Beyoncé praises SA for leaving her 'deeply inspired'

03 November 2020 - 11:55 By cebelihle bhengu
Beyoncé worked with SA artists on her 'Black is King' project. File photo.
Beyoncé worked with SA artists on her 'Black is King' project. File photo.
Image: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage

US artist, musician and philanthropist Beyoncé Knowles-Carter says her family trip to SA was one of the biggest inspirations behind her iconic Black is King visual album and decision to work with young black artists on the project.

Queen Bey revealed this in an interview with British Vogue editor Edward Enninful for the magazine's December issue.

She opened up about the creative process and intent behind Black is King, which was shot in several locations around the world, including Johannesburg and KwaZulu-Natal. The project featured several SA artists including Busiswa Gqulu, Moonchild, Connie Chiume, Warren Masemola, Nyaniso Dzedze, Nandi Madida and Mary Twala.

She said the birth of her children and family trip to SA motivated her to ensure their stories and history were told.

“Something cracked open inside of me right after giving birth to my first daughter. From that point on, I truly understood my power and motherhood has been my biggest inspiration. It became my mission to make sure she lived in a world where she feels truly seen and valued,” she said.

“I was also deeply inspired by my trip to SA with my family. And, after having my son, Sir Carter, I felt it was important to uplift and praise our boys and to assure that they grow up with enough films, children’s books and music that promote emotional intelligence, self-value and our rich history. That’s why the film is dedicated to him.”

It has been over three months since Black Is King was released. It was based on the music of The Lion King: The Gift and was released two weeks after the first anniversary of the live-action remake of The Lion King.

Beyoncé told Vogue that shooting the film started in her backyard but it eventually expanded and saw her employ more creatives from the US and Africa.

Busiswa was featured on the song titled My Power. She said though she was excited to work on the project, she was initially shy and downplayed her performance until one of the producers encouraged her.

“The only thing I had in my head when I was on that set was: I need to make my people proud. I said I want my people to be proud. They must see me and say, 'That one is ours, you can't deny it.'”

Nyaniso played the role of Simba in the film. He described the atmosphere on the set of Black Is King as “exciting” and “warm”.

“It still feels like a prayer. Something that I take deep breaths to truly embrace. I felt safe and supported. Everyone holds a warm environment in the team,” he said.