In this op-ed, writer Imani Bashir argues that Beyoncé’s “Brown Skin Girl” on The Lion King: The Gift is an intentional ode to dark-skin Black women and should not be co-opted by other, less marginalized, groups.
Upon the release of the new live-action version of Disney’s The Lion King, Beyoncé blessed the world with an accompanying album. The Lion King: The Gift beautifully combines R&B, hip-hop, Afrobeats, features up-and-coming African artists, and a cameo from Blue Ivy Carter. The album also comes with the most regal visuals to celebrate beauty, culture, and of course, Black-girl magic.
One of the most popular songs on The Gift is titled “Brown Skin Girl,” which opens with sweet-voiced Blue Ivy Carter singing the hook and is a celebration of dark-skinned women. The song sparked such a grand response for its empowering lyrics that it birthed its own hashtag #BrownSkinGirlChallenge. For many, the song was a no-brainer, direct message to a specific type of woman, with darker, deeper brown skin. For others, who joined the challenge by posting their photos, it seems they skipped over the specific cues in the lyrics and only listened to the hook to celebrate themselves . . .