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Fashion feast: Beyoncé's new album is a gift to fashionistas

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Beyonce in the crystal-encrusted catsuit by d.bleu.dazzled

Beyonce in the crystal-encrusted catsuit by d.bleu.dazzled

Beyonce in the crystal-encrusted catsuit by d.bleu.dazzled

When last year’s super-CGI remake of The Lion King was released, the response was decidedly lukewarm. It was a box-office smash, but many Beyoncé fans were left wondering why the star took part. She was already so much bigger than a few lines as Nala in Disney’s cartoon cat story.

The Gift — Beyoncé’s companion record, a showcase for contemporary Nigerian, South African, Ghanaian and Cameroonian artists — had a more favourable reception, although it was criticised for its lack of North African contributors and remains her lowest-selling album. Upon the launch of the trailer for Black Is King, Beyoncé’s cinematic adaptation of that album, critics were primed, and the 80-second clip prompted accusations of a “Wakandafication” of Africa, in reference to the fictional kingdom from Marvel movie Black Panther.

But the singer has clearly done her homework: when Black Is King arrived on Disney+ on Friday, viewers couldn’t but be amazed by the amount of research and artistic labour that went into the feature-length project. Filmed in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Belgium, England and the US, it was, Beyoncé says, a year in the making. And though she is named as writer, producer and director, the credits comprise more than 1,000 collaborators, including Ghanaian-born co-director Kwasi Fordjour and Nigerian-British filmmaker Jenn Nkiru.