Wow. Other regular length music videos should take careful note on the razzle-dazzle achieved in Black Is King! They should take extra careful note on how this feature length music video turns out a captivating product with sincere purpose and heart. During a time when the #BlackLivesMatter movement caused the massive alteration of many brands, including Disney’s Splash Mountain, the world could seriously use something like this that wants to combat racism not by disturbing the comfortable, but by comforting the disturbed. It encourages focusing on the splendor behind different backgrounds as the best way to resolve racism. Especially after losing Chadwick Boseman, a prominent role model within the Black community, Beyoncé proves herself to be another great role model that people of all ages and cultures can look up to.
With each song sung here, they all center around the pride that is Black skin, and how her people must make their culture known even though the rest of the world wants to erase their history. That soft but powerful message kicks off with the image that begins the first number, that of Beyoncé caressing her baby on a beach, establishing a mother’s love to her royal child as the glue that holds everything together. Around Beyoncé includes the vibrant cultural wear of numerous African cultures, such as men covered in turquoise powder, which here represents what kind of future they are destined for under their current circumstances.
Besides just the people, all these sweeping African landscapes are composed to strike the eyes, even if they do draw in a little too much attention. There’s also the argument that the abstract imagery doesn’t delve super deep into the ancestral values of Black culture, but it leaves room for the visuals to shine. One recurring image is that of a basket with a baby inside flowing down a river to symbolize how that child seems headed toward a worthless existence, but will soon see his name become great among the nations just like Moses.
Between the high energy singing, voiceover dialogue straight from The Lion King connects the animated classic’s themes to African values as well as a journey of becoming a king. As the boy is seen growing up, he falls from space like a comet, he’s lead into the suburbs astray by a cute little monkey, and at some point, a funeral setup where everything is white barges in, even the powder on the men carrying the casket is white. It’s designed to feel off-putting, where everything is black and full of life, all of a sudden, when watching a child looking forward to being a man, something that looks like the death of African memory makes its unwelcome appearance.
As this paints the portrait of Africa in the perspective of a growing boy, room is made for Beyoncé and her backup dancers to put on a show of these gorgeous costumes. These wardrobes are all a clever stylistic merging of Black culture and modern pop culture, done thoughtfully enough so that if put in either Africa or America, they would not feel out of place. The fashions are beyond just something any fashion designer would drool over, (although they’ve got plenty of that) these “take your breath away” types of outfits are specifically tailored to present the very best of how Black women can look.
The costumes are all there to enhance the movement and body shape of Beyoncé and the dancers; one floppy hat is bigger than Algeria to force attention on Beyoncé’s seductive footsteps, and one of her hair extensions is the literal length of a giraffe to contrast that straight line with her curves. Beyoncé goes through probably two hundred costume changes, wearing clothes that look like only a fairy godmother could poof into existence.
In fact, this film displays just how attractive Beyoncé is: it bring out her eyes that draw all focus, her smile without lies, her hair that almost appears alive, her skin that glows like gold, the camera, lights, and fabrics make her a true embodiment of Black beauty! Although she twerks a bit too much, it’ll matter little, as she displays such a powerful vocal range that sounds so, so beautiful.
That there is the best word to describe Black Is King: BEAUTIFUL, so much so, that it’s the closest one may ever get to peeking inside Heaven in this lifetime. So thank you, Beyoncé, for sharing the majesty of Africa, and thank you, Disney+, for allowing her the chance to do so. Black lives matter!
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!