Stop Waiting For The Next Beyoncé Album — B7 Is Already Here

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images For Parkwood Entertainment.
On December 13, 2013, the members of the Beyhive learned a valuable lesson about stanning Beyoncé: always stay ready so you don't have to get ready. Since the surprise drop of her self-titled fifth album, fans of the superstar have been on high alert about what our fave may be up to. We're forever reading to her every move (or lack thereof) for a clue about what earth-shattering, world-stopping project could be up next. Following the release of Lemonade in 2016, much of the Hive has been anticipating the next big thing from Beyoncé, but if you ask me, B7 is already here — you just weren't paying close enough attention.
The releases of Beyoncé and Lemonade came like thieves in the night, robbing us of our sleep so we could stream and stan into the ungodly hours of the day. Beyoncé followed that same surprise rollout strategy with her 2019 drop of The Lion King: The Gift, an original soundtrack that accompanied the release of the live action Disney remake of The Lion King that she also starred in. Aptly named, The Gift featured Beyoncé making her foray into a host of genres that she has never explored before, including Afrobeats (West Africa) and kwaito (South Africa). To give the African-inspired album authenticity, she scouted some of the biggest names in African music to help her, recruiting megastars like Shatta Wale, Moonchild Sanelly, Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage, and Busiswa for features.
But The Gift wasn't the end of Beyoncé's creative probe of Africa. Unbeknownst to us, she was quietly putting together a project that would highlight the beauty of the continent's past and present — Black Is King. For a year, Beyoncé gathered some of the most talented Black creatives from around the world (Jenn Nkiru, Joshua Kissi, Ibra Ake, Emmanuel Adjei, and so many more) to help her bring her vision to to life.
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I typically keep comments short and sweet, but I just watched the trailer with my family and I’m excited. 🎶please don’t get me hype🎶🤪 “Black Is King” is a labor of love. It is my passion project that I have been filming, researching and editing day and night for the past year. I’ve given it my all and now it’s yours. It was originally filmed as a companion piece to “The Lion King: The Gift” soundtrack and meant to celebrate the breadth and beauty of Black ancestry. I could never have imagined that a year later, all the hard work that went into this production would serve a greater purpose. The events of 2020 have made the film’s vision and message even more relevant, as people across the world embark on a historic journey. We are all in search of safety and light. Many of us want change. 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. With this visual album, I wanted to present elements of Black history and African tradition, with a modern twist and a universal message, and what it truly means to find your self-identity and build a legacy. I spent a lot of time exploring and absorbing the lessons of past generations and the rich history of different African customs. While working on this film, there were moments where I’ve felt overwhelmed, like many others on my creative team, but it was important to create a film that instills pride and knowledge. I only hope that from watching, you leave feeling inspired to continue building a legacy that impacts the world in an immeasurable way. I pray that everyone sees the beauty and resilience of our people. This is a story of how the people left MOST BROKEN have EXTRAORDINARY gifts.❤️✊🏾 Thank you to Blitz, Emmanuel, Ibra, Jenn, Pierre, Dikayl, Kwasi and all the brilliant creatives. Thank you to all at Disney for giving this Black woman the opportunity to tell this story. This experience has been an affirmation of a grander purpose. My only goal is that you watch it with your family and that it gives you pride. Love y’all, B

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The Beyoncé and Disney collaboration, which premiered exclusively on Disney+, is the singer's retelling of The Lion King set in a fantastical re-imagining of Africa. Like in the classic Disney film, a young boy is led astray and ends up on an epic journey back to his roots, but Black Is King pulls elements from various African cultures and aesthetics to embellish Simba's story; the film is glittered with key components from Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria. The result? A stunning visual celebrating the expansive "breadth and beauty of Black ancestry."
As fans, we've come to realize that the only thing that we can expect from Beyoncé is excellence. She's not your typical artist, so trying to anticipate her next move is pointless because she really just does whatever she wants post-Beyoncé and Lemonade. Perhaps this is why so many fans are still so certain that her seventh studio album is still somewhere down the pipeline even after The Gift dropped last summer. Several fans are calling Black Is King a "side project," something that Beyoncé was doing in her free time (Beyoncé has free time??) when it was actually laying the groundwork for her next era.
The massive scale and impact of this film can't be stated enough. Produced by Beyoncé's company Parkwood Entertainment and distributed exclusively on Disney+, Black Is King gave her the opportunity to connect with African artists and fans alike, showing her vested interest in the continent for what many felt was the first time in ages. It was also rumored to have been the next big tour for the superstar. The alleged global tour would have taken Beyoncé and her team all around the world, including multiple tour stops in various African countries.
Black Is King is Beyoncé's attempt at bridging the cultural and generational gap made by the transatlantic slave trade, linking the descendants of enslaved Africans scatted across the diaspora back to the continent where their ancestors once thrived. Black Is King is a timely homecoming story; in Beyoncé's re-imagining of The Lion King, Simba isn't a lion but a symbol for Black recovery and restoration. And in a world where Black people all over the diaspora are constantly struggling against anti-Blackness, Black Is King's reminder of the beauty and power that flows through our DNA is as timely as ever. Like its predecessors, the film is a splashy visual album that was dropped almost out of nowhere, but it's far bigger in scope. Beyoncé isn't just interested in making albums anymore — she's creating entire worlds.
Beyoncé was already an international superstar, but Black Is King just underscores the incredible scope of her reach and hints to the next phase of her career: world-building. Whether you like it or not, B7 is here, and it's bigger than we ever imagined.
Black Is King is now available for streaming on Disney+.

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