It's finally here. Beyoncé's latest visual album, Black Is King, has arrived on Disney+, and it was certainly worth the wait for fans of the singer and cultural icon. Clocking in at 85 minutes, Black Is King is a lot of things. It's a visual accompaniment to Beyoncé's already-existent album, The Lion King: The Gift. It's a loosely narrative, avant-garde retelling of The Lion King with human characters. It's a celebration of blackness, a love letter to Africa, a feminist statement, and an ambitious attempt to spiritually connect African diaspora worldwide to their ancestral homeland. It's also a collection of impressive music videos, with Queen Bey front and center for most of them. But not every word spoken in the film is sung. There's also Beyoncé's Black Is King narration which is heard throughout the film, and what she says in it will help you make sense of just what this movie is really about.
Beyoncé co-wrote, co-directed, and produced Black Is King, and the film is one of her most involved artistic endeavors to date. The film is "meant to celebrate the breadth and beauty of Black ancestry," the singer wrote on Instagram. "We are all in search of safety and light. Many of us want change. I believe that when Black people tell our own stories, we can shift the axis of the world and tell our REAL history of generational wealth and richness of soul that are not told in our history books. With this visual album, I wanted to present elements of Black history and African tradition, with a modern twist and a universal message, and what it truly means to find your self-identity and build a legacy. ... This is a story of how the people left MOST BROKEN have EXTRAORDINARY gifts."
Below, you can read Beyoncé's entire narration for Black Is King, presented chronologically and titled by the prevailing theme of each section.
Bless the body, born celestial. Beautiful and dark matter. Black is the color of my true love’s skin. Coils and hair catching centuries of prayers spread through smoke. You are welcome to come home to yourself. Let black be synonymous with glory.
History is your future. One day you will meet yourself back where you started, but stronger.
A journey is a gift. Something to offer at the door to the rooms of your mind. This is how we journey, far, and can still always find something like home. The great kings were here long before us. Ancient masters of celestial lore.
Life is a set of choices. Lead, or be led astray. Follow your light. Or lose it.
No true king ever dies. Our ancestors hold us from within our own bodies, guiding us through our reflections. Light refracted.
To live without reflection for so long might make you wonder if you even truly exist.
You’re swimming back to yourself. You’ll meet yourself at the shore. The coast belongs to our ancestors. We orbit; make joy look easy. Cutlass and calabash. Earth and womb. Lost languages spill out of our mouths.
"Black Is King"
We have always been wonderful. I see us reflected in the world’s most heavenly things. Black is king. We were beauty before they knew what beauty was.
Child of dust, return to the river. Your roots and your story will be reborn.
Salutations to the survivors of the world. The elders are tired. To God, we belong. To God, we return. You find yourself in a room with all the people you lost, and you dance with joy as pure as your father’s face.
When the wind kissed the trees, they sang melodies and the ancestors returned, smiling. Divine archetype, predecessor of light. You who were formed by the heat of the galaxy, who was dusted with a star, who has the universe in your eye, whose blood keeps the score of your blessings and trials.
The Orishas hold your hand through this journey that began before you were born. We never forget to say thank you to the ancestors, noble and royal, anointed our blessings in the stars.
With her powerful narration about Black beauty, identity, and ancestry, Beyoncé has ensured that Black Is King will go down as one of her most influential works yet.