Beyoncé’s ‘Black Is King’ features South African stars like Moonchild Sanelly, Nandi Madida, Connie Chiume and others.
The film, or visual album, is due to premiere on Disney plus on 31 July.
The month of July also marks the one-year anniversary of the remake of The Lion King in which the 24-time award winning artist voiced Nala.
Queen Bey did not only voice Nala, she also recorded new music and organised the companion album The Lion King: The Gift which featured several African artists.
On Sunday 28 June, Beyoncé surprised fans with a one-minute teaser trailer of her visual album titled Black Is King. She wrote, directed and executive produced the album.
‘Lion King’ for today
According to the press release, Black Is King “reimagines the lessons of The Lion King for today’s young kings and queens in search of their own crowns”.
The film, based on the music of The Gift, features some of the album’s collaborators and has other special guest appearances. These include South African artists Moonchild Sanelly, Nandi Madida, Connie Chiume, Nyaniso Dzedze and Warren Masemola.
It has been described as “a celebratory memoir for the world on the black experience”.
In an unusually frank Instagram post, Beyoncé wrote about the visual album which she worked on for a year.
“It is my passion project that I have been filming, researching and editing day and night for the past year,” she wrote.
“I’ve given it my all and now it 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.”
Tribute to journey
According to the statement, the film is explained as a tribute to the journey of black families throughout time. It tells the story of a young king’s “transcendent journey through betrayal, love and self-identity”.
His ancestors help guide him towards his fate, with his father’s teachings and guidance from his childhood. He earns the character needed to reclaim his home and throne.
The release notes: “These timeless lessons are revealed and reflected through black voices of today, now sitting in their own power”.
Beyoncé in the headlines
Beyoncé has been in the headlines all week — not only for the Black Is King project, but for also receiving the Humanitarian Award at the 2020 BET Awards on Sunday night.
This is the same day she announced the Black Is King visual album.
Her latest single, Black Parade, released on 19 June 2020 was the top-selling track in the United States (US) this past week with 18 000 downloads for the week ending 25 June, Billboard reported.
The song hit No 1 on the Digital Song Sales chart and brought in 7.8 million streams in during the week.