I don’t entirely know how to write this review. In some ways, Beyonce’s visual album, “Black Is King,” streaming on Disney+, is indescribable. There is so much imagery and symbolism that when I think “Black Is King,” there is a mixture of disconnected words and phrases swirling around in my head.
I would say that the album redefines Blackness, but I dislike the word “redefine” in this context. If we are operating off of the definition of Blackness given to us by a system of White Supremacy, then we can correctly say it redefined Blackness. But if we are operating off of the definition of Blackness given to us by God, then instead, we can say that “Black Is King” illuminates that definition.
Black Is King is a reimagining of Lion King. In the film, we follow the Simba character as he strays from the ways of his ancestors and loses himself in society after the death of his father, Mufasa. He becomes enraptured with a world of wealth and even dreams that to have no worries means to be draped in a life of extravagant luxury. Even though he loses himself, his ancestors are walking with him, and he eventually finds his way back to the straight path, realizes his power and reclaims his throne.
In some ways, the film is a mirror of Black people in America. We were forcibly taken from the ways of our ancestors during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. We have since become enraptured in this false idea of the “American Dream,” but yet we still carry both the joys and the pains of our ancestors. Our ancestors walk with us through our genes and our Blackness. Some of us are now finding our way back to who we are and realizing our power and legacy.
Black Is King is spiritual. Through following some of the storyline of Moses and through the song “The Nile,” it reminds Black people of our lineage. One of the film’s best and most memorable quotes is when a voiceover says, “I can’t say I believe in God and call myself a child of God and then not see myself as a God.”
The film operates as a visual companion to what we in the Nation of Islam learn in our lessons from Master Fard Muhammad, God in person. The question is asked, “Who is the Original Man?” The answer: “The Original Man is the Asiatic Black man, the maker, the owner, cream of the planet earth, God of the universe.” That is God’s definition of Blackness.
Black Is King is inspirational. Even at this point in the review, I’m still struggling for words to explain, but perhaps I will just leave you with this Black Is King Poetry Rendition as a parting gift of my thoughts: