It’s date night with the hubs and opening night of The Lion King Live at the Saengar Theater. I haven’t been to a live theatrical play in God knows how many years, but I am so glad we decided to go.
We all know the story of The Lion King, the first black Disney animation aka the greatest Disney animation of all time (You can debate me on this! Your fave Elsa could never!). Anyway we all know the tragedy of losing the greatest black father since James on Good Times. The death of Mufasa will always be the greatest tragedy. Yet, the animation film could not do what any Disney animation, including the Princess and the Frog, which was make us human.
The play did an amazing job recapturing my childhood, but also making me see the true message of Simba’s story as an adult. The additional segments that weren’t apart of the movement really drove it home for me.
- The daring boldness of the lionesses who took Black Girl Magic to another. Black women protecting their home, their culture, their young. Not just bowing to their King, but being the foundation that holds the kingdom together.
- Mufasa struggling to be a strong leader in his home while trying to find the right amount of gentleness to chastise and guide his son.
- Simba going through the stages of young rebellion without his father only being left to fall into a space of immaturity and irresponsibility.
- Nala becoming a woman after being nurtured by the lionesses going on a journey alone to help protect her family, her home, and her way of life.
- Simba realizing he needed that strong woman to help remind him that it was OK to go back home where he is loved and needed, and having that same woman knock him on his tail to put some sense into him.
- The religious undertones of Simba crying out to his father whom he has run so far away from to the point He has forgotten him and who he really was. Also, the reminder that he bore the image of his father, his creator, that tells him he is worthy.
- Not to mention the use of authentic African languages, the beautiful African clothing worn as performers danced as humans, the pouring of African pride all over this theatrical presentation, and not to mention the influence of Roots and Coming to America.
- Lastly, before I forget, Rafiki was played by a woman. A woman with influence, wisdom, and power. Rafiki had to be my absolute favorite character. From the way she spoke in an indigenous dialect to her amazing voice to her stage presence. Just everything about her made me feel black joy.
Reflecting on the Kinks:
Overall, it was worth every penny and I believe our community really needs to see this play. It brings out a sense of pride and ambition to remember who we are and where we come from in a time when our society wants us to forget.
1. We are image bearers.
2. We are more than what we have become.
3. We must remember our greatness in the midst of our trials and live out our true purpose.