The film, which has a runtime of an hour and a half, premiered on Disney + early Friday morning and was directed and executive produced by Beyoncé. It includes songs from The Lion King: The Gift and was made for "today's young kings and queens in search of their own crowns,” Disney + said in a statement according to CNN.
In the enchanting film, the artist takes viewers on a journey through the motherland and beyond while presenting stunning visuals and bringing artists like Pharrell, Kelly Rowland and Jessie Reyez along for the ride. The film was shot over the course of a year in multiple locations including New York, Los Angeles, South Africa, West Africa, London and Belgium, reports CNN.
While the work was originally intended to be an accompaniment to The Lion King, Beyoncé said it now serves a greater purpose in an Instagram post ahead of its release.
“The events of 2020 have made the film’s vision and message even more relevant, as people across the world embark on a historic journey. We are all in search of safety and light,” the entertainer wrote. “I believe that when Black people tell our own stories, we can shift the axis of the world and tell our REAL history of generational wealth and richness of soul that are not told in our history books.”
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I typically keep comments short and sweet, but I just watched the trailer with my family and I’m excited. ????please don’t get me hype???????? “Black Is King” is a labor of love. It is my passion project that I have been filming, researching and editing day and night for the past year. I’ve given it my all and now it’s yours. It was originally filmed as a companion piece to “The Lion King: The Gift” soundtrack and meant to celebrate the breadth and beauty of Black ancestry. I could never have imagined that a year later, all the hard work that went into this production would serve a greater purpose. The events of 2020 have made the film’s vision and message even more relevant, as people across the world embark on a historic journey. We are all in search of safety and light. Many of us want change. I believe that when Black people tell our own stories, we can shift the axis of the world and tell our REAL history of generational wealth and richness of soul that are not told in our history books. With this visual album, I wanted to present elements of Black history and African tradition, with a modern twist and a universal message, and what it truly means to find your self-identity and build a legacy. 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. I only hope that from watching, you leave feeling inspired to continue building a legacy that impacts the world in an immeasurable way. I pray that everyone sees the beauty and resilience of our people. This is a story of how the people left MOST BROKEN have EXTRAORDINARY gifts.❤️✊???? Thank you to Blitz, Emmanuel, Ibra, Jenn, Pierre, Dikayl, Kwasi and all the brilliant creatives. Thank you to all at Disney for giving this Black woman the opportunity to tell this story. This experience has been an affirmation of a grander purpose. My only goal is that you watch it with your family and that it gives you pride. Love y’all, B
As souls everywhere continue to be nourished by the work, it remained a trending topic on Twitter on Friday.
Just finished. I can’t form my thoughts the way I really want to right now. NOBODY. And I mean NOBODY is fucking with Beyoncé! Tonight she officially transcended past the Moon. Past the stars. Past the solar system. She is the Galaxy of entertainment. Thank you, B!
— JIGGAMAN. (@imtoomuchnigga) July 31, 2020
Others couldn't help to notice that Bey has been her own competition since starting out in the game.
I don’t ever want to hear that beyoncé is overrated this woman has been doing this for more than 20 years and still manages to outdo herself every fucking time, always better concepts, better ideas, better visuals. BOW DOWN TO THE QUEEN #BlackIsKing
— sarcasmaa |34| (@saphireswhy) July 31, 2020
Many are applauding the fact that she showcased the beauty Africa has to offer as opposed to the visuals mainstream media outlets often perpetuate.
btw africanism isn't just poverty and poverty striken black kids with flies on their lip. our cultures are colourful and lively. beyoncé and all the african people she worked with on black is king made a beautiful adaptation of us.
— Tayoncé Defense Attorney (@BlueIvysDoormat) July 31, 2020
Y’all said she was only showing Africans in huts. She gave y’all mansions!
Y’all said the film wouldn’t show in Africa. She released the film on a Major African Network for Free!
Y’all said she was only showing Old Africa. She gave y’all Africa through Generations! #BlackIsKing
— Black Lives Matter (@QueenJay2017) July 31, 2020
Yoncè also said representation and gave us dark-skinned Black and Asian women.
I don’t think y’all understand what this Brown Skin Girl visual means. It just wrecked me. The celebration of every shade of brown skin is resetting the social norm. My god. “We were beautiful before they knew what beauty was.” #BlackIsKing
— Peachez Iman Cummings (@PeachezNYC) July 31, 2020
We all know Mrs. Knowles-Carter's fashion taste is bar none, but the Black Is King looks were next level. According to Vogue, she wore a number of high-fashion brand names from Balmain and Mugler to Burberry and Timothy White.
— Valentino (@DIORSBITCH) July 31, 2020