Rihanna’s return to music is an emotional one. After fans were able to sit with the new melancholic ballad, “Lift Me Up,” for a bit, the Fenty entrepreneur released its accompanying visual on Friday (Oct. 28).
The Autumn Durald Arkapaw-directed video focuses on Rih, isolated on a beach with a bonfire burning, as she speaks of needing guidance from an intangible source. “Burning in a hopeless dream/ Hold me when you go to sleep/ Keep me in the warmth of your love/ When you depart, keep me safe/ Safe and sound,” she sings with the waves crashing ashore around her.
For the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack’s lead single—which serves as a tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman who plays T’Challa—the visual includes scenes from the forthcoming sequel. Most of the scenes show the women in the Black Panther’s life—his mother, Ramonda (Angela Bassett), sister, Shuri (Letitia Wright), his love, Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), and close friend, Okoye (Danai Gurira)—despondent and visibly grieving as they come to terms with life without him.
Tems, co-writer on the single, revealed in a statement, “After speaking with Ryan [Coogler] 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.”
Reporters who have attended the advanced screening of the film did confirm that the song, when heard in its proper context, is even more heart-wrenching than it seems. With that, many are already predicting the record will at least earn Rih an Oscar nomination in 2023.
Watch the full, earnest “Lift Me Up” visual below.