“Black Is King,” Beyoncé Knowles-Carter’s awaited visual album and celebration of African culture, premiered on the Disney+ streaming service on Friday, July 31, with celebrity cameos, striking visuals, and a strong message.
The film, which is an hour and 25 minutes long, features the music from Knowles-Carter’s 2019 album, “The Lion King: The Gift.” “Black Is King” was originally created as a companion to “The Lion King: The Gift,” and to celebrate the breadth and beauty of black ancestry,” a June 28 post on Knowles-Carter’s Instagram page stated. Knowles-Carter is the film’s director and also stars in “Black Is King.”
The post described “Black King” as a visual album, with elements of black history and African tradition, with a message of “what it truly means to find your self-identity and build a legacy.”
In the post, she described the film as “a labor of love” and as a passion project that she filmed, researched, and edited “day and night” for a year.
“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,” the post stated.
A description of the film on Disney+ stated that “Black Is King” “reimagines the lessons of the Lion King for today’s young kings and queens in search of their own crowns. The voyages of black families, throughout time, are honored in a tale about a young king’s transcendent journey through betrayal, love, and self-identity.”
“Black Is King” was filmed in western Africa and South Africa, according to a July 31 Rolling Stone article by Claire Shaffer. The film incorporates elements from African cultures, such as tribal body and hair-painting, as well as African languages. Zulu and Xhosa are spoken in “Black Is King,” according to the article.
In addition to Knowles-Carter, viewers can expect appearances from Lupita Nyong’o, Naomi Campbell, Blue Ivy Carter, Knowles Carter’s daughter, and Pharrell Williams, according to IMDb.
The official video for “Already,” in “Black Is King” includes voiceovers from the 2019 film, “The Lion King,” as Simba bemoans that he doesn’t know who he is, while Rafiki shows him. “Already” has a similar clarity, with lyrics including “remember who you are,” and “real king always win.” Videos for “My Power,” “Mood 4 Eva,” and “Brown Skin Girl,” are also included in the film.
“The film is a story for the ages that informs and rebuilds the present,” the description on Disney+ stated. “A reunion of cultures and shared generational beliefs. A story of how the people left most broken have an extraordinary gift and a purposeful future."
Watch “Black Is King,” on the Disney+ streaming service, https://www.disneyplus.com/.