The day has arrived. Beyoncé has bestowed another gift on the world in the form of a breathtakingly beautiful visual album called Black Is King.
In just over one hour and 19 minutes, the Grammy-winning artist takes us on a mesmerising journey, reimagining her album The Gift released in July 2019 as a soundtrack for Disney’s recreation of The Lion King.
The film — now available to stream on — was directed, executive produced, and written by Beyoncé. It’s absolutely stunning, and “reimagines the lessons of The Lion King for today’s young kings and queens in search of their own crowns.”
Black Is King was also written by British poet Yrsa Daley-Ward, Jezebel’s culture editor Clover Hope, and Andrew Morrow, who worked on Lemonade and Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé. The film also features poetry by Somali-British writer Warsan Shire, read aloud by Beyoncé.
There are special appearances from a number of familiar faces, including Beyoncé’s close family and friends. You’ll spot her mother Tina Knowles Lawson, children Blue Ivy, Rumi, and Sir Carter, husband Jay-Z, and Destiny’s Child pal Kelly Rowland. A highlight of the visual album, ‘Brown Skin Girl’ features cameos from model Naomi Campbell and actor Lupita Nyong’o — and yes, they do sing the lyrics about themselves.
There are guest appearances from a number of Nigerian singers, including Tiwa Savage, Mr Eazi, Yemi Alade, and Wizkid. South African musicians Busiswa and Moonchild Sanelly also feature.
Other special appearances include American musicians Pharrell Williams, Nija Charles, and Tierra Whack, Ghanaian artists Shatta Wale and Lord Afrixana, Cameroonian music executive Salatiel, South Sudanese-Australian model Adut Akech, South Sudanese model Aweng Chuol, and Canadian singer Jessie Reyez.
The film is dedicated to Beyoncé’s son Sir Carter, and the following message can be read during the end credits.
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.
Black Is King was co-directed by Kwasi Fordjour, creative director at Beyoncé’s own company Parkwood Entertainment, and director credits include Emmanuel Adjei, Blitz Bazawule, Pierre Debusschere, Jenn Nkiru, Ibra Ake, Dikayl Rimmasch, Jake Nava, and Dafe Obaro.
If you don’t have Disney+ and would like a glimpse at the album, Beyoncé shared a new music video for her song “Already.” which is featured mid-way through the film.