On Tuesday night, Beyoncé made a bold, sentimental dedication. Speaking with ABC News’s Robin Roberts during a special program that aired ahead of the new Lion King’s release, the singer explained the motivations behind the compilation album she executive-produced as an accompaniment to the film. “This soundtrack is a love letter to Africa, and I wanted to make sure we found the best talent from Africa, and not just use some of the sounds and did my interpretation of it,” she said, of The Lion King: The Gift. “I wanted it to be authentic to what is beautiful about the music in Africa. ”
During the Roberts special, Beyoncé also premiered the video for her new song “Spirit,” which plays during the movie and is included on the album. “Spirit” begins with a Swahili chant that translates to “Long live the king.” (The song also appears on the film’s official soundtrack, which is otherwise rather similar to the 1994 version.) The music video is an unsurprisingly impressive production: Beyoncé belts the inspirational lyrics with gospel-like intensity as she stands flanked by impeccably styled dancers. Everything, in classic Knowles fashion, is precise. The background is by turns lush and arid; Beyoncé is pictured both near a waterfall and in the desert. The latter landscape is, of course, a familiar visual cue for works produced in (or inspired by) the continent. It’s hard to watch “Spirit” and not immediately recall, for example, Janet Jackson’s 1997 music video for “Together Again.”
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