New music from Beyoncé is always incredible, but a visual album inspired by The Lion King? Even better. Beyoncé’s Black is King is set to release for Disney+ on July 31. This news comes after the singer released the song “Black Parade” for Juneteenth.
This new visual album, which is written, directed, and produced by Beyoncé herself, is based off of music from The Lion King: The Gift, released last year as a complement to the live-action adaptation of Disney’s film. Beyoncé voiced the character Nala in this adaptation. According to statement from Disney and Parkwood Entertainment shared by Teen Vogue, the visual album, “is an affirmation of a grand purpose, with lush visuals that celebrate Black resilience and culture.” Parkwood Entertainment also added that “the visual album from Beyoncé reimagines the lessons of The Lion King for today’s young kings and queens in search of their own crowns.”
Walt Disney Studios released a minute-long trailer for the album, featuring visuals of Africa and African culture, as well as shots of Beyoncé holding her son.
In an Instagram post, Beyoncé called the album her “labor of love,” explaing that she worked on the album for a year. “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,” she wrote in the caption.
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 labor 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. 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 instills 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.❤️✊? Thank you to Blitz, Emmanuel, Ibra, Jenn, Pierre, Dikayl, Kwasi and all the brilliant creatives. Thank you to all at Disney for giving this Black woman the opportunity to tell this story. 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. Love y’all, B
With everything going on in the world right now, Beyoncé’s new album could not come at a better time. While the visuals for the album are — no surprise — absolutely stunning, the stories also celebrate Black lives and culture, which is so important in a time when many Black people feel as though they are struggling for their voices to be heard. Amidst the ongoing police brutality and systemic racism that continues to plague the U.S., Black Is King offers a glimpse into the beauty that, as Beyoncé wrote in her post, “instill pride and knowledge” into lives.