Queen Bey has spoken.
Black Is King, a new film by Beyoncé, debuted at midnight Disney+. A re-imagining of The Lion King, Black Is King is a "visual album" based on the singer's soundtrack album "The Lion King: The Gift" for the 2019 live action remake of the Disney film, and was directed, co-written and produced by the superstar.
According to Disney+, the visual album re-imagines the lessons from the movie for "today's young kings and queens in search of their own crowns," and is a "celebratory memoir for the world on the black experience." It was produced over the course of a year and shot across multiple locations, including New York, Los Angeles, South Africa, West Africa, London and Belgium. Famous faces include Pharrell Williams, Naomi Campbell, Lupita Nyong'o, Kelly Rowland, and Beyoncé and Jay Z’s daughters Blue Ivy and Rumi Carter.
Instead of a movie with a clear plot, Black Is King is a cinematic album akin to Lemonade, which Beyoncé released on HBO in 2016.
So far, Black Is King is receiving glowing reviews, and is 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Check out what critics are saying, and see the new video for "Already" featuring Shatta Wale and Major Lazer below:
"Yes, Black Is King is an extravagant piece of empowerment, a riff on The Lion King that is set in Africa and continually points to the beauty and power of the Black experience. But this visual feast based on Beyoncé’s 2019 album 'The Lion King: The Gift' finds its moments of glory in the strength of its images, which are more arresting than the story or the subtext." -The Wrap
"It is compelling in every sense and takes you on a moving journey: not only through the story of The Lion King, but through a small portion of the beautiful cultures and traditions that exist within black communities globally." -The Guardian
"Her high-end interpretation of a childhood classic is unlikely to emancipate the oppressions of us regular black folk, but what it does is provide a moment of levity and recognition, delivering entertainment in its most creative of forms." -NME
"The trailblazer, 38, continued her push toward equality with the release of her raw and honest visual album Black is King (out on Disney+ Friday), which explores the beauty of blackness that is at best undervalued and at worst discriminated against." -USA Today
"Designed to create debate, discourse and aesthetic iconography, the self-described reimagining of the ethos of 2019’s Beyoncé voiced live action Lion King serves as a poignant and ardent mixtape and a further evolution of an American artist." – Deadline
"In one of many poetic linking speeches, Beyoncé says: 'We have always been wonderful… We were beauty before they knew what beauty was.' With this vivid celebration, she goes way beyond saying Black Lives Matter to showing the dazzling inspiration of her ancestry." -London Evening Standard