During her acceptance speech for BET’s Humanitarian Award at the network’s annual awards show in June, Beyoncé announced the release of her forthcoming “visual album” Black Is King on Disney+. On Instagram, the musician wrote that the visual is a “companion piece” to her 2019 compilation LP, The Lion King: The Gift.
“[Black Is King is] meant to celebrate the breadth and beauty of Black ancestry,” she wrote. “I could never have imagined that a year later, all the hard work that went into this production would serve a greater purpose.”
A newer and longer trailer for the July 31 release dropped over the weekend, and it looks like it is bound to be a visual masterpiece. It appears the film will tie into themes from the original 1994 animated film, such as a young boy defeating the odds stacked against him to take his rightful place as a King.
“You were formed by the heat of the galaxy,” Beyoncé says in a voiceover for the trailer, adding, “What a thing to be: both unique and familiar. To be one in the same, and still unlike any other.” “My Power,” a song from The Lion King: The Gift featuring Tierra Whack, South African artists Busiswa and Moonchild Sanelly and Bey is featured in the trailer. (Rightfully so—it’s easily the best song on the project.)
Among some of the other shots from the trailer? A group shot of Black men staring piercingly into the camera, a crew of motorcyclists (which could be a parallel to the wildebeest stampede in the film, but that’s just my hunch), and models Naomi Campbell and Adut Akech embracing one another. The trailer also features cameos from Kelly Rowland, Tina Knowles-Lawson, Lupita Nyong’o and Jay-Z.
“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,” Bey added on her June Instagram post about the film. “This is a story of how the people left MOST BROKEN have EXTRAORDINARY gifts.”