“Black is King”: The Lion Queen

Beyoncé made a music film for her album “The Lion King: The Gift”. Very nice! But “Black is King” can only be seen with a subscription to Disney .

In the 24th minute of Beyoncé\’s new so-called visual album Black is King, which is essentially a film adaptation of her last year\’s album The Lion King: The Gift, you suddenly startle out of your streaming ear chair. This happens during a scene in which six men carry the glamorous artist in slow motion through an empty white museum hall, either as a funeral or coronation procession. “In the end I can\’t even speak my own mother tongue,” you suddenly hear the voice of a young man saying from offstage, he sounds very upset. “And if I cannot speak myself, I cannot think myself, and if I cannot think myself, I cannot be myself.” He falters. “Uncle Sam, tell me, if I\’ll never know myself, how will you manage it?”

[“Stop. What was that, who is that? You don’t have to search the internet for long until you come across a three-and-a-half minute video that was uploaded to YouTube in October 2013: the poetry slam performance of a student named Joshua Abah, who, according to his own information, is a US-born son of a Nigerian family. He called his poem Uncle Sam, which he recited in Detroit at a conference of Teach For America, an organization that promotes university graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds. It’s absolutely stunning.”]

In the video, the poet has rolled up his light blue shirt sleeves and reports directly from the ambivalence of being confronted again and again with the discourse about his cultural roots, even though it was precisely those that were deliberately removed from him when he grew up in the USA. “Uncle Sam, for generations my family consisted of Africans who spoke with an American accent,” says Abah. “You made me the first one to have it the other way around!” Then, at the end, there are the lines that you can hear in the scene in Beyoncé\’s movie “Thank you,” he still says, leaves the stage and literally disappears.

[“Joshua Abah left nothing more than this little digital trail. His video has just over 113,000 views, which is very little compared to the 2.7 million clicks that the trailer for the Beyoncé film Black is King alone has accumulated in just a few days. Abah’s artistic statement radiates all the more power – a furious, yet not just babbled about testimony to the frustration, the mad contradictions with which blacks of all genders have to continue to live with today, not only in the USA. Yet another cultural meta-level to what has been negotiated loudly and loudly again in recent months on the issues of racism and police violence. “] [“It’s hard to say how the snippet from Abah’s poem got into Beyoncé’s new film, but two things are certain. One: We never would have come across him if it weren’t for Black is King. The other: It is safe to assume that most of the audience will be able to ignore Abah’s poetic power. In the immediate next scene you see Jay-Z, Beyoncé’s husband and probably the best rapper of all time, being pulled up in the back seat of a black Rolls-Royce – who likes to stop the film and google for unknown quotes? Abah’s name will surely appear somewhere, probably in the credits. As always with such big productions, the credits last even about eight minutes, and the writing is really very small. “]

Black is King can be watched since this Friday via the streaming service Disney. For the time being the film is only available here. It is a coup for the relatively young platform, which should bring it a large amount of new trial subscriptions in view of the gigantic and also thoroughly comprehensible popularity of the singer, songwriter, entertainer and here also director Beyoncé Knowles-Carter.

[“It’s not so easy to understand what kind of product Black is King is supposed to be. When Disney began working on a new version of his indestructible cartoon The Lion King in 2017, Beyoncé joined the project as dubbing artist and singer of the title song. Parallel to the cinema release, in July 2019 she released The Lion King: The Gift, a kind of musical continuation. To this end, she has now made her own film, a full-length 85-minute music video (in which there is no new music to be heard), comparable to the visual versions that have been available for some Beyoncé albums. That the cinematic Lion King fold-out could now be placed in the eye-catching Corona summer and was not already shot at last Christmas, the Disney Officials should thank several gods for the security.”]

Image source: https://bit.ly/2Xhtvlg

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