• Imani Santos

Beyoncé Releases Black Is King Visual Album

The 24-time Grammy award winning artist has finally released her highly anticipated third visual album, Black Is King on Disney+. Beyoncé’s Lion King: The Gift album was released on July 19th of last year which had been influenced by the new Lion King film with R&B, pop, Hip-hop and Afro beat influences. The album debuted at number 2 on Billboard’s 200 with a documentary following the process of how the project came to be released in September of last year as well. The singer teased the new release with a surprise one minute trailer back in June along with an Instagram post saying: “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 visual album was filmed over the course of one year in various locations including: Los Angeles, New York, West Africa, South Africa, Belgium and London. The film follows the journey of a young boy who eventually matures into a king. The film also touches on the Black American experience with a crowd of Black men holding up an American flag stylized in the Pan-African flag colors of black, red, and green half way through the video. Everyone from the dancers, singers and costume designers draw from multiple African subcultures and the visual even featured some of the South African, Ghanaian, Nigerian, Cameroonian and American artists that initially worked on the project.

This film overall truly celebrates African customs and the meaning of legacy. It follows closely to the Lion King’s original narrative with the young boy in the film symbolizing Simba and his rise to becoming king. This project comes as no surprise with the singer having already paid homage to the continent in past projects like The Gift and Homecoming, but with Black Is King in particular, Beyoncé connects the fictional story of The Lion King to the overarching lesson of following one's ancestors to guide them into a brighter future and a powerful legacy; and to also showcase the Black experience. Dedicating this project to her son, Sir Carter, she says: “Dedicated to my son, Sir Carter – and to all our sons and daughters, the sun and moon bow for you, you are the keys to the kingdom.”

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