‘Black is King’ is re-imagination of ‘The Lion King (2019).’ It takes you on a breathtaking voyage of the African culture, which, in turn, allows you to understand the beauty and depth of the African lineage and its reflection on the identity of the Black community today. Several renowned artists such as Beyoncé, JAY-Z, Kelly Rowland, Naomi Campbell, Tina Knowles-Lawson, Pharrell Williams, Lupita Nyong’o, and many more, were involved in the project. Along with them, the visual album also included contributions from directors Emmanuel Adjei, Blitz Bazawule, Pierre Debusschere, Ibra Ake, Dikayl Rimmasch, Jake Nava, and Kwasi Fordjour.
Apart from being thematically rich and culturally relevant, ‘Black is King’ also blows you away with its stunning imagery. So for those who are wondering where its filming took place, here are all the details.
Black is King Filming Locations
‘Black is King’ walks a viewer through multiple chapters, all of which depict different African localities. As confirmed by the ones involved in its production, the film picked up local cast and crew from all the filming locations that it features throughout its runtime. For the most part, the filming of ‘Black is King’ took place in the second half of 2019 in several different locations of South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, New York, Los Angeles, London, and Belgium.
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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
In the opening scenes, the film features large Zulu beehive huts, which were once created by the Zulu ethnic group of KwaZulu-Natal province in the east of South Africa. These scenes were shot in Shakaland Zulu Village, which is only a recreation of a traditional Zulu homestead. The village was first created back in the 80s for the filming of a South African series called Shaka Zulu. Now it is an immensely popular tourist destination where travelers get a first-hand experience of the diverse Zulu culture.
— Samke Phungula-Goldwyn (@PhungulaSam) August 1, 2020
I hope y’all know that Beyoncé didn’t choose Nandi Madida by mistake. It was not. She did her homework. Queen Nandi was a daughter of Bhebhe, and mother of the famous Shaka, King of the Zulus. Beyoncé used the throne to tell the beautiful story of the Zulu tribe. 🖤#BlackIsKing pic.twitter.com/8bSkyDNl79
— The boy of your dreams (@sipho_sphola06) August 1, 2020
Another major South African filming location for ‘Black is King’ was the Roman Catholic Church in Emthambothini. Decorated with bright and colorful geometric Ndebele patterns, the church was first built in the year 1975, near Siyabuswa in the old KwaNdebele territory of South Africa.
In South Africa itself, the third filming location for the movie was Johannesburg, a popular site where other well-known movies like ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron‘ and ‘Malcolm X’ have previously been filmed. Among all the different locations of the “The City of Gold,” ‘Black is King’ takes its viewers through several sprawling sites of the metropolis including the cylindrical-shaped The Ponte City Apartments located in Johannesburg’s Berea neighborhood.
— Bassie Lastrassi (@BassieM_) July 30, 2020
In Western Africa, ‘Black is King’ was predominantly shot in Ghana and Nigeria. Joshua Kissi, a Ghanaian-American creative, was also involved with the movie’s production in Ghana and even expressed his gratitude towards Beyoncé’s visual album on twitter. Check it out below:
#BlackIsKing ~ I was tapped to contribute and direct the Ghana 🇬🇭 portion of the film there was nothing like contributing to this vision through narratives on the ground in my home country. This wouldn't be possible without my on the ground Ghana team! pic.twitter.com/w6lm2lZSQu
— Joshua Kissi (@JoshuaKissi) June 29, 2020
Nigerian creative director, Ibra Ake, did the same on his Instagram account. Check it out below:
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Black is King. July 31st. Thank you Queen Beyoncé. Thank you @kwasifordjour (love always). And thanks to everyone that worked on this with me. @mamag__ @jm_filmstv @mejialabi @dafeoboro @alabi.isama and @iamdanielobasi (usually there’s more jokes about sincere accomplishments but I’m afraid of the hive so on my best behavior.)
Among all the different locations, the Nigerian portion of the film also features The National Arts Theatre in Iganmu, Lagos, which was first built in 1976. The art theatre is shaped like a military hat and is inspired by the Palace of Culture and Sports in Varna, Bulgaria.
— Kᗩᖇᒪ ᑎOᐯᗩ 🕶 (@KarlNova) July 31, 2020
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Black Is King, a film by @beyonce. Super pumped to have played our part on the Nigerian chapter of this film 🧡 alongside amazing creatives. Nigerian Chapter: Creative Director: @Ibraake Co-Directors: @mejialabi, @ibraake, @dafeoboro Prod Co: @jm_filmstv Producer: @j_adesanya Line Producer: @alabi.isama Styling by @iamdanielobasi Art by @anti.design DP’s: @kcobiajulu, @themuhammadatta Casting by @jm_filmstv, @dafeoboro Full credits in film
Even in the West, ‘Black is King’ was shot in a myriad of locations. Among these, Arizona’s scenic Havasu Falls is bound to grab your attention. Located in the grounds of the Havasupai Indian Reservation in the Grand Canyon, the falls takes your breath away with its sparkling blue-green water that pours out of the orange canyon that surrounds it.
— Denea Joseph (@DeneaRandeen) July 31, 2020
Here’s another interesting tidbit. Many would be quite familiar with the Iconic 1920s Mediterranean Revival-style Beverly Hills Mansion, which was featured in ‘The Godfather‘ as well. The massive property accommodates 19 bedrooms, 29 bathrooms, a two-story library, two formal dining rooms, a grand living room, and vibrant gardens and pools, which serve as a backdrop to several scenes of ‘Black is King.’
— Jay McMullen (@JayGMcMullen) July 30, 2020
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