BLACK IS KING. A mini-series. 7 episodes released over 7 days starting Monday, January 25th. Only on Spotify.
Dissect applies its award-winning analysis to the symbols, themes, and meaning of Beyonce’s film BLACK IS KING. From Dogon masks to durags, from Moses to Mansa Musa, from Bey’s backyard to Johannesburg, and from life, death, and the spiritual spaces in between, BLACK IS KING traverses freely across time, space, and cultures to highlight their connection and showcase a greater, unified Black lineage. Through this grand celebration of the Motherland, Beyonce demonstrates the profound connection that we all have to each other in this great circle of life on planet earth.
Left, the camera zooms out from the burning house, emblematic of the curse; right, the camera continues to recede in the next shot, this time travelling backward through a Louisiana Bayou. These two shots help the viewer travel from the haunted house in chapter 5 back to Madewood Plantation for chapter 6.
CH. 6 – ACCOUNTABILITY
“I come from a lineage of broken male-female relationships, abuse of power, and mistrust. Only when I saw that clearly was I able to resolve those conflicts in my own relationships.”
Beyonce, Vogue Magazine September 2018
Left, the grounds of Madewood Plantation from the perspective of the master bedroom; right, two young Black girls, a symbol of the future, run up the stairs of the plantation house, a symbol of the past.
Left, two young Black girls playing with dolls on the bed; right, the hands of the girls fixing their dolls dress and jumping on a bed. They represent one of many generations of Black women quite literally overcoming the past by healing in this historical place.
A young girl watches Beyoncé’s beauty routine admiringly, and the spoken word implies a yearning to see herself in the same image.
New Orleans chef and activist Leah Chase, otherwise known as “The Queen of Creole Cuisine,” an iconic representation of the strength, resilience, and wisdom of generations of Black women who “cannot be contained.”
Beyoncé dancing with her girlfriends, claiming “I ain’t thinking about you.” These acts and symbols establish a reclamation of power and agency in the face of the Madewood Plantation, an “impossible Black place.”
The final shot of “Apathy,” a group of five women walking into the wilderness, naked, symbolizing both courage and vulnerability as Beyoncé embarks on a new path, “far away” from her husband.
CH. 5 – EMPTINESS
Beyoncé as Pomba Gira
Left, Beyoncé encircled in fire, adorned with a blood red dress, a metallic bib necklace, and a spiked, bejeweled headpiece; right, a depiction of the Afro Brazilian spirit, Pomba Gira. Followers of Brazilian religions Umbanda and Quimbanda call upon Pomba Gira to aid them in matters of love, sex, and vengeance.
The long hallway
After a black screen and the sound of a door unlocking, the camera enters this long, eerie hallway, centered on an ominous red light at the end of it. Perhaps symbolic of “the curse,” the heart of the legacy of slavery and its inter-generational wounds inflicted upon the identities and relationships of African Americans.
The “House of Slaves” on Goree, an island off the coast of Senegal, the site of “The Door of No Return.” This doorway, opening out the Atlantic Ocean, is observed today as a symbol of the final threshold enslaved Africans passed through before boarding slave ships embarking on the tortuous Middle Passage to the Americas.
President Barack Obama looks out the “Door of No Return” during a tour of the Maison des Esclaves Museum on Gorée Island, Senegal, June 27, 2013 (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy). The site has also been visited by Pope John Paul II as well as Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
The camera dollies forward, giving the viewer a sense of compulsion and helplessness, drawn powerlessly forward toward this curse at the end of the tunnel.
Season 5 dissects Kendrick Lamar’s Pulitzer Prize winning album, DAMN.
A direct continuation of To Pimp a Butterfly, DAMN. tells the story of conflicted prophet Kung Fu Kenny who rejects God’s call to prophesy in order to pursue sex, money, and murder. We follow Kenny as he attempts to reverse his curses into blessings.
Dissect Season 3 will be premiering on Tuesday, May 15th on Spotify.
While Dissect will still be available on all podcast platforms, Spotify will have new episodes a week early as well as Spotify-exclusive bonus episodes.
You can also follow the official Dissect Pod Playlist profile on Spotify where you’ll find a handful of curated playlists by host Cole Cuchna, episode companion playlists, and collaborative playlists that listeners can contribute to directly.
We’re incredibly excited to be back for Season 2 of Dissect! This season, we dive deep into Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. With an episode dedicated to each song on the album, we’ll explore Kanye’s magnum opus on the underbelly of fame, celebrity, and power.