In case you forgot, 2020 was a historically bad year for films, seeing the least amount of movies released in the United States and Canada in a single year in more than 20 years. Even in a COVID-19-induced drought that rendered the communal experience of theatergoing a health hazard, Beyonce was able to deliver Black Is King, one of the few films that made the world stop and watch together in celebration of Black joy. Written, directed, and executive produced by the queen herself, the film tells the allegorical story of a young African prince who goes on a journey to get better in touch with his self-identity in order to return to the kingdom he was exiled from following the passing of his father.
Black Is King doubles as a visual companion album to The Lion King: The Gift album for The Lion King film and Beyonce made sure the potentiality of Blackness was on full, vibrant display. Black people were dressed as African royalty adorned with gold and the finest fabrics. Black people were supernatural beings powerful enough to cause comet landings and laying among the stars. Black people throughout the African diaspora had their cultures celebrated and customs the center of Disney+’s first hit film. And Beyonce exemplified her typical goddess beauty no matter what scene she was in.
More than melanated eye candy, Black Is King nourished the souls of Black people starved of joyous news. Released on July 31, Black Is King crashlanded on Disney+ two months after protests erupted across America following the world watching George Floyd’s life be taken from him by a police officer’s knee and less than two weeks after the President of the United States sent federal agents to Portland to aggressively control similar protests against police brutality. Black Is King was more than a film, it was a celebration of Black joy showing those hurting their inherent greatness.
“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 to 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,” Beyonce wrote on Instagram.
All hail Queen Bey from now until the end of time.