In an atypical trend, Beyoncé truly warned us in regards to the greatness that was to return: Black Is King, a visible album to observe The Lion King: The Present, dropped on Disney+ on July 31. Though the album’s official description tells us it “reimagines the teachings of The Lion King for right now’s younger kings and queens seeking their very own crowns,” I used to be not ready for the unimaginable method the story can be informed. When Beyoncé took the reins of the unique concept of a younger boy studying to be a king, she ran with it to create one thing all her personal, merely utilizing The Lion King as a blueprint for the story of progress.
Black Is King‘s references to the Disney motion pictures (each the 1994 authentic and the 2019 live-action model) start instantly, and vary from in-your-face shoutouts to refined nods. The unmistakable baritone of James Earl Jones (aka Mufasa) will be heard in the course of the opening photographs of Black individuals proudly standing in numerous components of nature and a basket floating in a river, reciting the identical speech that started in The Lion King. As the primary tune, “Greater”, begins, Beyonce is seen portray the face of somewhat boy, just like the way in which Rafiki does with Simba. There are photographs of the identical boy seated on a throne that observe. The scene is just not solely a nod to the unique story’s ending, however a picture not many younger Black males get to see.
The query “who’re you?” is repeated all through Black Is King, simply as it’s a central theme of The Lion King. The query is first uttered within the scene earlier than “Ja Ara E” begins. A person holding a snake asks the younger boy who he’s after he trails a monkey right into a mysterious place and is guided to what looks as if dangerous influences. This scene turns into a bike stampede that finally results in Mufasa’s premature loss of life — one other plain reference to the unique that’s depicted in a singular method.
The joyful scenes in “Temper four Eva” are purposely parallel to the scenes from The Lion King‘s iconic “I Simply Cannot Wait to Be King” quantity, a colourful and vivid preview of what is to return for the younger king. There’s Billy Eichner’s voiceover explaining “Hakuna Matata” whereas a leopard print automobile drives younger the boy to his subsequent stage of progress and synchronized swimmers wearing pink identical to Disney’s animated dancing flamingos. The visuals are beautiful, the Black pleasure is a treasure to see, and the superstar cameos (together with Jay-Z and Kelly Rowland) are icing on the cake.
In between the wealth of references, Beyonce tells a basic story from the Black perspective. With new tracks reminiscent of Black Parade added to the combination and an inspiring message to black younger women and men to put on their crowns proudly, this physique of labor is the present we really deserved. Beyonce took a kids’s story and turned it right into a type of activism, rise up, and an expression of self-love. It is the reimagination of The Lion King we did not even know we wanted.