Rihanna’s First New Song In 6 Years Is A Tribute To Chadwick Boseman

RiRi also released a music video for “Lift Me Up” tied to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

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Rihanna's "Lift Me Up" For 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever' Is Her First Solo Song In 6 Years
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After a six-year hiatus from releasing solo music to focus on being a billionaire business mogul, Rihanna has finally made her return to our ears — but not with her long-awaited ninth studio album. The Fenty Beauty powerhouse released her first solo single in six years — “Lift Me Up” — on Oct. 28. She announced the song by sharing a cryptic teaser of herself humming on Twitter and Instagram. The new song serves as the lead single for the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack as well as a tribute to the first film’s late star Chadwick Boseman.

Rihanna co-wrote the song with Afrobeats artist Tems, the film’s director Ryan Coogler, and Oscar-winning composer Ludwig Göransson. “After speaking with Ryan and hearing his direction for the film and the song, I wanted to write something that portrays a warm embrace from all the people that I’ve lost in my life. I tried to imagine what it would feel like if I could sing to them now and express how much I miss them,” Tems said in a statement. “Rihanna has been an inspiration to me so hearing her convey this song is a great honor.”

Half a day after the song’s audio debuted, Rihanna released the “Lift Me Up” music video. Directed by Autumn Durald Arkapaw, the video includes shots of RiRi singing on a beach interspersed with footage from Wakanda Forever.

A press release for the song teases that “Lift Me Up” heralds in “the next era of Rihanna’s iconic career,” meaning there will be more new music to come, which might come in the form of a second song on the Wakanda Forever soundtrack. The soundtrack comes out Nov. 4.

There’s still no word on when to expect Rihanna’s new album, but with her recent big news, it may finally be on the horizon. Rihanna first indicated her return to music on Sept. 25, when she announced that she would headline the Super Bowl Halftime Show in February 2023. On Oct. 6, she told TMZ that she was “nervous” but “excited” for the performance, though she kept quiet about whether she’d have any special guests.

“Lift Me Up” puts Rihanna directly in the Oscars conversation, as the track will be eligible to run for Best Original Song at the 2023 Academy Awards. The lead single for the first Black Panther film, Kendrick Lamar and SZA’s “All the Stars,” was nominated in 2019, setting a welcome precedent for Rihanna.

If recognized, it would mark Rihanna’s first Oscar nomination. Previously, RiRi recorded the Sia-penned “Sledgehammer” for Star Trek: Beyond in 2016 and a trio of songs for her animated 2015 film Home, none of which received Oscars recognition.

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