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Rihanna’s triumphant return

By Robert Metzger, Staff Writer

When he passed away in August 2020, the death of actor Chadwick Boseman was felt throughout the world. He was most known for his role as the “Black Panther” in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He suddenly died of cancer in 2020 and fans were heartbroken, especially because “Black Panther’s” story was only getting started. 

The overwhelming success of the first Black Panther movie in 2018 made it obvious that fans wanted a sequel. The sequel was in production at the time of Boseman’s death, but with the main character now gone, delays in the filming process were inevitable. 

Fans began looking for answers about the future of their beloved character which are now finally going to be answered on Nov. 11, 2022 when the sequel film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, hits theaters. 

Arguably, the biggest shock about the film is not going to be the fate of the “Black Panther” character, but the fact that the team was able to get Rihanna to be featured on the soundtrack of the film. 

It has been six years since Rihanna released her commercially and critically acclaimed studio album Anti. This album is the last that fans have heard of Rihanna’s solo music. Until now. 

Rihanna’s hiatus from the music industry began when she made the decision to enter the beauty world where she now owns the empire known as Fenty Beauty. Her fans, the Navy, have supported her through this endeavor, but have missed what Rihanna first became famous for, her music. 

Rihanna’s new single, titled “Lift Me Up,” was released on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022 and it comes directly from the soundtrack of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

The song itself is a stripped down ballad that focuses on Rihanna’s vocal performance to tell the story. The song discusses themes of loss and grief as a tribute to Boseman. 

Fans had generally positive opinions of the song upon first listen. Some are saying that it was exactly what she needed to do, while others are missing the pop radio legend she was in the 2010’s. 

“I guess this feels like something a little bit different for her. Interesting now that she’s a mother. It has a lullaby fee,” junior English adolescent education major Alyssa Tamburo said. 

Rihanna’s new found motherhood can be a direct influence of her new musical endeavor. She had given birth back in May 2022, as per a TMZ report. Besides that piece of information, there is no public information about her baby as Rihanna has decided to keep the baby’s life private. 

Fans of Rihanna and Boseman expressed appreciation of the larger sentimental value of the song.

“I think that ‘Lift Me Up’ is a beautiful tribute to Chadwick Boseman and it should not be evaluated as something more than that. This is clearly something that Rihanna felt was necessary to help deliver the message of the film [Black Panther: Wakanda Forever] and that is why she released it. I do not think we should consider the start of her new musical era, but instead this should be a standalone single that honors the life of a powerful man.” junior business administration major Rebecca Margolin said. 

Rihanna’s return to the music industry was inevitable. It is obvious that her “Navy” missed her dearly. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will be released on Nov. 11, 2022 and based on the clues found within the song’s lyrics, “Lift Me Up,” will be played at the film’s most heavily anticipated scene, Boseman’s memorial.

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