The long wait is over: Rihanna just released “Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. It’s her first new solo song in six years. She confirmed that the song was coming via a social media post earlier this week.
“Lift Me Up” was written by Tems, Wakanda Forever composer Ludwig Göransson, Rihanna, and director Ryan Coogler. The song is a tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman. Boseman played T’Challa, aka the Black Panther in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, 2018’s Black Panther, 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War and 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. Boseman, of course, tragically died in 2020. Marvel decided not to recast the role of T'Challa, and to instead continue the story of Wakanda with existing characters.
The film shows T’Challa’s family and the people of Wakanda mourning the loss of their leader. This mirrors the real world mourning in the wake of Boseman’s passing. That played into the writing of “Lift Me Up.” Tems – whose real name is Temilade Openiyi – said, per The Hollywood Reporter, “After speaking with Ryan and hearing his direction for the film and the song, I wanted to write something that portrays a warm embrace from all the people that I’ve lost in my life. I tried to imagine what it would feel like if I could sing to them now and express how much I miss them. Rihanna has been an inspiration to me so hearing her convey this song is a great honor.”
The song is a stripped-down ballad, focusing mostly on Rihanna’s voice. Rihanna immediately became the number one trend on Twitter, getting nearly universally amazing reviews from fans and critics alike. Listen to the song below.
Tems posted about the song after it was released. She wrote, “Blessed to have written this song in honour of Chadwick Boseman and even more blessed to hear the baddest @badgalriri voice it to perfection.” SZA, who recorded the Oscar-nominated “All The Stars” with Kendrick Lamar for the first Black Panther commented, “INCREDIBLE! Such a beautiful record.”
The “Rihanna Daily” twitter account reported that Rihanna commented on the post, saying “It’s the pen for me. Love to you sistren.”
The Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack is out a week from today, on November 4. One week later, the film will hit theaters on November 11.
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