Beyonce’s visual album “Black Is King,” now streaming on Disney Plus, is truly a visual feast, filled with fashion moments to celebrate as it celebrates Blackness, motherhood and womanhood. It’s a celebration of Black ancestry and Black diaspora.
The film opens with a whisper into a baby boy’s ear and his journey downstream, which mirrors that of Moses. The opening reflects that of “The Lion King’s” “Circle of Life” opening as the boy is soon rescued by Beyonce and we see the first of her many looks that were created to tell the story of “Black Is King.”
Stylist Zerina Akers, who has collaborated with the singer for more than six years, helped curate the visuals. Together they created over 70 looks, bringing together renowned designers and Black independent designers. From cowhide to satin, Akers breaks down some key looks from “Black Is King.”
“Mood 4 Eva”
“One of my favorite moments is when Beyonce is in the cheetah print with the girls around her because it was so much fun to create – it was layered animal print on print. The large fashion houses such as Roberto Cavalli who do print have never done it quite successfully where you feel inspired to wear it.
What I loved about this are the sunglasses — for me it creates anonymity. It says, she can be anyone, anything or no one all at the same time. It also reminds me of Jean-Michel Basquiat, who says, “I cross out words so you will see them more: the fact that they are obscured makes you want to read them.”
That moment reminded me of how you get to focus on her look and then those surrounding her.”
“Find Your Way Back”
“The overall messaging of guiding and following the stars in relation to the film was fun. But what was inspiring and striking to me was how it related to how many slaves had to escape and follow the stars, but the North star wasn’t always visible. I had gotten into this obsession with Harriet Tubman and her journey.
We created this dreamlike look and added in cultural references. We took a crystal choker and like layered it to create this effect. We took four or five small bangles and welded them together to create this cuff.
I loved that this brought highbrow brands and independent designers together and the idea of merging them to create this very beautiful moment that tells the story while representing culture through those pieces.”
“That dress is by Wendy Nichol and this sequence is an interesting interpretation of that opening scene in the original ‘The Lion King’ as the whole kingdom comes together for the child.
What I love about this is the dress was built on the same base as the ‘Drunk in Love’ dress. We used the same base adding silk, organzas, satin and it’s very sexy and sensual in ‘Drunk in Love’ but for this, it felt stripped down and felt minimal.
We wanted it to have this handmade couture dress feel to it that you could add heels to it and show up on the red carpet.”
“This was one look I had on hand already and had created for something else. When we needed to insert it into this space, it turned out really beautiful.
It ended up speaking to the Mareeba Tribe from Togo and was in the culture of women herding cattle. The skirt is from Burberry, but I wanted to nod here to the Zulu culture, their native dress and how these women were really fashion-forward in a subtle way.”