'Black Is King': Beyoncé treats fans to 'Already' music video ahead of visual album release
The video has Beyoncé delivering some powerful lyrics and moves, blending Ghanian and African American cultures effortlessly in her latest passion project
Beyoncé is kicking off the launch of her visual album 'Black Is King' with the release of a music video for 'Already'. The song itself is a gorgeous blend of African-American and Ghanian music thanks to Beyoncé teaming up with Ghanaian singer Shatta Wale electronic dance music act Major Lazer, but the music video takes this vibe to a whole new level, blending elements from different cultures in a way that celebrates Black pride and joy.
'Black Is King' was originally developed to be a companion to 'The Lion King: The Gift', an album that Beyoncé curated for the 2019 film 'The Lion King'. But as it became apparent that the world was changing, and Black people were at the forefront of that change in addition to being most significantly impacted by it, Beyoncé and her team found a need to gently steer the project towards something grander. 'Black Is King' is thus more than just a visual album, it is set to be a true celebration of a wide range of African cultures, drawing inspiration from the continent as well as the African diaspora.
'Already' has Beyoncé reminding her fellow Black people that they are already kings, and encourages them to own their own beauty. The music video expands on this, featuring a blend of Lion King-inspired imagery, African people in their own towns, tribal African folk, traditional as well as contemporary Black dance styles, and so much more. It also intersperses some natural documentary-style footage with more modern-looking shots, blending the two worlds: traditional and urban.
Despite not releasing yet, 'Black Is King' has already seen some criticism owing to what many perceive as Beyoncé's attempt to romanticize both traditional and modern Africa. Essentially, it appears that in trying to convey the representation African American youth are seeking, the singer may have inadvertently overlooked how African youth with to be portrayed. But if 'Already' is anything to go by, it seems like Beyoncé is trying to strike a balance between the two, one that allows African creators to tell their own story while also helping African Americans to take pride in their own racial and cultural origins. And that makes for the kind of representation that Black communities across the diaspora have rarely seen in mainstream media.
But in addition to representation, 'Already' also demonstrates that Beyoncé has taken her myriad of skills to an unimaginable new level. The singer is credited as a producer, director, and writer for 'Black Is King', and given how stunning the visuals for 'Already' are, it's hard to not feel intensely excited for the rest of the film. Additionally, the lyrics and music of 'Already' are, as expected when it comes to Beyoncé, absolutely gorgeous, and manage to effortlessly blend the singer's own musical style with those of her collaborators on the track. And to make all of this even more impressive, she performs several styles of dancing in the video, including a powerful routine with a dancer painted in blue that is sure to leave everyone breathless.
It's hard to imagine how Beyoncé is going to top her previous visual album and directorial work, but 'Already' is certainly setting some very high expectations.