Beyoncé has just dropped the music video for “Spirit,” her new single off her forthcoming Lion King album, and fans are eating it up, launching it into the #1 Trending seat on YouTube.
A vibrant visual feast, the video finds us in a desert with a hazy sun glowing behind a shadowed, dancing figure. Then, we’re taken to a gorgeous mountainscape plain flanked by elephants and birds before being introduced to a child in a saturated, deep-blue dress and clutching onto her mother’s matching garb.
Clips from the live-action Disney film, including the iconic scene in which Rafiki holds baby Simba up on Pride Rock, are interspersed with shots of Beyoncé belting out “Spirit” while dressed in spectacular, runway-ready gowns and surrounded by troupes of dancers wearing monochromatic outfits.
In the video, Beyoncé, who voices adult Nala in the Disney remake, is first seen donning a regal and flowing, pink and red ruffled dress while sitting in the desert. Blue Ivy wears a similar pink ruffled dress, cameoing alongside her mother and a row of black women in simple red monochromatic outfits and with red-tinted, natural hair blowing back in the desert winds.
In a breathtaking mix of couture and custom, we then see Beyoncé trade ruffles for a more tight-fitting deep blue and arms lined with countless golden bracelets while vocalizing under a flowing waterfall before the video erupts into dance, all celebrating the diverse clothing, music and dance of Africa.
Drenched in gorgeous cinematography capturing sweeping landscapes and assemblages of background dancers, Beyoncé takes center stage in her loving nod toward the continent.
“The concept of the video is to show how God is the painter, and natural beauty in nature needs no art direction,” Beyoncé explained during the primetime ABC special that premiered the video. “It’s the beauty of color, the beauty of melanin, the beauty of tradition.”
As Queen Bey sings her final lines, we’re left in the desert as the sun sets and the dancing ceases.
While the video is a love letter to Africa, Beyoncé didn’t travel all the way there to film the video. Actually, some of the video was shot in the Grand Canyon last week, according to The Arizona Republic. The scenes were shot at Havasu Falls, one of the canyon’s most coveted sites, and the filmmakers had to get permission from the Havasupai tribe to fly in Beyoncé and her crew for five hours of shooting.
Beyoncé’s Lion King-inspired album, The Lion King: The Gift, will be released this Friday, July 19. She curates and executive produces the companion album alongside well-known artists like her costar Childish Gambino, Pharrell and Jay-Z.
But that’s not all. We’ll also hear work from African artists such as Mr. Eazi, Tiwa Savage, Tekno, Yemi Alade, Burna Boy, Ja Ara E, Salatiel, Wizkid, Shatta Wale, Busiswa and Moonchild Sanelly.
“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,” Beyoncé explained to ABC News. “I wanted it to be authentic to what is beautiful about the music in Africa.”
And surely enough, Beyoncé fans are eating up all the new content.
Watch the video for yourself below.