Black Is King

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Black Is King
Directed byBeyoncé
Produced byBeyoncé
Written byBeyoncé
  • Beyoncé
Music by
  • Beyoncé
Parkwood Entertainment
Distributed byDisney Media Distribution
Release date
  • July 31, 2020 (2020-07-31)

Black Is King is an upcoming 2020 television film and visual album directed and executively produced by American singer Beyoncé. The film serves as a visual companion to the 2019 album The Lion King: The Gift, a tie-in album curated by Beyoncé for the The Lion King (2019 film)|2019 remake of The Lion King. The film is set to premiere and release digitally worldwide on Disney+ on July 31, 2020.


On 19 July, 2019, The Lion King (2019 film)|The Lion King (a Photorealism|photorealistic Computer animation|computer-animated remake of Disney's Traditional animation|traditionally animated The Lion King|1994 film of the same name) was theatrically released in the United States.[1] The same day, an accompanying soundtrack album titled The Lion King: The Gift was released by Parkwood Entertainment and Columbia Records.[2] The Gift was curated and produced by Beyoncé, who described the album as "a love letter to Africa" and recounted her determination to find "the best talent from Africa, and not just use some of the sounds and [do] my interpretation of it".[3]

Beyoncé explained that she believes The Gift "is the first soundtrack where it becomes visual in your mind".[3] Beyoncé added, "I wanted to put everyone on their own journey to link the storyline. Each song was written to reflect the film’s storytelling that gives the listener a chance to imagine their own imagery, while listening to a new contemporary interpretation."[4]


Beyoncé called the film "my passion project that I have been filming, researching and editing day and night for the past year".[5]

The film contains multiple chapters representing different localities, such as Nigeria and Ghana, with cast and crew of that nationality recruited to contribute and filming taking place in those countries.[6][7]


On June 10, 2020, it was reported that Beyoncé was securing a $100 million deal to work on three films for Disney, with a source telling The Sun (United Kingdom)|The Sun "Beyoncé has become a major player for Disney and is the perfect fit for their brand".[8]

Black Is King was intended to be a companion piece to the 2019 album The Lion King: The Gift. Beyoncé explained that the film was created to "celebrate the breadth and beauty of Black ancestry" and "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."[9]

To research for the film, Beyoncé described how she "spent a lot of time exploring and absorbing the lessons of past generations and the rich history of different African customs".[9] The trailer shows Beyoncé reading from the 1971 book "Black Gods and Kings", written by American art-historian Robert Farris Thompson to record the art history of the Yoruba people of southwestern Nigeria.[10][11]

The film was written by Beyoncé,[12] with poet Yrsa Daley-Ward and writer Clover Hope contributing to the script.[13][14]


The cast and crew for Black Is King were recruited to "represent diversity and connectivity". Those recruited to direct segments of the film include Ghanaian filmmakers and visual artists Blitz the Ambassador[15] and Emmanuel Adjei,[16] Nigerian-British artist and director Jenn Nkiru,[17] and South African visual artist Trevor Stuurman, who said that he is "honoured, blessed, and truly humbled to be a part of this moment in history".[18] Academy Awards|Academy Award winner Hannah Beachler was recruited as one of the production designers.[15]

The artists featured in The Gift (such as Shatta Wale, Burna Boy, Salatiel and Wizkid) were recruited for the film, as well as special guests such as Blue Ivy, Jay-Z and Kelly Rowland.[19] The cast also features South African actors Nandi Madida and Warren Masemola,[20] and Nigerian actor Papi Ojo, for whom Black Is King is his debut film performance.[21]

Beyoncé borrowed some of her mother Tina Knowles|Tina Knowles-Lawson's art pieces for Black Is King, as revealed by Knowles-Lawson during a February 2020 interview with the Wall Street Journal.[22]


Filming primarily took place in the latter half of 2019, in locations including Ghana, Nigeria and the United States.[23][24][6]


Post-production took place from December 2019 by Flawless Post.[25] MeLo-X, Derek Dixie and James William Blades contributed to the Film score|score and sound design;[26] MeLo-X described working on the film on Twitter, writing "Truly an amazing and eye opening journey. @Beyonce always pushes for greatness. This is nothing less".[27]


Black Is King is based on the music of The Lion King: The Gift. The songs "My Power", "Mood 4 Eva" and "Brown Skin Girl" have been confirmed to have videos within the film, which have all been described as "extravagances of elegance and soul."[28]

Marketing and release

On the night of June 27, 2020, a teaser trailer for Black Is King was posted on Beyoncé's website, the first announcement of the film to the public. The trailer was then premiered on television a day later on June 28, to conclude the BET Awards 2020|BET Awards after Beyoncé's acceptance speech for the BET Humanitarian Award.[29][30] It was then subsequently released across various social media platforms and websites by Beyoncé's entertainment company Parkwood Entertainment in association with The Walt Disney Company|Disney.[31] The release of the trailer caused "Twitter [to go] bonkers", according to USA Today, and the trailer subsequently received praise from fans and critics alike for its imagery and symbolism.[32][33]

Robert Iger, Executive Chairman of the Walt Disney company, said he was "honored to be working with Beyoncé [on] this" on Twitter.[34]

Black Is King is scheduled to be released globally on July 31, 2020 on Disney+. This is soon after the one-year anniversary of the release of The Lion King (2019 film)|The Lion King The Lion King (2019 film)|(2019).[35]


