Words By Ime Ekpo
The Lion King is one of Disney’s most quintessential films and long-time fans are having mixed feelings about the cast for its 2019 live-action remake. Currently reigning as the biggest entertainer in the world, Beyoncé has been cast to play Nala, the love interest of Simba and the role has sparked a conversation as to why the 22 Grammy award-winning singer was chosen.
The credibility of Beyoncé’s acting skills has been questioned due to her overwhelming mark as a musical entertainer, despite her evident experience in voice acting like when she voiced Queen Tara in 3D computer animated film, Epic. Many fans believe Beyoncé playing Nala will distract viewers from the actual character of Nala, due to being captivated by Beyoncé’s presence. When Disney announced the movie cast, social media immediately when abrupt about the Nala actress, but very minimally were other cast members praised. The role of Mufasa, Simba’s father remains in the posture of James Earl Jones, who played in 1994 make, while Atlanta star, Donald Glover will play the adventurous Simba.
The reality is, most of those complaining about the role are indeed white fans. Apparently, some white Lion King fans believe Beyoncé is not the greatest actress and don’t think she was the only black actress available to play Nala. Black actresses in the likes of Anika Noni Rose and songbird/actress Brandy have been thrown into the pool of suggestions by white fans for the Nala role. Many fans are making claims they “will never see Nala the same” once the 2019 live-action remake comes to life and are under the impression Beyoncé did not have to audition for the role. Another issue white Lion King fans have expressed is the blatant predominantly black cast in contrast to the original 1994 predominantly white cast. They believe Disney is making an attempt to gain mass viewership from black audiences and is using the popularity of Beyoncé to do so.
— Will Carpenter (@whcarpent) November 4, 2017
Also, there have been a couple of Beyhive members that expressed the same unpopular opinion. Also hardcore Lion King fans, some Beyhive members see the casting to be “trash” and find Bey’s role “ridiculous” due to her primary mark as an entertainer. Some Beyoncé fans have even found actress Scarlett Johansson a better fit for the Nala role.
— Jasmine Gipson (@JasmineGip) November 2, 2017
Voicing Nala in The Lion King live-action remake suits the calming tone of Beyoncé. The adult Nala, a cultivated, graceful lioness is parallel to Beyoncé’s signature fierce persona. Perhaps, hardcore Lion King fans should give Queen Bey a chance to prove them wrong.