BLACK IS KING, AND OUR QUEEN HAS SPOKEN: BEYONCE DELIVERS YET ANOTHER SONIC AND VISUAL MASTERPIECE
Text by Charlie Long
JULY 31st 2020
The queen of music, performance and visuals has returned in true Beyoncé form with yet another sonic and visual masterpiece, ‘Black Is King’, which debuted on Disney Plus on the July 31st.
The film is the visual second half to the awe-inspiring bey-curated masterpiece, ‘The Gift’, which played sound track to the live action re-make of the Disney classic, ‘The Lion King’, last summer. Both the album and the film are inspired by Africa, showing history, heritage and beauty in the most prolific and jaw-dropping visual experience that could only be executed by music firsts lady herself, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. Whilst Beyoncé is no stranger to the ‘visual album’, with ‘Black is King’ being her third following her self titled (2013) and the infamously legendary ‘Lemonade’ (2016), it felt very different. It is as if Beyoncé can’t help but continuously take her art up a notch every time, she sets the bar higher, she makes our jaws drop lower and she inspires us more with every perfectly executed image.
Fundamentally, Black Is King speaks to the beauty and excellence of blackness. The film transports you through history without feeling to contrived, with simple imagery, high energy dancers and a clear vibrant love that just radiates from our screens. The film is an unapologetic statement of black unity and black pride, with records such as ‘Brown Skin Girl’, Beyoncé reminds black women to love the skin they are in, love their blackness, embrace their blackness, be proud of their blackness. It is a love letter to Africa, it’s people and its culture.
Beyoncé has described this project as a “labour of love”, co-directed by Kwasi Fordjour, the Ghanaian creative director of her Parkwood Entertainment company, with additional input from creatives from all across Africa. Nothing feels out of place and the excitement for each scene leaves you on the edge of your seat throughout. It is impossible to watch the emotive story unfold, accompanied by Warsan Shire’s poetry, Yrsa Daley-Ward’s writing and warm images of west Africa, without feeling emotional. Not to mention the scene that has everyone talking where Beyoncé and long-time sister Kelly Rowland have an emotional embrace as Beyoncé serenades her through ‘Brown Skin Girl’.
The film is an ode to blackness, pushing past the star-studded cast of Naomi Campbell, Jay-Z and Pharrell amongst others, it ultimately takes you on a journey through just a small portion of beautiful cultures that exist throughout the world. Beyoncé, we bow to thee.