This weekend, the Disney+ streaming service dropped Black is King. This film serves as a visual album for The Lion King: The Gift, the album Beyonce released to go along with The Lion King (2019). The film was written, produced, and directed by Beyonce Knowles-Carter along with a team of incredibly talented Black artists. This film takes the story of The Lion King and frames it in a real-life setting.
This film is visually stunning. There were so many moments in the film that celebrate the beauty in the world. Whether the shot was focusing on the filming locations like South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, New York, Los Angeles, London or Belgium, the beauty of the costuming, or the beauty of the Black men and women involved in the project, each frame was intentional and impactful. The colors that are used throughout the film are breathtaking and help frame the story in a way that brings this familiar tale to our homes. In my opinion, one of the most stunning numbers is “My Power” which uses stark costumes against white backgrounds.
In Black is King, we get a chance to see all members of the Carter family! Jay-Z makes an appearance in “MOOD 4 EVA” and their three children Rumi, Sir, and Blue Ivy also make multiple appearances throughout the film. In the credits, Beyonce writes that this film is “Dedicated to my son, Sir Carter. And to all our sons and daughters, the sun and the moon bow for you. You are the keys to the kingdom.”
Overall, I was thrilled to see a film on Disney+ that had an entirely Black cast. This film is especially poignant as we are in an era where the world is waking up and realizing the injustices Black people have faced for centuries, to see these stories told through their eyes is important. Two of my favorite songs in the film are “Brown Skin Girl” and “Keys to the Kingdom”, which are back to back in the film. The songs show so much joy and beauty and I could watch these sections of the film on repeat.
Overall, I hope that this is only the beginning of Disney+ amplifying Black voices and Black creators. These are stories that are important for the world to hear and see firsthand from the people that have experienced them. This film is absolutely gorgeous and is so refreshing to see in this day and age.