Rihanna’s musical career has been a gift for the world to hoard and treasure. However, the artist had long since put her setlist on hold in favor of more business-savvy endeavors. The years since 2016 have witnessed her rise as the owner of the beauty line, Fenty, and the advancement of her resume as an actress in the ensemble film, Ocean’s Eight. Now, after 6 years of multiple teases and no music, the Barbadian pop icon has returned with a solo single and no comeback has been more deserving.
Rihanna Releases Lift Me Up For MCU’s Black Panther 2
The Diamonds singer’s name was last seen on the Billboards after the release of ANTI in January 2016. Rihanna had succumbed to an extended period of indefinite hiatus since then, even though the pop star didn’t exactly shy away from public promises of ending the prolonged wait for her fans. The end did come as promised and it spreads across fandoms, seeping into the very core of the Marvel family as her solo single Lift Me Up begins the healing process for the tragedy left in the wake of Chadwick Boseman‘s passing.
Declared as part of the official soundtrack of the Phase 4 film, Lift Me Up captures the nostalgia and honors the legacy of the late Black Panther actor. The single also manages to bring out the songwriter in Wakanda Forever director Ryan Coogler as he too contributes to its genesis, alongside artists Tems and Ludwig Göransson. At the film’s world premiere, Coogler mentioned how the second film was intended to be painted in a vastly different tone than its predecessor and that his team was “looking for artists who could embody [the film] thematically… and Rihanna was at the top of that list.”
The song not only embodies the theme but does great justice to Coogler’s vision for the send-off and tribute that the director managed to pave together for the star and legend, Chadwick Boseman.
Ryan Coogler Shares the Genesis Story of Rihanna’s Single
During a press conference for the Phase Four closer, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Ryan Coogler revealed details about the journey that brought about Rihanna’s solo comeback nearly seven years after her last album release.
“I can’t take sole credit for that… Rihanna has given us a whole career and now she’s given us makeup and clothing and I think the world would understand if she hung up her mic and I’d completely understand. I feel like she’s given us all we could ask for.”
However, the song needed to represent the feeling of loss alongside the empowerment that comes with womanhood. And when it comes to Wakanda Forever, a film that greatly explores the female characters and their rise to power in the aftermath of T’Challa’s passing, “it made sense it would be a woman… made sense it could be someone who could speak to the feeling of motherhood.”
“I think it timed up that she was in that kind of space in her life. She was open and it was really the trailer, when she saw the performances everybody was putting down in the trailer, that made her say, ‘I want to see that film and see if I can figure it out.’ The truth is, once she played us the record, she said, straight up, ‘I did this for Chad’ and so it was him, man.
Sitting here thinking about it, it’s hitting me right now. These four actors that are next to me [Tenoch Huerta, Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o and Letitia Wright], I watched your work since way before I knew y’all… and Chad brought us all together. He just keeps on giving. So, I’m just really thankful that Rihanna was the latest gift to join this family.”
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will definitely be controversial for its intertwined narrative that blurs reality with the fiction of in-universe storytelling. The movement #RecastTChalla has also been garnering more support among the masses as people want to see the character live on through other actors and not be subjected to slow oblivion. But with the overwhelming wave of changes that Marvel is currently doling out at present, the return of an on-screen T’Challa hardly seems like a priority right now. Wakanda Forever is about paying tribute to the late actor and the film does exactly that and then some.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premieres on November 11, 2022.