Beyoncé and her daughter Blue Ivy have sparked a social media challenge with the release of “Brown Skin Girl”, a new song from The Lion King album celebrating the beauty of black women and girls.
When the news broke last year that Beyoncé would be lending her voice to the live action remake of The Lion King, we knew we were in for some next-level stardom. Queen Bey is, after all, a multi-Grammy award-winning singer with a groundbreaking Super Bowl performance, Coachella set and accompanying Netflix documentary to her name.
Our hopes were confirmed when the official trailer for the Disney live action spectacular was released last month, when we heard Beyoncé voicing the majestic lioness Nala for the first time. Then came the star-studded premiere of the film in London, where the resplendent Bey embraced another queen-in-kind, Meghan Markle. Now, the singer has blessed us with a brand new album featuring her spine-tingling tones. Truly, we aren’t worthy.
Over the weekend, the singer released The Lion King: The Gift, a compilation album featuring 14 original tracks, interspersed with clips from the film. It was one song in particular though, Brown Skin Girl, that captured the attention of the internet.
The track, which features guest vocals from Guyanese rapper SAINt JHN and Nigerian singer WizKid, is a joyous celebration of black women and girls. Lupita N’yong’o, Naomi Campbell, and Kelly Rowland are all name-checked, as well as her seven-year-old daughter Blue Ivy, whose voice can be heard throughout the song, especially when Beyoncé sings “If ever you are in doubt, remember what mama told you.”
Over the weekend, the song sparked a huge outpouring of love on social media, thanks to the empowering chorus: “Brown skin girl/ Your skin just like pearls/ The best thing in the world/ Never trade you for anybody else.” And it wasn’t long before black women turned up to share their own selfies alongside the hashtag #BrownSkinGirlChallenge.
But the #BrownSkinGirlChallenge also had the emphatic seal of approval from celebrities such as When They See Us director Ava DuVernay and Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o, as well as political figures including US Representative Barbara Lee, who tweeted a photo of herself and her granddaughters alongside the caption: “One of the greatest joys of my life is being a grandma to these two brown-skinned girls. Thank you @Beyonce for celebrating us and for the reminder of just how beautiful we are.”
We can’t help but applaud Beyoncé’s beautiful celebration of black women and girls in Brown Skin Girl, especially darker skinned women, who have very little positive representation in the media. If the movement encourages women and girls to embrace their complexions and recognise their beauty, then alongside Blue Ivy, this mother-daughter duo are a serious act to watch.