Beyoncé fans received a big treat with the debut of her new visual album “Black Is King”.
However, “Black Is King” was nearly derailed by COVID-19, and in a new interview the project’s directors reveal they were forced to improvise when the pandemic caused production to halt before filming could be completed.
Speaking with The Fader, “Black Is King” co-directors Emmanuel Adjei and Blitz Bazawule (Beyoncé was also a co-director) were joined by Parkwood Entertainment creative director Kwasi Fordjour to explain how the pandemic left them with two options: put the project on hold until production could safely resume, or figure out some creative solutions to complete the film using the footage that had already shot.
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“We were planning to add more to the story,” Fordjour said. “We had to table that idea and really look at everything we had and go, ‘Okay, this is what we’ve got, here is the messaging, here is the story. How can we enhance this?’ We had the key ingredients and all of those things helped tell the story the way we told it.”
According to Bazawule, the footage that had yet to be filmed was instead sourced from existing footage, which created some unique challenges. Ultimately, Bazawule explained, the universe had the final say.
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“COVID was such a shift in our entire worldview and I think the universe is so wise,” he said. “The timing of this piece could not have been better. The fact that we were planning to add more and the universe said nope. We were shooting so much content that we never fully watched or listened to, so we had to go back and create from what we already had.”
Added: Adjei: “The whole process of building this film felt like creating this painting and every brushstroke adds a new image like you’re discovering what you’re making. Sometimes you need to remove stuff, sometimes you need to add a little bit more. Sometimes you have to change your whole palette, but that was an essential part of this project. It was an unorthodox way of making a feature-length project.”