Black is King: Compiled Companion Guide

On July 31st, Beyonce released “Black is King” on Disney+. A project that gathered a diverse group of actors, directors and creatives to reimagine the story of “Lion King.”

“My hope is that it shifts the global perception of the word black, which has always meant inspiration, love, strength and beauty to me. “Black is King” means Black is regal, rich in history, purpose and lineage.” — Beyonce on the project’s intention

I am a major fan of Beyonce and remain inspired by her love of black people and the diaspora. I enjoy learning as much about the diaspora as possible from culture to people to history. I thought the best way I could contribute is to compile some of the existing resources from others and to put in a few days of my own research to bring you more information on the folks who were behind the scenes from directors to writers to choreographers (find me on Cash App). I focused my research on members of the diaspora given limited time (no disrespect intended).

My hope is that you and the young black people in the diaspora see themselves in front of and behind the camera for a work that was clearly a massive endeavor. View their pictures, follow them on Instagram and read about their other works. The cities listed are their hometowns, but I encourage you to research more about them to find their specific connections to the diaspora if the names or linked articles don’t make it 100% clear.

Here’s what is included in this reader:

  • Cultural References Threads on Twitter / YouTube re: Symbolism
  • Main Cast & Special Guests
  • Credited Directors, Producers, Cinematographers, Editors, Writers, Choreographers, Casting, Costume & Glam Leads (Pictures, Social Links)
  • Major press reference material for fashion designers and praise for quotes


Tip your researchers if you’re compelled: Earftones (Cash App) | Anthony_MB75 (PayPal)


Tip your researchers if you’re compelled: Alterrell on Cash App & Venmo

Top Row (L-R): Beyonce, Chiume, Akinmurele. Middle Row (L-R): Twala, Madida, Dzedze. Bottow Row (L-R): Masemola, Ojo.

BEYONCE: Houston, TX, USA. Instagram | Spotify

FOLAJOMI AKINMURELE: Nigeria | Instagram

CONNIE CHIUME: Welkom, South Africa|Instagram | Acting Credits

NYANISO DZEDZE: Johannesburg, South Africa | Instagram

NANDI MADIDA: Maphumulo, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Instagram | Spotify

WARREN MASEMOLA: Garankuwa, Gauteng, South Africa | Instagram | Acting Credits

STEPHEN “PAPI” OJO: Lagos, Nigeria | Instagram | Spotify

MARY TWALA: Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa | Acting Credits


1st Row (L-R): Akech, Chuol, Busiswa. 2nd Row (L-R):Reyez, Rowland, Afrixana. 3rd Row (L-R): Nyong’o, Sanelly, Eazi. 4th Row (L-R): Campbell, Williams, Salatiel. 5th Row (L-R): Wale, Whack, Savage. 6th Row (L-R): WizKid, Alade.

KELLY ROWLAND: Houston, TX, USA | Instagram | Spotify

LORD AFRIXANA: | Instagram | Spotify

YEMI ALADE: Abia State, Nigeria| Instagram | Spotify

JESSIE REYEZ: Toronto, Canada| Instagram | Spotify

SHATTA WALE: Accra, Ghana| Instagram | Spotify

SALATIEL: Tiko, Cameroon| Instagram | Spotify

PHARRELL WILLIAMS: Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA| Instagram | Spotify

WIZKID: Lagos, Nigeria| Instagram | Spotify

NAOMI CAMPBELL: Streatham, London, UK | Instagram | Model Profile

ADUT AKECH: South Sudan | Instagram | Model Profile

AWENG CHUOL: South Sudan| Instagram | Model Profile

LUPITA NYONG’O: Mexico City, Mexico | Instagram | Acting Credits

TIWA SAVAGE: Isale Eko, Lagos State, Nigeria| Instagram | Spotify

MR EAZI: Kumasi, Ghana | Instagram | Spotify

NIJA: Union, New Jersey, USA| Instagram | Spotify

TIERRA WHACK: Philadelphia, PA, USA| Instagram | Spotify

BUSISWA: Mthatha, Eastern Cape, South Africa | Instagram | Spotify

MOONCHILD SANELLY: Port Elizabeth, South Africa| Instagram | Spotify


Top Row (L-R): Adjei, Oboro, Milton. Middle Row (L-R): Ake, Nkiru, Fordjour. Bottom Row (L-R): Alabi, Bazawule, Kissi.

KWASI FORDJOUR: Ghana | Instagram | Decider Profile | Ghana Web Profile | Genius Profile

EMMANUEL ADJEI: Netherlands & Ghana | Instagram | Compiled Works | The Drum Profile

BLITZ BAZAWULE: Accra, Ghana | Instagram | IndieWire Profile | Ted Fellow

JENN NKIRU: Peckham, London, UK | Instagram | Black Women Directors Profile| Bomb Magazine Profile | Vice Profile

IBRA AKE: USA & Nigeria | Instagram | Compiled Works | Grammy Award Music Video

DAFE OBORO: Lagos, Nigeria | Instagram | Compiled Works | Dazed Profile

DEREK MILTON (2nd Unit Directors): Denver, CO, USA | Instagram | Compiled Works |

MEJ ALABI (2nd Unit Directors): London, UK & Texas, USA | Instagram | Compiled Works | It’s Nice That Profile | Director Credits

JOSHUA KISSI (2nd Unit Directors): Bronx, NY, USA | Instagram | Compiled Works | Essence Profile | GQ Profile

Additional Directors: Dikayl Rimmasch, Jake Nava, Julian Klincewicz, Alexandre Moors & Deon Van Zyl


L-R: Williams, Rolle, Pamon.

