A trailer of Black Is King – a film by Beyoncé has been released by Parkwood Entertainment and Disney+ – to mixed reactions, before its premier on 31 July. To Beyoncé however, the making of Black Is King was a “labour of love”, and she hopes the film – which she directs and executive produces – will inspire many to “sees the beauty and resilience of our people.”
Taking to her Instagram page with a rare long post, the 24-time GRAMMY® Award-winner told her 150 million followers:
“I typically keep comments short and sweet, but I just watched the trailer with my family and I’m excited. Please don’t get me hype “Black Is King” is a labour 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,” she adds, and explains even further:
“The events of 2020 have made the film’s vision and message even more relevant, as people across the world embark on a historic journey. We are all in search of safety and light. Many of us want change.
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.
With this visual album, I wanted 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.
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 instils pride and knowledge.
I only hope that from watching, you leave feeling inspired to continue building a legacy that impacts the world in an immeasurable way. I pray that everyone sees the beauty and resilience of our people. This is a story of how the people left MOST BROKEN have EXTRAORDINARY gifts.”
She ends her posts with a heartfelt thank you and acknowledgment to the “brilliant creative” who worked with her, as well as to Disney “for giving this Black woman the opportunity to tell this story.”
Black Is King features an impressive list of diverse voices on its creative team, including directors Emmanuel Adjei (the film “Shahmaran”), Blitz Bazawule (the film “The Burial of Kojo”), Pierre Debusschere (“Mine” and “Ghost” videos for Beyoncé), Jenn Nkiru (“BLACK TO TECHNO” film), Ibra Ake (creative director and producer on “This is America” video for Childish Gambino), Dikayl Rimmasch (“CACHAO, UNO MAS” film), Jake Nava (“Crazy in Love,” “Single Ladies,” “Partition” videos for Beyoncé) and co-director and long-time collaborator of Beyoncé, Kwasi Fordjour.
“This experience has been an affirmation of a grander purpose. My only goal is that you watch it with your family and that it gives you pride,” Beyonce tells her funs.
And in press statement, Disney adds: “The film reimagines the lessons from the 2019 [“The Lion King] blockbuster for today’s young kings and queens in search of their own crowns.”
According to Disney+, a distribution deal has also been announced to make Black Is King, available on much of the African Continent, including South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Namibia, Cameroon, Liberia, Burundi, Senegal, Togo, Somalia, Benin, Congo, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Gabon, Cape Verde and many more countries through MultiChoice Group’s M-Net and Canal+ Afrique.
Filmed in various locations, the film’s cinematography captures beautiful people and landscapes across continents, starting in New York, then Los Angeles, South Africa, West Africa, London and Belgium. From all those places came an extraordinary cast of actors and dancers that influenced the film’s rich tableau and vibrant choreography.
The released trailer gives a glimpse of some of the special guests in the film. They include models Aweng Ade-Chuol and Adut Akech, supermodel Naomi Campbell, Tina Knowles-Lawson, author and Academy Award®-winning actor Lupita Nyong’o, singer Kelly Rowland, Pharrell Williams and JAY-Z, among others. Many artists featured on “The Lion King: The Gift” album also make appearances.
A celebratory memoir for the world on the black experience, “Black Is King” includes full-length videos for the songs “Already,” “Brown Skin Girl,” “Mood 4 Eva” and “My Power,” which is heard in the new trailer.