A beautiful, well-awaited end to the long hiatus that seemed to almost last forever.

Reflecting on Lift Me Up by Rihanna from the upcoming film Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

I remember the first time I watched Rihanna on Channel O. Or was it MTV Base??? To be honest, I actually can’t remember, but I do recall thinking her voice sounded so different from anything I had heard before and that she was so pretty, that she looked like a Barbie. Some people are just destined to be stars and Robyn Rihanna Fenty is one of them. That 17-year-old girl from Saint Michael, Barbados showed us that anything and everything is possible with a dream, hard work, some courage, and the right opportunities. Her influence around the world is undeniable: from her music, to her fashion sense, to her beauty empire that makes everybody feel like they belong, and her humanitarian work.

I may be wrong, but I do believe she somehow knew ANTI was going to be her last album; at least, for a while. Everything was well-planned, curated, and executed perfectly. From the cover art to the placement of the songs, to the two artists that were featured. I mean, Work was the summer anthem around the world. The album was raw. You could feel her emotions, the highs and lows. Would you blame me if I said I couldn’t choose a favourite song from the album? 

I won’t even lie, when I saw the announcement online for her new single Lift Me Up for the upcoming Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, I had to caution myself not to get too excited until I heard it directly from Mother’s mouth. Lift Me Up brought me to tears for so many reasons: her voice, the soft string instruments, the melody, and of course the lyrics. Euphonious. Another thing worth mentioning that couldn’t go unnoticed is the pen game of Tems, a Nigerian artist who in her own right is like no other. She wrote the lyrics for the song and there is only one word to describe the collaboration: beautiful. 

Listening to Lift Me Up made me feel the exact same way I felt when I first came across Rihanna. Her voice sounds different now from her older work and her most recent song with Party Next Door. I know six years is a long time, but she sounds so strong, in charge, and full. 

In 2018, my father and I watched Black Panther together when he came to visit me in Ibadan and we rated the movie ten out of ten. Marvel did their thing and every single one of the actors brought their character to life. Currently reminiscing, kai! That movie was too good. The death of Chadwick Boseman, who played T’Challa shook the whole world. I can’t even think of another actor in that role because it was made for him. How can someone’s death who you did not know personally affect you like that? Aside from being a multi-talented individual, he made that movie his own. When I think of Black Panther, Boseman is the first person that comes to mind. Rest in peace Chadwick Boseman, you remain forever in our hearts, and we love you.

Scorpio season has blessed us once again. Rihanna released new music and on November 11, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will be out. I know I am going to be crying in that cinema, I just know it.

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