Movie Review: Black is King

This article was co-written by Ayanna M. Clark and Layla Davidson.

Artwork courtesy of Cynthia Midori (see editor’s note)

Black is King is a new movie that came out in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was directed, written, and produced by the queen of R&B, Beyoncé. Not only was this movie a retelling of the popular Disney movie, The Lion King, it was also her visual album. The film can be streamed on Disney+.

Beyoncé starred in the 2019 live-adaptation of the film The Lion King as Nala. She used her role in this movie as inspiration for her visual album.  Black is King reimagined the animals of The Lion King as humans and recreated the lessons of the movie. 

Some lines of The Lion King were quoted between songs and scenes were modernized. My favorite thing about The Lion King being a blueprint for Black is King is that the themes of legacy, ancestry, and identity stayed constant. One thing is for sure: Lion King lovers will want to look into this film. Both follow the story of a young prince who was banished from his kingdom after his father, the King, died. The prince then takes a trip to discover his identity and reclaim his kingdom.

The movie was filmed in several different locations in South Africa, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ghana, Nigeria, and Belgium. There were several guest stars including Jay-Z, Lupita Nyong’o, Kelly Rowland, Pharrell Williams, Wizkid, Naomi Campbell, and many more. 

We rate Black is King 6/10. The colors, dancing, and costumes were amazing. Beyoncé did a good job capturing the viewers’ attention through her amazing visuals and vocals.

Although the music was great, we think it was excessive to create a one hour and twenty-five-minute music video and call it a movie. We felt that it was boring at times, so much so that we even fell asleep towards the end of the movie.

Notwithstanding that, we thought it was a beautiful representation of African culture and The Lion King. Black is King was definitely the push people of color needed in these times to remember that we are all kings and queens.  

Editor’s note:The Navigator would like to thank Ms. Midori for her gracious allowance of the use of her artwork to accompany this review. She is a New York-based artist, teacher, and small-business entrepreneur. Please see her website or her Instagram for more information.

-Benjamin Schnirman, Editor

Categories: Entertainment

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