What is Black? The symbolism associated with the word ‘Black’ is been viewed by its dictionary definition , “full of anger or hatred” or “very evil or wicked.” As a Black woman, I have never related to or acknowledged this negative connotation, which often times referred to my skin color. In my world, ‘Black’ has always been gorgeous, stunning, beautiful and divergent. We are eloquent, stylish, artistic with every fiber of our being making us unique unto ourselves with a flair that has been appropriated for centuries. We have been shunned for our beauty, our hair, or mode of communication and ultimately made to feel as though we were outcast for simply being distinct.
As a former cast member of the ‘The Lion King,‘ embracing what my innately custom-built beauty was fostered even more with those experiences. Working with my brotha’s and sista’s from South Africa and graduating from a top grade HBCU (Howard University) opened my world, imagination and life in ways shall cherish forever and welcomed with opened arms. Most importantIy, the lesson learned was Black is synonymous with glory just as Beyonce’ says in her Disney Plus film, “…we were beautiful before they knew what beauty was.”
When Beyonce’ dropped Lemonade, folks were aghast and spellbound. When she dropped Homecoming, every student across the nation who ever attended an HBCU took pride. Now, the multi-talented mogul has dropped Black is King via Disney Plus and it literally is the most visually stunning concept film EVER. Not just the cinematography, but its complete creative re-imagination of Disney’s classic “The Lion King.” The audience is taken on a journey of Africa and the story of Simba via sight and sound with staggering layered musical styles, exceptional costumes, intricate choreography melted with familial and famous cameos from Naomi Campbell, Alek Wek, Kelly Rowland, Lupita N’yongo and amazingly gifted musical artists – Lord Afirxana, Yemo Alade, Jessie Reyez, Shatta Wale, Salatiel, Phareel Williams, Wizkid, Adut Akech, Aweng Chuol, Tiwa Savage,Mr. Eazi, Nija, Tierra Whack Busiswa and Moonchild Sanell. The entire Carter clan joins in on the fun and Blue Ivy emerges as a force to be reckoned with all on her own.
Beyonce and classic film fans will see nods to ‘Crazy in Love’ with signature moves and scenes from that infamous video, an exquisite nod to the Busby Berkeley/Esther Williams water ballets in fire red, a full on explosive dance number (Find Your Way Back) in body suits accentuating every curve and groove of the Black female anatomy and of course, ‘Spirit’ and ‘Brown Skinned Girl’ videos. Her direction of this project (clearly a major undertaking) is impressive and tastefully executed. I’m seriously waiting for her to take on the feature film world next! The melting pot of primary colors used in every nook and cranny from costuming to location to makeup its so delicious! Kudos to the entire team!
Filled with pride and tears as I write every word, Black is King shares with the world an even deeper scope of The Lion King with its cinematic explosion deep dive into African culture as we see ourselves – human beings that are regal, classic, strong and resilient from one generation to the next. History is your future and one day you will meet yourself back where you started…but stronger. Like water that signifies purity and hope Black and White are the duality of good and evil. My sista’ has provided THIS generation with the best lesson possible, “…you can’t wear a crown with your head down.” Black is King displays the confidence, flavor and mystical aura of Black people while simultaneously passing the crown across generations with pride and exaltation. Well done!