It Sure Is Jarring When Black Is King Suddenly Uses Billy Eichner’s Timon Voice

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That’s Disney, baby!
Photo: Parkwood Entertainment/Disney+

Beyoncé’s film Black Is King, out today on Disney+, puts so much on the screen in terms of style and poise and visual references, that it’s often easy to forget that it’s all built out of the 2019 Lion King remake. Well, until Black Is King directly deploys dialogue from the 2019 Lion King remake. Black Is King uses the music from Beyoncé’s companion album The Gift, to tell a Lion King–esque hero’s journey about a Black boy that mirror’s Simba’s coming of age. Mostly, Black Is King goes off in its own directions from there, focusing on Beyoncé’s own ideas about family and legacy, but occasionally it makes connections that feel almost mechanical, such as when the film segues between songs with dialogue taken straight from the movie itself. Most jarring: the transition from “Nile” to “Mood 4 Eva,” in which (as happens on the album), we suddenly hear Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen’s Timon and Pumba teach Simba about the concept of “hakuna matata.”

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