The tear-jerking video for Rihanna‘s new song “Lift Me Up” – which will be featured in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – has finally arrived. The track was co-written by Rihanna, Tems, Oscar-winning composer Ludwig Göransson and director Ryan Coogler, and was penned to honor the life of the film’s late titular hero Chadwick Boseman who died in 2020 following a devastating battle with colon cancer.
Following hot on the heels of the spine-tingling track’s release, the video reveals new scenes of Wakanda mourning its King. The video opens with Rihanna standing next to a bonfire on the beach in a white dress with a white puffer jacket hanging off her shoulders. As she sings the opening lines, “lift me up, hold me down,” the video cuts to a scene of Wakanda’s people in a sea of white during what is presumably T’Challa’s funeral. The clip also includes a goosebump-inducing scene of what appears to capture the moment Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and Okoye (Danai Gurira), who has tears rolling down her face, find out T’Challa is dead. A later shot shows Ramonda seemingly mustering courage as she stands to her feet and looks onwards. In a perfect symphony of goodbye, Rihanna sings “keep me close, safe and sound,” as Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) stands with her hands on her hips staring out at the sea deep in contemplation.
The use of scenes spotlighting the characters in white, as well as the Grammy award-winning singer also dressed in the color, feels very intentional given that Black Panther 2’s costume designer Ruth E. Carter previously explained how she incorporated white into the wardrobe in memory of Boseman. “White is a color that’s worn in a lot of funerals in Africa — it’s either bright red or it’s white — and we chose white because it connects us to Chadwick, to T’Challa,” she told Variety.
“Lift Me Up” marks Rihanna‘s first musical release in six years and what a way to make a comeback. Songwriter Tems, who helped pen the track, explained how she envisioned singing to her lost loved ones when creating the song. “After speaking with Ryan and hearing his direction for the film and the song, I wanted to write something that portrays a warm embrace from all the people that I’ve lost in my life,” Tems explained. “I tried to imagine what it would feel like if I could sing to them now and express how much I miss them.”
With an emotional farewell leading the score for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Collider‘s Perri Nemiroff hailing the Marvel epic “beautifully cathartic and heartening,” it looks like the film is shaping up to be an immaculate memorial for Boseman‘s legacy around the world. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever arrives in theaters on November 11. You can watch the video for “Lift Me Up” here.