South African stars feature in Beyoncé’s 'Black is King' visual album

SA talent for the win

By Tegan Mouton

South African stars feature in Beyoncé’s ‘Black is King’ visual album

Beyonce Black is King

American superstar Beyoncé is the music industry’s resident Midas, since everything she touches turns to gold.

But the recent release of her visual album Black is King (originally intended to be a companion piece to the Lion King’s The Gift soundtrack, which was also curated by the musician) was particularly exciting for fans.

The star’s “passion project”, which she directed and produced herself, is a visually stunning body of work that explores American black history and African history “with a modern twist and universal message,” according to the musician.

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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

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Taking to Instagram the star wrote, “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.

“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.”

The entire video release and promotion was pretty major for Beyoncé fans since the star is usually quite secretive about her work and creative process, but what’s even more exciting for South African fans is that they can spot some of their favourite local stars in the film!

Black is King, which initially dropped on July 31 on Disney+, features local stars like Nambitha Ben Mazwi, Connie Chiume, Nandi Madida, Warren Masemola, Moonchild Sanelly, Busiswa and Nyaniso Dzedze. The fact that Queen Bee actually used African creatives in a film that celebrates Africa is exciting, considering that the international industry has historically overlooked rich African talent, so we are here for it.

The project also features international stars like her husband Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell Williams, Childish Gambino and even her young daughter Blue Ivy.

So, in conclusion, all hail Beyoncé.

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