Beyoncé’s new visual album Black Is King is making waves, but the exciting part is that there are two African writers at the heart of the project. Warsan Shire’s poetry is featured while Yrsa Daley-Ward is one of the writers of the film.
This is the third time that Beyoncé is featuring African writers in her work, counting her sample of Chimamanda Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists.
Black Is King is an offshoot of Disney’s The Lion King story. Beyoncé blends folkloric and Afrofuturist elements to create a visual experience that celebrates African and Diaspora cultures. Critics are praising the film for its stunning cinematography and epic narrative.
This is the second Beyoncé feature for Shire. In 2016, her work was featured in Lemonade. In Black Is King, her poetry is also featured though she is not credited as a writer.
It is Daley-Ward’s first time to work with the singer. Daley-Ward was born in England to Nigerian and Jamaican parents. She is known for two critically acclaimed poetry collections, Bones and The Terrible, in addition to her work in instapoetry.
She is credited as a writer on Black Is King alongside Beyoncé, Clover Hope, and Andrew Morrow.
You can listen to Beyoncé voicing one of Daley-Ward’s pieces in this video clip she shared on Instagram.
“You, who were formed by the heat of the galaxy. What a thing to be one and the same and still unlike any other.
Life is a set of choices.
Follow your light
or lose it.”
View this post on Instagram
“You, who were formed by the heat of the galaxy. What a thing to be one and the same and still unlike any other. Life is a set of choices. Follow your light or lose it.” I was overjoyed to write on this stunning film by @beyonce. Coming to @disneyplus July 31st 🖤🖤🖤 #blackisking #beyonce
In another instagram post, Daley-Ward suggests that the title “Black Is King” comes from a poem she contributed to the project.
There is no doubt that a film by Beyoncé is a great platform for writers and their work to reach a broader audience. Congrats to Daley-Ward and Shire!