You guys, Beyoncé’s Disney+ debut of Black Is King has finally arrived.
The surprise top-secret project was announced last month during the Virtual BET Awards. When Beyoncé causally left us shook with a trailer promising us the content we so desperately need, via a bold visual celebration of Black culture through the ages. Then, as if we weren’t already hype enough, a day before its drop Queen Bey sneaked us a little peak with a second trailer in which she served us looks, colors and overall fierce-ness, as per usual.
And then just hours before the release of the highly anticipated feature film, Bey released the standalone music video for "Already," and it was everything we could have ever imagined and then some. See for yourself.
Black Is King is something of a reimagining of Disney’s live-action The Lion King, for which she voiced the lead female role of Nala, The film is composed of music videos for songs from The Gift, the album Beyoncé executive produced as a companion to the 2019 live-action remake of the Disney film. The film is additionally intertwined with portions of interviews with Black Americans and Africans. The main focus throughout the audio snippets is on the particular pressures Black men and women face as they grow up, and how commitment to community engagement can help you achieve “being a king.”
To absolutely no surprise, the Beyhive was at the ready on social to share their reactions and excitement over all the visuals, looks and overall lit-ness (that's a word right?) of the project.
Blessing us with visual albums is kind of Bey’s move, in 2017 she delivered the Peabody Award-winning record and stacked video compilation Lemonade, pieced together by her own narration. Beyoncé took us on emotional journey of dealing with relationships and infidelity. And we wouldn’t dare not mention the project that started it all, her 2013 self-titled album, which as far as we’re concerned, shifted the space-time continuum, spiraling us into an alternate dimension. And now, with Black Is King, Bey’s mission is 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."
Recalling the development process, Beyoncé expressed. "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."
Beyoncé is accompanied by cast of extras all throughout the film, and some of those faces should have been quite familiar. Of course, JAY-Z, and their three children, Blue Ivy, Rumi and Sir, all appear in the movie. In fact, Bey dedicated the film to her one and only son Sir Carter with the following message, “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.”
Additional appearances included her mother, Tina Knowles-Lawson, featuring some of her original artwork within the scene dressings. Kelly Rowland, Pharrell Williams, Jessie Reyez, Lupita Nyong’o, and Naomi Campbell are also just some cast members you undoubtably had to have recognized.
Throughout the film, Beyoncé fuses the fantastical narrative of The Lion King with a more universal message of Black heritage and legacy, expressing what it means to honor one’s ancestors, and the importance of passing down lessons from one generation to the next.
Black Is King can be viewed on Disney+. If you do not already have a membership, you can sign up here and select between $6.99 a month or $69.99 for a year.