Pauses Beychella on Netflix, hey Alexa play Black Is King….
First of all I had already felt like the super duper promotional push for last year’s Lion King def drowned out the artistic fab-ness that was The Lion King: The Gift which was a companion album to the film’s official soundtrack, produced solely by Parkwood Ent. The music takes us on an upgraded yet retro look at how Blacks in America forgot about all the greatness in their true Kingdoms. Sort of like Wakanda, we are constantly transported back to a space where we walk with our heads high, crowns fall off of bowed heads you know.
Since Queen Bey has made her career off visualization, it was important for me to look at this Disney project from that lens. Right off the bat, I could tell the clothes were urban inspired by African designers. Growing up in Brooklyn, I can tell authentic fabric from the motherland a mile away, my Nigerian dress maker been putting me on for decades. She went there! Disney went there, ya’ll did that. The Lion King is my second fave Disney movie, the first being Beauty and The Beast duh. I realized that telling the story from the animal’s pov helped Disney shy away from depicting Black skin as powerful or ruling class. Beyonce changed that. I didn’t agree with her acting skills as Nala, I mean there were so many other choices, but she came through, as she usually does. In an unforgettable manner, she re-introduces us to her wokeness as a mother to Black children, at a time where Breonna Taylor’s cop killers are still free. It all kind of makes you go…hmmm. Yeah I know, her kids aren’t the Breonna Taylor’s of our worlds, but the message she sent is to Black mothers everywhere, our children are the keys to the kingdom.
Everyone hates on women in power. From Taylor Swift, the Nicki Minaj, to this one too. I understand the feeling of always needing to proof yourself to the greater world, but on this visual album it seems she dropped that completely. Maybe because her daughters are watching her. now. Blue has quickly become my fave Carter because she seems to maintain childlike abilities in a circle of adults. She’s a lit 7 year old (I think idk I dont really be minding ppls kids business – sorry not sorry!)
Visualization is the truth. Bey not only leaves messaging in her words and music but also in fashion and style. The project takes us through different kinds of Black kingdoms, here we see a debutant like offering, with Kelly’s melanin drip front and centered.
The musical project features afro-stars like Tiwa Savage, Wizkid, and Mr. Eazi to name a few. She also worked. with producers from the continent for a more authentic sound.