How do you follow up Lemonade? Beyoncé has since answered that question with a brand new visual album, Black is King, following on from her pioneering works Homecoming and Lemonade.
The reaction to Beyoncé’s Black is King has been mainly positive from reviewers and fans alike, praising its star-studded cast and stunning visual style, as well as how it promotes powerful messages about the Black experience – all previously teased in the Black is King trailer.
The new album is loosely inspired by the music of Disney’s live-action (or very realistically animated) version of The Lion King, which was released last year and made a billion dollars at the box office.
In addition to performing the Grammy-nominated original song Spirit, Beyoncé voiced Nala in the animated blockbuster, joining a star-studded cast that included Donald Glover as Simba and James Earl Jones as Mufasa.
Following the success of The Lion King, reports have since claimed that Beyoncé is in talks with the studio for a huge new deal, believed to include three major projects – including Marvel’s Black Panther 2.
In the meantime, you can enjoy the Black is King experience, which, like Lemonade, is full of guest-stars and blink-and-you’ll-miss cameos: Jay-Z and Lupita Nyong’o are among the stars who appear in Black Is King, alongside Beyoncé herself and a diverse cast of other performers.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to watch Beyoncé’s visual album, Black Is King, available now exclusively on Disney+.
What is Black Is King?
Black Is King is a visual album based on music from The Lion King: The Gift, the soundtrack to 2019’s Disney remake that was carefully curated by Beyoncé herself.
In a statement, Disney and Parkwood Entertainment said: “Black Is King is a celebratory memoir for the world on the Black experience. The film is a story for the ages that informs and rebuilds the present. A reunion of cultures and shared generational beliefs. A story of how the people left most broken have an extraordinary gift and a purposeful future.”
The film was made over the course of a year with work from a diverse cast and crew. We took a look at the meaning in Black is King including who the blue man is.
Black is King cast
Disney previously said that Black Is King features a cast that represents “diversity and connectivity”, which includes new talent, rising stars and huge established names.
Among the guest-stars are Beyoncé’s husband and frequent collaborator Jay-Z and her former Destiny’s Child bandmate Kelly Rowland.
Also featured are actress and supermodel Naomi Campbell, and Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o (Black Panther), who are also both name-checked alongside Rowland in the lyrics for the track ‘Brown Skin Girl’.
A-list musician Pharrell, who contributed to the soundtrack that the film is based on, also features.
Other artists featured on The Lion King: The Gift also show up, such as Childish Gambino (also known as Donald Glover), who voices Simba, and whose portrait is hanging up on a wall during the track ‘MOOD 4 EVA’.
Is there a trailer for Beyoncé’s Black Is King?
There certainly is. After the announcement was made, Disney Plus uploaded this visually stunning teaser to its YouTube page – you can watch it below.
A few weeks later, a follow-up trailer showed off the film’s A-list cast, including Jay-Z, Lupita Nyong’o and Beyoncé herself: