As a big fan of Beyoncé, and someone who enjoyed her Netflix “Homecoming” special, you know I had to check out her ABC TV special last night. “Beyoncé Presents: Making the Gift” was a beautifully crafted behind-the-scenes hour documentary talking about the process of making the album, “The Lion King: The Gift”. This documentary, written, directed and produced by Beyoncé, showed everything that went into making this “love letter to Africa” from studio clips for each song, to the process of African producers, songwriters and artists adding the needed authenticity to the album. We even got to see Blue Ivy recording her verse in “BROWN SKIN GIRL”.
You could tell in the documentary that creating this album was beyond just making a decent enough album to go along with the live-action movie, The Lion King. This project seemed very personal. As cameras followed Beyoncé, Jay Z, and their children Blue Ivy, Rumi and Sir Carter on their trip to Africa, the global entertainer said that she felt as if she was “making peace with a part of me that’s yearning for my ancestral connection… .”
What I appreciated in Beyoncé’s “Homecoming” special that she also showed clips of in this special, is her willingness to do research and understand the topics she wants to create projects on. We were taken through her process of going through the movie script to understand the emotions she needed to provoke in each song based on the movie. We got to see an authentic African choreographer teach moves to the dancers for the “SPIRIT” music video. We also caught a glimpse of places like Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa where focus was placed on street dancing and drum culture.
Her explanation of how she created the “SCAR” song was also interesting. The majority of the album doesn’t have the same tone as this song, and that was done on purpose. She mentioned that she didn’t want to take away the “grit and reality” of the movie because there were many underlying adult lessons in The Lion King. Beyoncé also explained how there needs to be respect shown to each character and how they relate to the Circle of Life and also how they relate to her life and others.
By incorporating her creativity with African and American artists/producers like Tekno, Burna Boy, Nija, and many more, I think the special did a great job of creating a bridge between continents.
“The Gift has been so much more than a celebration of the film The Lion King,” Beyoncé shared. “To be able to work on a film that is so massive, so iconic, and to also represent African people and African Americans in a positive light is a blessing for me.”
It’s safe to say that this latest project is proof that Queen Bey has used her boss moves to work her magic once again.
By Amaris Edwards, Senior, Brooks College Prep
Snapchat & Twitter: @yungshawty_a / Instagram: @glamaris._