“Step out of your estimate and into your essence.”
I downloaded The Gift, the comparison Beyonce album to The Lion King live-action remake. I loved the album, and Key To The Kingdom, Spirit and Find Your Way Back are my favorite songs! The whole album is a vibe, really. Being totally honest with you all, after LEMONADE? I became a Beyonce Stan. I work part-time and weekends at the BeyHive.
But, what has impressed me about her, what made me become a Stan, is her raw talent and willingness to challenge herself–and in that challenging, to let us see only what we need to see. And, like all good artists, she wants us to see ourselves. I have seen and listened to her become more herself, more confident and self-assured as an artist. She is no longer just Beyonce that was the lead in Destiny’s Child! Like she said in HOMECOMING, the world wants Black women to just stay in their little boxes. Well, Black women don’t really do that–and have never stayed in boxes well.
The world, all vain and White-seeking, wants to relegate anything which is non-White, not White-seeking, to a box designated for erasure. We as minority people, especially Black people, need to be able to see ourselves as we are, as we must, as we have always been. Black Is King is a loveletter…to us! Every depiction in this film is positive, is beautiful, is detailed and brilliant! Every aspect of this film, from the significance of colors, to how she wore her hair, to the languages (yes, LANGUAGES!) she sang in. No detail is overlooked!
You have to appreciate the time and detail it took for her to compile this, to do this, to release this! The film is a masterpiece, rich with symbolism, clearly made with a love for a culture, and a people. The artists that were featured on the album were in the film as well for their respective parts! Why? Real artists, like real leaders, know you build as you climb. You leave keys, maps and ladders so that those after you have a path and a way up and out!
I watched this film with my daughters. I watched as my youngest, fascinated by all things creative, watched in rapt attention. I watched her see herself on screen. And her eyes lit up. It was the same light that I had once I found out I could create worlds from thought–the first time a saw a Black Barbie doll. It was a stirring that I am sure my baby girls felt as they watched this woman they had only seen in sips and pieces create a lovenote for them.
Especially for them.
As I heard the words of Waran Shire come through the vessel of Beyonce’s voice, it was a confirmation of the power of words and the visibility of myself in print. I sat straighter as I watched. I sang and danced around my living room, feeling myself light up from the inside. You see, according to African mythology, all the stories of the world belong to Anasi The Spider. In being a storyteller, in being a writer, I am only doing what my ancestors did. Gathering wisdom, gathering strength, and giving it as gifts for those who need it. I am doing my celestial assignment. I am doing what I was purposed on Earth through the mind of God to do. And for that reminder, I am grateful.
We as a people needed this film. We needed to see ourselves as we have always been. We have always been great, despite people and time and circumstances! There is never a bad time to remember who you are. There is, and will never be, a bad time to remind your children who they can become.
For this love letter, thank you, Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter, mother of Blue, Rumi and Sir. Thank you.
Note: If you enjoyed the film, please consider becoming a supporter of the poet Waran Shire (she did the poetry for Lemonade too!). All her work is on Amazon, especially her most noted, Teaching My Mother To Give Birth. Thank you.