Beyoncé unveils trailer for Disney+ visual album Black is King
Beyoncé has released a trailer for her new visual album, Black is King, which aims to promote “the beauty of tradition and black excellence”.
The film will premiere globally on Disney+ on 31 July and is a reimagining of the live-action remake of The Lion King with music from Beyoncé’s album The Lion King: The Gift, which was released last year.
Little is known about the narrative elements of the project but Jay-Z, Kelly Rowland, Naomi Campbell and Pharrell Williams will all feature. It is described as a visual album that “reimagines the lessons of The Lion King for today’s young kings and queens in search of their own crowns”.
Black is King was shot in South Africa, west Africa, Belgium, Los Angeles, New York and London over the course of a year, with Beyoncé serving as executive producer, alongside a creative team that included the Dutch-Ghanian film-maker Emmanuel Adjei, the Ghanaian pop star Blitz Bazawule and the Belgian visual artist Pierre Debusschere.
In 2016, Beyoncé released her sixth record, Lemonade, as a visual album with a premiere on HBO that featured poetry by the Somali-British poet Warsan Shire, with segments that were shot by a group of film-makers including the Queen & Slim director Melina Matsoukas and Kahlil Joseph.Advertisementhttps://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
Lemonade was one of the first times that Beyoncé had openly expressed her political views, with scenes that depicted the mothers of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin holding photographs of their sons.
Black is King will focus on “the voyages of black families … [and] a tale about a young king’s transcendent journey through betrayal, love and self-identity,” according to a press release, which also says it is a celebration of “black resilience and culture”.
It adds: “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.”
In an address to the BET awards, the singer called on African-Americans to vote in order to “dismantle a racist and unequal system” in the US. On Juneteenth – a holiday celebrated in the US to mark the official end of slavery – Beyoncé released Black Parade, a track calling for “peace and reparation for my people”.
She also wrote to the attorney general of Kentucky to demand justice for Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African-American woman killed by police officers while asleep in her home. Taylor’s death sparked Black Lives Matter protests.