Story at a glance

  • Beyoncé's upcoming album “Black Is King” is a reimagining of Disney's "The Lion King," in which the artist voiced the character Nala.
  • The album’s message takes on new meaning amid recent protests against racism and police violence in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
  • The imagery and music of the album pays homage to the ancestry of Black Americans.

When Beyoncé originally filmed "Black is King," it was intended as a companion piece to the soundtrack for "The Lion King," released just a year ago. In that time, the world has changed, with the onset of a global pandemic and deaths of George Floyd and other Black Americans that sparked protests across the United States. 

But a true artist’s work never grows old, it simply takes on new meaning. Fans of Beyoncé are expecting no less from her upcoming visual album, scheduled for release on July 31 on Disney+. 


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The newly released trailer features celebrity cameos from Kelly Rowland, Lupita Nyong’o, Naomi Campbell and Jay-Z, and introduces a new narrative. It tells the story of a young black boy and his journey through betrayal, love and self-identity as he grows into a man, guided by his ancestors and the reimagined lessons of the classic Disney tale. 

“The film is a story for the ages that informs and rebuilds the present. A reunion of cultures and shared generational beliefs. A story of how the people left most broken have an extraordinary gift and a purposeful future,” said Disney in a release


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Beyoncé, the star, writer, co-director and producer of the album, shared a heartfelt message on her Instagram account in June that nodded to recent events that have put Black stories at the center of a national discussion. The artist has also spoken out on the police killing of George Floyd, calling for justice and promoting several petitions related to his death. 

"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," she said in her Instagram post. “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.”


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Published on Jul 21, 2020