Yemi Alade Stars in Beyonce’s ‘Black is King’
Beyoncé’s visual Album “Black is King” unleashes extended trailer, starring Yemi Alade, Naomi Campbell, Lupita Nyong’o, and more. Ferdinand Ekechukwu reports
American singer, Beyonce Knowles has unveiled a second trailer for ‘Black Is King’, her new visual album that will premiere exclusively on Disney+ on July 31. The film is an adaptation of the music from her album, “The Lion King: The Gift,” and is set to arrive two weeks after the one-year anniversary of The Lion King’s live-action release. According to Disney, Black is King “reimagines the lessons from the 2019 blockbuster for today’s young kings and queens in search of their own crowns, inspired by “The Lion King: The Gift” album which featured African artistes.
Last month, the 24-time Grammy winner announced her new visual album “Black Is King” with the release of its first trailer, written, directed, and executive-produced by Beyoncé herself. After the release, people, especially from the black community had expressed varying opinions on how Africa was portrayed in the visual album which forced her to make another trailer, featuring appearances from Beyonce’s husband and collaborator Jay-Z; fellow Destiny’s Child member Kelly Rowland; Bey’s mother Tina Knowles-Lawson; actor Lupita Nyong’o; supermodels Naomi Campbell, Aweng Ade-Chuol, Adut Akech and more.
The film album will also feature guest artistes who appeared on the record, including Nigeria’s Yemi Alade, South Africa’s Busiswa Gqulu, and many more. In addition to its July 31st debut on Disney+, the project also secured a distribution deal with DStv that will allow viewing for those on the African continent. This includes South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Namibia, Cameroon, Liberia, Burundi, Senegal, Togo, Somalia, Benin, Congo, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Gabon, Cape Verde, and more.
Beyonce’s music and her thought-provoking, cinematic visuals are in sync with her black ideology. Following the success and impact of works like 2006’s B-Day video anthology, her self-titled surprise album in 2013, the massively-acclaimed Lemonade on HBO in 2016, and the exquisite 2019 Coachella documentary Homecoming, ‘Black is King’ continues the epic saga she’s been building with The Lion King. The new visual album is about to take viewers on a journey, displaying Black resilience, excellence and beauty.
“Life is a set of choices. Lead or be led astray,” Beyoncé warns as quick glimpses of a young king growing up and finding himself while navigating a tough life flash through the official trailer. Disney has previously said of the film: “The voyages of Black families, throughout time, are honored in a tale about a young king’s transcendent journey through betrayal, love and self-identity. His ancestors help guide him toward his destiny, and with his father’s teachings and guidance from his childhood love, he earns the virtues needed to reclaim his home and throne.”
At one minute and 22 seconds, the “Black is King” trailer shows some of Beyoncé’s famous friends and family, including Naomi Campbell dressed in white, rocking her signature long straight tresses, Mama Tina Knowles and Kelly Rowland enjoying themselves during a vibrant tea party, and Lupita Nyong’o striking a pose. In a teaser trailer shared in June, Beyoncé referred to “Black is King” as “a labor of love” and reflected what it’s been like spending the past year “filming, researching and editing day and night” to complete the “passion project.”
“I spent a lot of time exploring and absorbing the lessons of past generations and the rich history of different African customs. While working on this film, there were moments where I’ve felt overwhelmed, like many others on my creative team, but it was important to create a film that instills pride and knowledge,” she explained.
In addition to voicing a key character in the 2019 update to the classic story, the Grammy Award-winning artiste also produced and curated the film’s accompanying soundtrack titled “The Lion King: The Gift.” The album, which married the styles of Black and African music and artistes, received positive reviews from both critics and fans.
Fans will easily be able to recognize quotes from Simba and Scar in the new trailer, and the vivid cinematography and styling mirrors Beyoncé’s “Spirit” and “Bigger” music videos from the Lion King soundtrack. According to the press release, the visual album was filmed in New York, Los Angeles, South Africa, West Africa, London, and Belgium.
Beyonce is credited as writer, director and executive producer on ‘Black Is King’. Collaborators on the project include Bey’s frequent music video director Jake Nava, Pierre Debusschere, “This Is America” creative director Ibra Ake, filmmakers Blitz Bazawule, Emmanuel Adjei, Dikayl Rimmasch and Nigerian Jenn Nkiru. Popular Nigerian music video director, Meji Alabi, is also said to be among those who worked on the new project.