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Beyoncé’s ‘Black Is King’ Is No Secret, but Still Comes With Mystery

Her latest project is her first with Disney+: a visual album connected to the music she oversaw for the “Lion King” remake. And as usual, she’s captured fans’ attention by saying little.

The playbook is familiar, though the particulars are new: Beyoncé unveils a new project. Details, though scant, are pored over for clues. Social media immediately bubbles with anticipation and debate.

On Friday, Beyoncé will release “Black Is King,” a visual album connected to Disney’s remake last year of “The Lion King,” on the Disney+ streaming platform. Announced a month ago, “Black Is King” is a typically ambitious latter-day project for Beyoncé — she wrote and directed it, and is executive producer — that adapts the “Lion King” story to a wider narrative of African history and heritage. It also represents Beyoncé’s latest move as a self-directed business figure, aligning herself with a major media partner, as she has done before with Tidal, HBO, Apple and Netflix.

“Black Is King,” which is based on songs that Beyoncé created for “The Lion King: The Gift,” a companion album to last year’s remake, carries added weight since Beyoncé herself has made a case for its topical significance.

“The events of 2020 have made the film’s vision and message even more relevant,” she wrote in a rare explanatory post on Instagram. “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.”

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