Black Is King, Beyoncé

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Jonathan Diaz, Staff Writer

Score: 3 sticks of dynamite (EXPLOSIVE)

Black Is King, by Beyoncé Knowles, is a 2020 album and musical film debuting in July amidst the civil rights movement of “Black Lives Matter”. 

And they do. 

The film features prestigious landscapes, and cultural African-American pop music, along with Beyoncé’s lyrical storytelling. The concept is inspired by The Lion King, and the film showcases aesthetically pleasing scenes of royalty from Africa and many other different cultures. 

I feel this album has made a strong statement and I am here for it. The album portrays many perspectives, even if it is only through art and popular culture. A story is told through the choreography, and I feel as though it needs to be heard, and not just seen through the film. The album itself has its own empowering lyrical value.

Although the film has been praised by fans and viewers, African-American and African-native people have criticized it, because they feel like it is only being passionate for the royalty and beauty of culture and tradition. It does not portray the people of Africa themselves, and there is much more to the continent of Africa than beautiful animals and prestigious culture. 

Although the film is a gorgeous performance, its director and team could have explored more than cultural appreciation, such as the pride of the continent or the people, rather than its pop culture. 

Black Is King, the album, debuts a set of songs related to the genre of traditional African music, each with its own visual art. One of the best songs on the album, that is also well known, is “Brown Skin Girl”. The visuals in these scenes are all about brown or dark-skinned women, dressed in royalty in a renaissance era. Many African-American celebrities are featured, such as Naomi Campbell. The message of the song is how women of color support other women of color, appreciating the diversity and versatility of skin tone. This song is well known for its  uplifting message and aesthetic visuals. 

Another good song on the album is “MY POWER”, which celebrates the power in women, or in this case, the power in women of color. The song with the lyrics, “They’ll never take my power,” and the visuals contain a rather avant-garde but colorful vibe with African dancers and upbeat, confident choreography. This song makes a statement and it is very meaningful, since women of color are wrongfully oppressed frequently.

I honestly feel that the film could have done more to show real African people and heritage, rather than only highlight the culture or modern culture within their ethnic backgrounds. So many other things could have been added to the visuals of the film, instead of just a story, 

But overall, the musical film makes many statements and positively enhances the meaning of black identity and the power of its people and ethnicities. 

Black Is King is clearly making a statement through music and visuals on African people, but it could have achieved more with its opportunity to exhibit its real people and circumstances, not just focussing on pretty royalty and flashing culture. 

People oppress women of color, but with this film and its message, those boundaries are slightly torn away to reveal the true colors that can be found if people only stop and look. 

The musical film is moderately recommended, because more could have been added, but the visuals are stunning and statement-making. However, the album Black Is King is an absolute must for all Beyoncé fans, because of the powerful lyrical art it provides and how true, relatable and uplifting it is to people of color. 

Beyoncé is still the greatest performer of her generation, and Black Is King only confirms this.