On July 31, worldwide superstar Beyoncé released a movie called Black is King, putting African culture in light. The visual album features songs from last year’s Lion King remake, with a beautiful collaboration with several African artists.
I‘ll say it right away, as an African woman myself I‘m a bit divided when it comes to my opinion about this movie. On one hand, the thing that jumps to mind is how beautiful and empowering the whole focus on an often forgotten continent is. But on the other side, lots of people have criticised Disney and Beyoncé for being hypocrites and doing cultural appropriation.
In a way, I cannot totally disagree with some of the criticism and the fact that Africa and Black culture are being used commercially is definitely something I disapprove of. But at the same time, isn‘t it how South Korea gained popularity worldwide? Kpop really helped forge the country we know today. Something to reflect on, for sure.
However, in a strictly artistic point of view, Black is King is masterpiece and features incredibly talented designers and artists, so we‘ll at least give her that.
In the end, all it comes to is the result. You might not agree with the way Beyoncé does things, but at least she‘s doing something for the African continent.
So let’s dive into the outfits, shall we?
One recurring pattern is leopard print, which is one of my all-time favorites, so I have to share some of the visuals.
Beyoncé’s crew worked with some talented designers, as you can appreciate below, with my favorite looks from the movie:
The bottom line
Is she perfect? No.
Did she portray all the tribes from north, to south, from west to east? No, and how could she, the movie is only an hour long my friend.
Did she use African culture to serve her own interest? Probably, but at this point I don‘t even care because Black is King is the product of hard work and artistically speaking, it is outstanding.
I choose to see it as a gift to the Black community and appreciate the beauty.