Christmas came early for Rihanna’s Navy. After a six-year hiatus, the Bajan beauty released “Lift Me Up,” the first of two songs she contributed to the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack, which will be released this Friday, November 4th. Hours after the touching tribute to the life and legacy of Chadwick Boseman premiered, Rihanna dropped the moving video for the song. The visual directed by Autumn Durald Arkapaw is a woman’s touch personified and the picture-perfect complement to the stirring single.
The video is simple, yet powerful. It opens to the sound of crashing waves before a dimly lit beach comes into focus as Rihanna’s initial crawls on screen. The camera pans to the new mother on a beach with the blue of the ocean and opalescent sunset as her solemn backdrop. “Lift me up / Hold me down / Keep me close / Safe and sound,” she sings, her hands and face raised to the sky.
Rihanna is sophisticated serenity in the video. Clad in an off-white gown and puffer jacket, she crosses her wrists and cradles them to her chest in the beloved Wakanda Forever salute. Throughout the clip, her silhouette is illuminated by the setting sun and a roaring bonfire.
Director Arkapaw cuts back and forth from Rihanna to Wakanda, revealing the characters Shuri, Queen Ramonda, Okoye and Nakia, all ostensibly mourning together in what is an emotional juxtaposition. The song, seemingly connects the women as it evokes a shared sentiment, “We need light / We need love.”
Arkapaw, who is also director of photography for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, deftly captures the sensuous power, vulnerability and serenity of feminine energy in this breathtaking work. Rihanna is riveting in the visual that will elicit a wave of emotion. No, those aren't onions; we are crying ugly tears.
While we eagerly await Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s arrival in theaters on Friday, November 11th, watch the video below to welcome back Queen Rihanna and prepare to say farewell to King T’Challa.