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Many people across the world waited anxiously for the release of Beyoncé’s ‘Black is King’, and it came with a few surprises.
Nigeria’s Mojisola Odegbami and Ghana’s Emmanuel Adjei were among those who played significant roles in Beyoncé Knowles’s ‘Black is King’, the visual album that serves as the companion piece to her music release, ‘The Lion King: The Gift.’
A CNN report said 69-year-old Odegbami did not anticipate that a trip to the United States would land her a part in two music videos in Beyoncé’s ‘album which premiered on Disney on July 31.
Beyoncé’s album is based on her soundtrack album, ‘The Lion King’, which was created for the 2019 remake of ‘The Lion King’.
Odegbami, who lives in Abeokuta, appeared in ‘Bigger’, where she took on the role of an African queen, and in ‘Mood 4 Eva’ where she was dressed in African attire.
She told CNN that her journey to being cast began with a medical trip to California in July 2019, where she met Folajomi ‘FJ’ Akinmurele, a young actor. “I was staying with my daughter’s friend, and this friend of hers has a 7-year-old son. The son, FJ, is the main character in ‘Black Is King’,” Odegbami explained.
“Each time he needed to go for practice, I was the one who drove him there because his mum would have gone to work. At that point, Beyoncé’s staff got to know me as grandma Moji,” she added. Soon, she was invited for an audition and got the role.
One of the directors of the film is a Ghanaian called Emmanuel Adjei who assisted Beyoncé in the project. Adjei is a filmmaker and visual artist, whose work has explored the realms between film, music video, and art installation with a primary interest in storytelling.
So far, the film has gotten rave reviews with The Guardian’s Candice Frederick describing the project as “a breathtaking celebration of black empowerment. She embodies images of black regality as a means to combat anti-Black oppression. Black is King has been met with universal praise. Why? Because it affirms, not divides.”
However, some social media users have said they do not see the connection between Disney Plus and ‘Black is King’. One Rob Cadena wrote: “I just don’t get what this has to do with Disney. Release it on Netflix or somewhere else!”
Mac wrote: “The stuff carrying the “Disney” banner used to hold to a certain level of family appropriate nature. The corporation has other labels for stuff like this. Use them. Preserve the family nature your predecessors created for the label.
‘Black is King’ was released globally to stream on Disney Plus on July 31, 2020, and was aired the following day across Africa.