It’s official: Rihanna is making her long-awaited return to music with “Lift Me Up,” the first single from Marvel’s hit sequel “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”
The song, a tribute to the life and legacy of Chadwick Boseman, was written by Tems, Ludwig Göransson, Rihanna and director Ryan Coogler. It will be released on Friday, October 28 before the movie, which hits theaters on November 11. Rihanna briefly teased the song’s melodic buzz on social media, but little is known about the style and sound of “Lift Me Up.”
“After talking with Ryan and hearing his direction for the film and the song, I wanted to write something that depicts a warm embrace from all the people I’ve lost in my life. I tried to imagine what that would do if I could sing for them now and express how much I miss them,” Tems said in a statement. “Rihanna has been an inspiration to me, so hearing her pass on this song is a great honor.”
Rihanna’s own label, Westbury Road, is releasing “Lift Me Up” in partnership with Roc Nation, Def Jam Recordings and Hollywood Records. Details on the rest of the film’s soundtrack, which will be available November 4, remain sketchy.
For Marvel, collaborating with Rihanna — a press release says the song “ushers in the next era of Rihanna’s iconic career” — is another huge blow after hooking up Kendrick Lamar and SZA to write “All The Stars” for the original ‘Black Panther’. The catchy track, which played over the film’s end credits, went on to earn an Academy Award nomination for Original Song, in addition to numerous Grammy nominations. (It’s unclear when “Lift Me Up” will appear in the sequel.) The first “Black Panther” soundtrack featured music by Schoolboy Q, Vince Staples, Jorja Smith, Travis Scott, the Weeknd, and Khalid, while its original score was composed by Goransson.
Boseman, who played King T’Challa in the original “Black Panther,” died of colon cancer in 2020 at the age of 43. The follow-up film centers on the rulers of Wakanda as they come to terms with the death of their leader and fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers. Angela Bassett, Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke co-star in the film.
Like the original, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is expected to be another box office hit. Early estimates have the film set to gross at least $175 million in its opening weekend, which would mark one of the biggest debuts of the year. In 2018, the original “Black Panther” became an instant hit, launching at $202 million and eventually grossing $700.4 million domestically and $1.3 billion worldwide. It’s likely that the sequel will also top $1 billion at the global box office.
In addition to commercial riches, “Black Panther” became the first superhero film to receive an Oscar Best Picture nomination. Although it lost the top prize to “Green Book”, it won Oscars for costume design, score and production design.
The news amplifies Rihanna’s big comeback to music, which will continue when she headlines the Super Bowl LVII halftime show in February 2023. It’s been over half a decade since Rihanna’s last album , “Anti,” released in 2016. Since then, the new mom has expanded her repertoire as a successful businesswoman and has become a billionaire thanks to her cosmetics brand Fenty Beauty and her Savage x Fenty lingerie line.
His halftime appearance came as a surprise to many given his long hiatus from songwriting. However, she vaguely commented on two different albums in the years that followed (and was photographed entering and exiting recording studios), one being described as dancehall-adjacent. Still, full details on a full solo Rihanna studio album remain scarce.
Coming soon, Rihanna is gearing up for her fourth annual Savage X Fenty fashion show which will feature Anitta, Burna Boy, Don Toliver and Maxwell as performers. The event will be streamed exclusively via Prime Video with other bold names such as Ángela Aguilar, Avani Gregg, Bella Poarch, Cara Delevingne and many more set to make appearances.
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