6 Very Specific References You Might Have Missed in Beyoncé's "Black Is King"
Last week, the debut of Beyoncé's Black Is King film sparked a flurry of Disney+ subscriptions, enthusiastic memes, think pieces, and tons of exposure for everyone involved behind-the-scenes. Of course, our focus was on the lavish, mesmerizing, imposing outfits—I pretty much ran out of adjectives trying to describe them. For that, you can thank costume designer Zerina Akers. She collaborated with Beyoncé, creative director Kwasi Fordjour, and Paris-based stylist Rogelio Burgos on the memorable looks.
I interviewed Akers about her work on the monumental film and she revealed plenty of gems. For my first question, I asked about what specific references helped guide her vision. "To name a few: The hides used in Zulu culture. Ndebele neck stretching," she responded. "The Masked Men of Burkina Faso. The jumping dances of the Maasai people. Nigerian unified wedding dressing. These all lenses subtle nuances to the wardrobe."
Akers also mentioned a way she conveyed Beyoncé's theme of regality via accessories. "Throughout the film, you will see things like cowrie shells (many items made by LaFalaise Dion) which was inspired by a time when cowrie shells were traded as currency and worn as a symbol of wealth," Akers told Who What Wear. Scroll down to read the rest of our enlightening interview with Zerina Akers.