  1. S, Ian; well (2019-07-10). "Lion King remake: Everything you need to know". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2020-07-13.
  2. Entertainment, Parkwood. "Beyoncé Produces And Performs On Multi-Artist Album "The Lion King: The Gift"". Retrieved 2020-07-13.
  3. 3.0 3.1 America, Good Morning. "Beyoncé explains how she created a new music genre for 'The Lion King' album". Good Morning America. Retrieved 2020-07-13.
  4. Strauss, Matthew. "Listen to Beyoncé's Song "Spirit" From New Lion King Album". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2020-07-13.
  5. "Queen Bey Teases Her Next Visual Album 'Black Is King'". British Vogue. Retrieved 2020-07-11.
  6. 6.0 6.1 @JoshuaKissi (29 June 2020). "#BlackIsKing ~ I was tapped to contribute and direct the Ghana portion of the film there was nothing like contributing to this vision through narratives on the ground in my home country. This wouldn't be possible without my on the ground Ghana team!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  7. "A N T I on Instagram: "Black Is King, a film by @beyonce.⁣ Super pumped to have played our part on the Nigerian chapter of this film 🧡 alongside amazing…"". Instagram. Retrieved 2020-07-11.
  8. "Beyonce in talks for $100million deal to work on three Disney movies including Black Panther 2". The Independent. 2020-06-10. Retrieved 2020-07-12.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Weaver, Hilary (2020-06-29). "Beyoncé Surprise-Dropped a Trailer for Her New Visual Album, 'Black Is King'". Elle (magazine). Retrieved 2020-07-11. {{cite web}}: Text "ELLE" ignored (help)
  10. Willis, Kim. "Beyoncé unveils longer trailer for visual album 'Black Is King' and Twitter goes bonkers". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2020-07-12.
  11. "Yale University :: Department of the History of Art". 2015-10-20. Retrieved 2020-07-12.
  12. "Beyonce to Release 'Black Is King' Visual Album on Disney+". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2020-07-12.
  13. "Yrsa Daley-Ward on Instagram: "So thrilled to have worked with 👑 BEYONCÉ on this! Here is the stunning trailer for "Black Is King", a film that I am overjoyed to have…"". Instagram. Retrieved 2020-07-11.
  14. "Clover Hope on Instagram: "A project I worked on as a writer is coming 7/31. Thank you to the gods and Beyoncé #BlackIsKing ❤️ @yrsadaleyward"". Instagram. Retrieved 2020-07-13.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Desta, Yohana. "Beyoncé "Felt Overwhelmed" Making New Visual Album, Black Is King". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2020-07-12.
  16. "Emmanuel Adjei on Instagram: "it fills my heart with joy to present BLACK IS KING 👑 7.31 @disneyplus 💫 @beyonce - it takes a huge amount of strength, persuasion,…"". Instagram. Retrieved 2020-07-13.
  17. "Jenn NKIRU on Instagram: "#BLACKISKING"". Instagram. Retrieved 2020-07-13.
  18. "Trevor Stuurman humbled to be a part of Beyoncé's 'Black is King'". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 2020-07-13.
  19. "Beyoncé Unveils Trailer For New Film 'BLACK IS KING'". idolator. 2020-06-28. Retrieved 2020-07-11.
  20. Coetzee, Nikita. "WATCH | The trailer for Beyoncé's new visual album is here and it features a few SA stars". Channel. Retrieved 2020-07-13.
  21. "Papi's Here ★ on Instagram: "Black is King 🤴🏿 7• 31• 2020 ( First Debut movie with @beyonce ) 🤯❤️ God is good at all times 🙏🏿 ______________________________________…"". Instagram. Retrieved 2020-07-11.
  22. Florsheim, Lane (February 10, 2020). "Tina Knowles-Lawson on Lending Art to Her Daughter Beyoncé". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 14, 2020.
  23. "Bear Bulb on Instagram: "Black is King!!! I'm super excited to see this is finally coming out. I have been sitting on this for a long time. We started working on…"". Instagram. Retrieved 2020-07-12.
  24. (2020-06-30). "Meji Alabi, Muhammad Atta & Other Nigerian Creatives who Created Magic on Beyoncè's "Black Is King"". BellaNaija. Retrieved 2020-07-12.
  25. "Flawless Post (@flawlesspostproduction) posted on Instagram • Jun 29, 2020 at 10:21pm UTC". Instagram. Retrieved 2020-07-11.
  26. @MeLoXTRA (1 July 2020). "My son Marlo been helping me with all my production and film scores for the past 3 months. You know I had to have him add elements to a Disney film. DUUUHHH! @Beyonce #blackisking scored by MELO-X - Derek Dixie & James Williams Blades" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  27. @MeLoXTRA (1 July 2020). "#blackisking I worked on the music score & sound design for this film. Truly an amazing and eye opening journey. @Beyonce always pushes for greatness. This is nothing less. I put alot of downloads and energy into my compositions. Can't wait for yall to experience this" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  28. "Watch the Stunning Teaser for Beyoncé's 'Black Is King' Visual Album Coming to Disney+". Collider (website). June 29, 2020. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  29. Willis, Kim. "Beyoncé unveils longer trailer for visual album 'Black Is King' and Twitter goes bonkers". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2020-07-12.
  30. "Beyoncé Recognized for Humanitarian Work at BET Awards: 'Please Continue to Be the Change'". Retrieved 2020-07-12.
  31. "Beyonce to Release 'Black Is King' Visual Album on Disney+". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2020-07-11.
  32. "Watch the Trailer for Beyonce's New Film 'Black is King'". News Break. Retrieved 2020-07-13.
  33. "Beyonce Drops Stunning Teaser Trailer for Surprise New Disney+ Visual Album Inspired by The Lion King". Toofab. Retrieved 2020-07-13.
  34. @RobertIger (29 June 2020). "Honored to be working with @Beyonce this!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  35. "Beyoncé Visual Album 'Black Is King' Coming to Disney Plus". Variety (magazine). June 28, 2020. Retrieved July 11, 2020. {{cite web}}: Text "Variety" ignored (help)

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