In 2019 Beyoncé released a companion album to the live remake of “The Lion King.” This album, aptly named “The Gift,” was a gift, in that it celebrated the beauty of blackness and featured a few incredible African artists. This past weekend Beyoncé released the visual album on Disney + (plus) titled ‘Black is King.’ ‘Black is King’ is the reimagination of ‘The Lion King’ and it continues the celebration of the African diaspora and blackness.
Beyoncé is a woman of many gifts but one talent, in particular, that cannot be emphasized enough, is her discernment in collaboration. All of the artists that played a role in the production of ‘Black is King,’ were extraordinarily gifted. What a beautiful piece of art.
“‘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.”
Zerina Akers, who is a curator of wardrobes and a designer of costumes, did an amazing job with the fashion on this project. Every garment, every look, is a standalone moment. Akers talent as a stylist really jumps out scene after scene. Kwasi Fordjour, Parkwood Entertainment’s creative director, flexed his skills as the co-director of this project. How impactful is Fordjour? Well just know when the credits roll at the end of the film his name follows Beyoncé’s.
In her own words, Beyoncé introduced her film prior to its release saying, “I worked with a diverse group of very gifted directors and actors and creatives from all over the world to re-imagine the story of The Lion King. The narrative unfolds through music videos, fashion, dance, beautiful natural settings, and raw, new talent.”
She continued, “But it all started in my backyard. So, from my house, to Johannesburg to Ghana to London to Belgium to the Grand Canyon, it was truly a journey to bring this film to life. And my hope for this film is that it shifts the global perception of the word ‘Black,’ which has always meant inspiration and love and strength and beauty to me. ‘Black Is King’ means Black is regal and rich in history, in purpose, and in lineage. I hope y’all love it, I hope you enjoy, and I hope y’all see it tonight.”
The opulence and regality in ‘Black is King’ is a rare visual treat. There are also some beautiful quiet moments like the look Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland share during ‘Brown Skinned Girls’ or seeing Mary Twala of South Africa on screen who sadly passed away a month before this film was released.
The film can be viewed on Disney + (plus) and for more information on the fashion visit the “Black Parade” tab on Beyonce.com where Zerina Akers is featuring African-Owned businesses.