Beyoncé’s new film ‘Black Is King’ is stirring up controversy

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One year after the release of the album “The Lion King: The Gift”, Queen Bey is about to unveil a new Disney production.

Made in the style of a long, meticulously crafted music video, this condensed version of Black history is already proving to be divisive.

“The film is not available anywhere before its release,” warns a press officer about Beyoncé’s new visual album , Black Is King, which is set to be released on Disney+ on 31 July.

But all it took to attract the ire of African-American feminists, especially the youngest among them, was the film’s one-and-a-half-minute trailer.

Criticism of the work is going strong and has a radical bent, with detractors calling out the trailer for romanticising Africa as well as for its cultural syncretism, pre-colonial aesthetic, cultural appropriation and “Wakandafication” (in reference to the Kingdom of Wakanda, a fictional African country depicted by the Marvel movie Black Panther).

Jade Bentil, a Black feminist historian and PhD researcher at the University of Oxford, commented in a tweet: “The repeated tropes/symbolic gestures that homogenise & essentialise thousands of African cultures in service of securing the terrain for Black capitalist possibilities & futures is tired.”

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Judicaelle Irakoze, a self-proclaimed Afro-political feminist who is followed by more than 30,000 people on Twitter, expressed a similar point of view, disappointed that Beyoncé “use[s] her power and status […] to glorify africanness rooted in power game[s] against the white gaze.” By Eva Sauphie

Posted on Friday, 24 July 2020 14:24
Beyoncé in “Black Is King” © Travis Matthews.

you can love beyonce and criticize the harm her art creates when it appropriate african cultures and glorifies them under black capitalism.

I love her so much and want my queen to use her power and status not to glorify africanness rooted in power game against the white gaze

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