Beyonce Takes on Disney
By: Ben Evangelista
Surprise visual album. Half-time shows. Coachella history. DISNEY!
Beyonce's involvement in Disney's remake of The Lion King shows us yet again that she is one of the most dynamic and beloved stars of our time with a lesson or two for America. This past Friday, Beyonce released her own album to accompany the film - The Lion King: The Gift.
Beyonce calls this album "a love letter to Africa", and it is just that. Her inclusion of traditional music from Africa - Cameroon, Ghana, South African, Nigeria brings us fascinating sounds, ones that aren't necessarily lusted over in the way that Beyonce songs typically are.
But this, like many other Beyonce stunts, is very calculated. In 2016, Beyonce and her lady squad of dancers brought a Black Panther aesthetic to the Superbowl Halftime show, stirring controversy but subtly tipping a hat to the 50th anniversary of the Black Panthers.
In 2018, she used the mainstage of Coachella to teach the flower-crown-adorned crowd a little something about HBCU history and culture (Historical Black College and Universities,) performing the most iconic and historic main stage performances in Coachella history, two weekends in a row.
We're again faced with another lesson from professor Beyonce. You didn't think she'd just accept a voice-over role and let it be, did you? Her album brings us to Africa, brings us on a journey of traditional African sounds, and does this on another main stage - on every screen in our hands and in our homes. Consuming Beyonce's music and messages have become a part of our culture - so easily accessible. She surprises us with them and they become a part of our dialogue. We listen and we digest and we discuss and we process what she's so graciously given us. Beyonce has worked her way up to the top and knows that we're all listening. This weekend was no different.