Beyonce (and Blue Ivy!) Dance, Sing and Slay in Empowering New Visual Album Black Is King
Set to her 2019 Lion King: The Gift album, Beyoncé's stunning new visual offering Black Is King features 8-year-old daughter Blue Ivy throughout—and further proves the star's never-ending reign
Black Is King is the gift that keeps on giving.
Beyoncé's new visual album takes her 2019 musical release Lion King: The Gift to a whole new level, offering fans an ornate and uplifting trip through Africa's gorgeous landscape and culture, with Queen Bey as their gracious and glamorous guide.
After weeks of teasing, the superstar, 38, dropped the new project at 12 a.m. PT/ 3 a.m. ET on Disney+, sending the international Beyhive into a frenzy from the start of the opening scenes. Overnight, the nearly one and a half-hour project—which comes a year after Disney's theatrical release of The Lion King, starring Beyonce as Nala—instantly became the top trending topic on Twitter. The platform even created a custom 'like' animation portraying lions when #BlackIsKing is used.
While it's impossible to steal the show from Beyoncé, her 8-year-old daughter Blue Ivy comes close, making multiple cameos throughout and even showing off her impressive dance skills. Other notable cameos included the star's 3-year-old twins Rumi and Sir, husband JAY-Z, Naomi Campbell, Pharrell, Jessie Reyez, Lupita Nyong'o, Tiwa Savage, Tierra Whack and numerous other Black and African actors and Afrobeats stars.
As the description for the new film states, "This visual album from Beyoncé reimagines the lessons of The Lion King for today's young kings and queens in search of their own crowns." Debuting amid the ongoing global Black Lives Matter movement for equality and justice, the star's latest work sets out to inspire Black youth while paying homage to Africa, an effort Beyoncé makes beautifully evident in every scene.
Here 5 things to watch, listen for and just lose it over in Black Is King
1. Blue Ivy Springs Up Everywhere, and She's Got the Moves!
Beyonce's eldest makes at least five appearances in the new visual album and can be seen everywhere from being cradled and kissed by mom to rocking her hips to the music. The latter display takes place during the song "My Power" feat. Tierra Whack, Moonchild Sanelly, Nija, Busiswa, DJ Lag and Yemi Alade.
Fans get another listen to Blue Ivy's singing skills in "Brown Skin Girl," for which she along with mom were nominated for a Grammy and an Oscar. "She is a very, very lovely girl," Naomi Campbell recently said of spending time with the young star-in-the-making. In other moments throughout the film, she flashes her sweet smile, walks along the beach and sits regally as the proud young heir to the throne that she is.
2. Beyonce's Style Stuns Like Never Before
Crowns off to costume designer Zerina Akers who outdoes herself on this project, cloaking Beyoncé and other actors and dancers in countless couture looks that merge traditional and modern African fashion trends with added regal and futuristic flare.
There's even a red and pink bathing suit with a sky-high headpiece that makes a visual splash as the star takes a dip during the song "Mood 4 Eva." The epic style moments, like those being lauded in her featured new video for "Already," are just too many to count and too gorgeous to miss.
3. JAY-Z Rolls Through In Style
For the song "Mood 4 Eva" the Knowles-Carter family shows their full prowess and JAY-Z makes his grand entrance onto the screen, rolling up to a mansion with his feet kicked up in the back of a drop-top Bentley. The film's fourth full song (likely a nod to the couple's love for the number 4) shows them floating and gloating around the estate, at one point standing in front of a Renaissance-like painting of Beyoncé, Blue Ivy and twins Rumi and Sir.
Servants wait on them hand and foot and in one scene the two sit bedside, eating and laughing over dinner in front of the TV. The video makes the powerful pair look cooler and more connected than ever before. In the film's opening song "Bigger," Beyoncé seems to give insight into their current bond and past struggles, singing "Trying to be a good wife/ Still really hard I can’t lie/ But I promised you I would fight/ I'm gonna fight…forgiveness is key."
4. The Stars Come Out for Queen Bey
Lupita, Naomi, Pharrell, Oh my! Black Is King features cameos by some of the biggest Black stars around. Nyong'o, who famously freaked out last year when she heard she was name-dropped in the song "Brown Skin Girl," gets her chance to shine in the film, alongside supermodel Naomi Campbell, singer and Beyoncé bestie Kelly Rowland and striking South Sudanese model Adut Akech, among others.
In the song "Water" featuring Pharrell and Salatiel, the "Happy" singer rocks out on a colorful platform in the middle of a field and Beyoncé shows off her impressive physique and dance skills from a warehouse. Other notable performances came courtesy of young stars Jessie Reyez, Tiwa Savage and Tierra Whack.
5. In Black Is King, Africa and Its People Reign Supreme
From the film's breathtaking landscape views to the gifted actors and performers it shows, the biggest takeaway from Black Is King is the unmatched beauty of Africa. Beyoncé and Disney seem to spare no expense showcasing the terrain and the talents of the world's second-largest continent. In any given scene Beyoncé is set against lush forests, rushing rivers, calm seas and bustling inner-city backdrops.
"It's a love letter to Africa," she previously said of The Gift album, and she proves it with Black Is King, relying on the numerous actors, dancers, models hailing from Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and other countries in between, to bring the story of Simba's journey and Afrobeat music to life. Stars like Wizkid, Shatta Wale, Moonchild Sanelly and more took to social media to thank the star for inviting them to share in her huge platform.
As expected, Beyoncé's latest work did not disappoint, though it did leave some fans in a pinch. As one Joshua Chenault hilariously put it on Twitter, "How Beyoncé expect me to stream this masterpiece, learn choreography and be at work on time? #BlackIsKing".
Black Is King is available now on Disney+