Pop royalty Beyonce on Friday released her much-hyped visual album ”Black Is King,” an aesthetically ambitious video billed as a companion to her 2019 album of songs inspired by Disney’s live-action remake of ”The Lion King.”
The highly stylized visual narrative released on the Disney Plus streaming platform runs an hour and 25 minutes and, akin to “The Lion King,” tells the story of a young boy who navigates an onerous world, finding himself far from his family.
The work is an ode to the black experience rife with vibrant imagery celebrating the African diaspora, an aesthetic exploration of black history, power and success that also references colonialism, economic disparity and racism.
Beyonce had described the work as a “labor of love,” that now serves ”a greater purpose” than its original role as a companion piece to ”The Lion King: The Gift,” given the current sociopolitical climate.
Mass anti-racism protests ignited following the police killing of a black man, George Floyd, in May as the coronavirus pandemic ravages the United States, disproportionately infecting people of color.
“Many of us want change,” Beyonce wrote on Instagram, rare personal words from the guarded celebrity.
”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.”
Powered by lush visuals and Beyonce’s soaring vocals, “Black Is King” places heavy emphasis on notions of family and motherhood along with more philosophical threads of origin and legacy.
A-Iisters including the superstar’s hip hop mogul husband Jay-Z, actress Lupita Nyong’o, jack-of-alltrades Pharrell Williams and model Naomi Campbell all feature in the production.
Beyonce’s mother Tina Knowles-Lawson and former Destiny’s Child bandmate Kelly Rowland also make appearances, as well as daughter Blue Ivy and rare footage of her twins, Rumi Carter and Sir Carter.