Beyonce Knowles Carter understands the internet. She understands our obsession with being the first to engage creative bodies of work, with being the first to put out our opinions and verdicts on the messaging, the quality of execution and the intended purpose of the work. For this reason, Beyonce since her self titled album, has spent a significant amount of each album cycle planning the eventual roll out, ensuring collaborators signed NDA’s and keeping as much detail about these project private until the eventual release. This paucity of information creates a corresponding flood when the project is eventually released, ensuring Beyonce project always become cultural events.
Last Friday, the singer released ‘Black is King‘, the visual companion album to her Lion King inspired project ‘The Gift‘ and while the album itself is a visual representation of the songs from the project, these visuals, as from the playbook, has garnered attention on social media.
“Black Is King” is a consistent ambitious interest-based project for Beyoncé as she wrote and directed the project and also appearing as its executive producer. The film adapts the “Lion King” story to a wider narrative of African history and heritage. It also represents Beyoncé’s latest move as a self-directed business figure.
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I typically keep comments short and sweet, but I just watched the trailer with my family and I’m excited. 🎶please don’t get me hype🎶🤪 “Black Is King” is a labor of love. It is my passion project that I have been filming, researching and editing day and night for the past year. I’ve given it my all and now it’s yours. It was originally filmed as a companion piece to “The Lion King: The Gift” soundtrack and meant to celebrate the breadth and beauty of Black ancestry. I could never have imagined that a year later, all the hard work that went into this production would serve a greater purpose. 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. 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. With this visual album, I wanted 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. I spent a lot of time exploring and absorbing the lessons of past generations and the rich history of different African customs. While working on this film, there were moments where I’ve felt overwhelmed, like many others on my creative team, but it was important to create a film that instills pride and knowledge. I only hope that from watching, you leave feeling inspired to continue building a legacy that impacts the world in an immeasurable way. I pray that everyone sees the beauty and resilience of our people. This is a story of how the people left MOST BROKEN have EXTRAORDINARY gifts.❤️✊🏾 Thank you to Blitz, Emmanuel, Ibra, Jenn, Pierre, Dikayl, Kwasi and all the brilliant creatives. Thank you to all at Disney for giving this Black woman the opportunity to tell this story. This experience has been an affirmation of a grander purpose. My only goal is that you watch it with your family and that it gives you pride. Love y’all, B
“The events of 2020 have made the film’s vision and message even more relevant… 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…” – Beyonce
Now with this film came all the debate on the authority of the message that Beyonce was passing across the world in her visual representation of the ‘REAL history’ of the African people. Some critics, especially from Africa had shared some reservations about the film even before it was released, many tagged Beyonce a culture appropriator – for the lot, the sole reason was based on the idea of the film setting Africa and Africans backward with visuals from the trailer that hinted the regression of the African people.
— iEddie Guerero☢ (@iguerero_eddie) August 1, 2020
On the release of the film, a few people held firm that Beyonce’s version of Africa is wrong and should be frowned at even as some people based their claims on the idea that Beyonce was trying to sell Witchcraft and Idol Worship back to Africans. This will not be the first and certainly not the last time that Beyonce would be associated with Dark Arts. In 2018, a former drummer of the singer made an unsuccessful request for a restraining order against Beyonce, on claims that she uses extreme witchcraft and dark magic. There have been other claims like this – accusing Beyonce of using witchcraft in her art, alongside her husband.
Black is King did not only open that channel up for discussion as it also seemed to garner the internet of Nigerian Christian conspiracy theorists in particular Delphine Okobah, who went about dissecting every aspect of the visuals with claims of witchcraft and dark arts.
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Dear World People, ⠀ WITCHCRAFT, DARK MUSIC & THE IDOLATRY OF BEYONCÉ ⠀ ⠀ I completely understand that by posting this, I run the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, a religious nut or just as an all round crazy person who is doing too much. But it will be remiss of me and downright irresponsible of me if I didn't sound this alarm. Most importantly, it would be disobedient of me if I remained quiet.⠀ ⠀ The Lord has been speaking to me about Beyoncé for about 2years now. I saw snippets of what He was saying here and there but I came into understanding just a few days ago. He really just opened my eyes to see how the dots connect. And I have been so restless ever since. This word is literally like fire in my heart. I've never experienced anything like this before. But I now understand what Jeremiah meant by the Word being like fire in his bones. ⠀ ⠀ But then came the battle of what to say and how to say it, I brooded on it for days. However, as I was praying a few mornings ago, some words came to me, and as soon as I started typing, the words just flowed through my fingers like a downpour. After which came the war of whether to post it or not because I was thinking of what people will say. ⠀ ⠀ But Abba has delivered me from the man-fearing spirit. My goal is to be able to obey God as soon as I recognise an instruction from Him, no matter how [seemingly] hard the task is. So yea, my mind is prepared for whatever. Don't even try me; my JESUS IS KING! ⠀ Swipe to read. SHARE EVERWHERE TAG EVERYONE! ⠀ ⠀ Toodles!✌🏾⠀ #DearWorldPeople⠀ #Worship #Idolatry #Witchcraft #Sorcery #Beyonce #BeyonceKnowles #BeyonceKnowlesCarter #Bey #QueenBey #BeyHive #BlackIsKing #Melanin #BlackParade #Denial #Lemonade #Blindness #Bigger #FindYourWayBack #DontJealousMe #Jaarae #Nile #Water #Mood4Eva #BrownskinGirl Otherside #MyPower #KeysToTheKingdom #Already #JesusIsKing
As one of the most successful and talented Black Women in the World with local and international relevance, it was only a matter of time before Beyoncé Knowles started to attract claims that she had achieved her greatness through dark arts. Beyonce as a member of the Illuminati is arguably the best-established Beyoncé conspiracy theory: that she, along with Jay Z, are members of the secret society that controls the world using mind-controlling tactics.
Where it may be true that Beyonce in Black is King explored African history and heritage, it feels a bit of a stretch to literally interpret the Black is King visual album as some indoctrination play book. Yet here we are. The one description that sounds simple in describing this body of work is ‘explore and embrace the rich legacy of your ancestors because it’s part of you.’
For Black people, old and young, Black is King, if nothing else, should inspire them to learn about the history of their race and the ways in which it has shaped the world and where it is now.
Michael is a dynamic writer who is still exploring the nuances of life and being human. When I’m not writing, I’m out with friends or spending nice time alone watching movies or TV Shows.
Michael is available on Twitter and Instagram @TheMichaelFaya