ERINN WILLIAMS: USA | Emmy Nominations | Clio Award | Webby Awards

STEVE PAMON: USA | Black Enterprise Profile | Billboard Profile

JANET ROLLE: NY, USA | Ad Age Profile


Top Row (L-R): Boanuh, Obiajulu. Bottow Row (L-R): Ahmed, Sayeed.

MOHAMMED ATTA AHMED (Cinematographer): Lagos, Nigeria | Twitter | Instagram | Compiled Works

DAVID BOANUH (Cinematographer): Ghana | Instagram | Ghana Web Profile | Ashesi University Praise

KENECHUKWU OBIAJULU (Cinematographer): Lagos, Nigeria | Twitter |

MALIK SAYEED (Cinematographer): New York, NY, USA | Compiled Work | Music Video Credits | Washington Post Profile

Additional Cinematographers: Ryan Marie Helfant, Santiago Gonzalez, Michael Fernandez, Erik Henriksson, Dany Hiele, Laura Merians, Nicolai Niermann & Benoit Soler.

Additional Editors: Maria-Celeste Garrahan, Haines Hall & Tom Watson.


Top Row (L-R): Dixie, Melo-X, Morrow. Bottow Row: Hope, Shire, Daley-Ward.

DEREK DIXIE (Music Director, Score): Youngstown, Ohio, USA | Instagram | Genius Profile | Music Credits |Grammy & Emmy Nominee

MELO-X (Score): East Flatbush (Brooklyn), NY, USA | Instagram | Spotify | Pitchfork Profile | Genius Profile |

YRSA DALEY-WARD (Writer): Lancashire, England, UK | Instagram | Books | Audible Profile | Poetry Foundation Profile | PEN Ackerley Prize

CLOVER HOPE (Writer): Guyana & Queens, NY, USA | Instagram |Compiled Works| Cosmopolitan Articles | The Root Articles

ANDREW MORROW (Writer, Editor): Cleveland, Ohio, USA |Instagram | Compiled Works

WARSAN SHIRE (Featured Poet): Poetry Foundation Profile

Additional Scoring: James William Blades.


Williams (L), Akers (R).

ZERINA AKERS (Costume Designer): USA| Instagram | LA Times Profile | Forbes Profile | Hype Bae Profile | Fashionista Profile | Founder of Black Biz Directory

ANISSA WILLIAMS (Casting Director): USA| Instagram | Compiled Work | Casting Credits


Top Row (L-R): Williams, Baptiste, Knight. Middle Row (L-R): Blackstock, Yav, Grant. Bottom Row (L-R): Diabate, Verwoert, Ojo.

JAQUEL KNIGHT: North Carolina & Atlanta, USA |Instagram | Forbes 30 under 30 | MTV VMA Winner

CHRIS GRANT: Bronx, NY, USA| Instagram | Broadway Dance Center Faculty | GQ Magazine Profile | MTV VMA Winner

DENEE “DNAY” BAPTISTE: Harlem, NY, USA | Instagram | Vogue Profile

EBONY WILLIAMS: Boston, MA, USA | Instagram | Broadway Dance Center Faculty | Boston Magazine Profile | Berklee Alumni Achievement Award Profile

KANEY DIABATE: Senegal| Instagram | Muve Profile

STEPHEN “PAPI” OJO: Lagos, Nigeria | Instagram | Spotify | One Tribe Magazine Profile | Voyage Houston Profile

IVAN BLACKSTOCK: Peckham, South London, UK | Instagram | Hip Hop Dance Almanac | BBC Young Dancer Profile |

SEDRIG VERWOERT: Paramaribo, Suriname | Instagram | Berlin Art Link Profile

CHRISTIAN YAV: Congo | Instagram

Additional Choreographers: Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui & Dana Foglia,


Clockwise (upper left): Kimble, Collins, Farinah, Barnett.

NEAL FARINAH (Hair): Trinidad | Instagram | Elle Profile | Essence Profile

KIM KIMBLE (Hair): Chicago, IL, USA | Instagram | Forbes Profile | Chicago Tribune Profile | B.A.P.S.

NAKIA COLLINS (Hair): Sacramento, CA, USA | Instagram | Refinery29 Profile

SIR JOHN BARNETT (Make Up): Upstate NY, USA| Instagram | Pop Sugar Profile | InStyle’s 2016 Makeup Artist of the Year

Additional Makeup Squad: Rokeaal Lizama, Francesca Tolot &Wendy Miyake


MORE RESOURCES: Fashion: Fashion Bomb Daily | Allure | Page Six | Teen Vogue Writing: Pop Sugar Beauty Looks: The Cut

Last Updated 11:54 pm ET Aug 4, 2020. If your name should be included, fill out this form.

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