundtrack and meant to celebrate the breadth and beauty of Black ancestry. I could never have imagined that a year later, all the hard work that went into this production would serve a greater purpose. The events of 2020 have made the film’s vision and message even more relevant, as people across the world embark on a historic journey. We are all in search of safety and light. Many of us want change. I believe that when Black people tell our own stories, we can shift the axis of the world and tell our REAL history of generational wealth and richness of soul that are not told in our history books. With this visual album, I wanted to present elements of Black history and African tradition, with a modern twist and a universal message, and what it truly means to find your self-identity and build a legacy. I spent a lot of time exploring and absorbing the lessons of past generations and the rich history of different African customs. While working on this film, there were moments where I’ve felt overwhelmed, like many others on my creative team, but it was important to create a film that instills pride and knowledge. I only hope that from watching, you leave feeling inspired to continue building a legacy that impacts the world in an immeasurable way. I pray that everyone sees the beauty and resilience of our people. This is a story of how the people left MOST BROKEN have EXTRAORDINARY gifts.❤️✊🏾 Thank you to Blitz, Emmanuel, Ibra, Jenn, Pierre, Dikayl, Kwasi and all the brilliant creatives. Thank you to all at Disney for giving this Black woman the opportunity to tell this story. This experience has been an affirmation of a grander purpose. My only goal is that you watch it with your family and that it gives you pride. Love y’all, B
“I only hope that from watching, you leave feeling inspired to continue building a legacy that impacts the world in an immeasurable way. I pray that everyone sees the beauty and resilience of our people.”