It doesn’t take much convincing to acknowledge how iconic Beyoncé Knowles is as a performer and cultural phenomenon. Her creative genius has propelled her to heights (and a bank account balance) that very few could ever dream of and she stands tall as a symbol of black female excellence. However, Queen Bey has come under heavy fire on social media after the release of the trailer for her latest project, Black Is King.
Soon to be screened on Disney+, Black Is King is billed as a ‘visual album’, intended to celebrate the diversity and beauty of African art and culture. Put simply, at a time when social (in)justice is a hot topic around the world, the film is a celebration of all that is African.
The just-over one-minute long trailer promises a visual feast that attempts to pay homage to the rich tapestry of African visual art through the ages. Still, that hasn’t spared the Queen from being accused of harvesting African symbolism for her own gain without actually visiting Africa for any of what was shot.
Some of the comments on social media have been blistering, claiming that Black Is King is inauthentic and just another example of a Westerner looking to score big at Africa’s expense. Cha-ching!
Those coming to Beyoncé’s defence, however, feel the harsh words aren’t called for and that she did, in fact, work with a talented collective of African artists whose individual work is now being put on the map because of their collaboration with her on this film.
What do you think? Is the Bey-bashing justified or do we need to give her a break?
Beyoncé is the writer, director and executive producer of Black Is King. It streams on Disney+ from July 31st.