REVIEW: Black Is King
Black Is King is a visual companion to Beyoncé Knowles' The Lion King: The Gift album in which she was inspired by the images of Africa and the story of a king once deposed returning to glory.
I remember how struck I was when Michelle Obama told the story at the 2016 Democratic National Convention where she saw her daughters playing on the White House lawn and having this epiphany that these little girls were playing in the house built on the back of slaves. She was reminded every moment how far we've come.
Yet, at the same time, as we look out at all the Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, we can't help but be reminded of how much things have stayed the same.
Black Is King tells the story of the world as it never was and how beautiful it can be. Like Michelle Obama saw a better world for her children, so does Beyoncé for hers. It is a gorgeous labor of love.
More than anything, Black Is King is a celebration of blackness on every level, from black men to black women, black adults to black children, darker skinned black people to lighter skinned black people, from black people of the African continent to the black people living here in the United States.
While this album is inspired by The Lion King, for those of you who turned it on looking for a Disney fairy tale in a straight on narrative. While the visual album shares clips of the various characters speaking various philosophy from the movie, you won't see any talking animals here. You will see, however, the return of the king in human form. And that's a beautiful thing.
I've got to give Disney credit for stretching the boundaries of its brand name to bring us projects such as this and Hamilton. They're daring moves to say the least.
On a personal note, I have to say that my heart filled with joy seeing images of Kelly Rowland and Beyoncé laughing and having fun together in "Brown Skin Girl." Destiny's Child is one of my favorite groups and I always savor a moment when they are together.
I'm not going to pretend like I understood every image, but I do appreciate it for the sheer artistry of it all and the message Beyoncé is trying to share with the world.