At long last, Rihanna made her musical comeback last week with “Lift Me Up.” The song will appear in the upcoming Black Panther: Wakanda Forever movie, and now director Ryan Coogler has revealed what inspired Rihanna to contribute to the film: Chadwick Boseman.
At a recent press event, Coogler said (as Screen Rant notes):
“Look, Rihanna has given us a whole career and a whole catalog of music. And now she’s given us makeup and clothing, and I think the world would understand if she hung up her mic. I completely understand because I love her music so much, but I feel like she’s given all that you could ask for. But the truth is we were looking for a great artist who could tell the story of the film, embrace the themes of the film, and present them to the audience in a different packaging. That’s what Kendrick did so beautifully with the first film, and this film is different. It made sense that it would be a woman, and it made sense that it would be someone who could speak to not necessarily the words but the feeling of motherhood, because that’s a major theme in this film.
And I think it timed up that she was in that kind of space in her life, and she was open. It was really the trailer, I think, when she saw the performances that everybody was putting down. That was what kind of put her over the edge and [made her] say, ‘Hey, I want to see this film. I want to see if I can figure this out.’ …But the truth is, once she played us the record, she said straight up, ‘I did this for Chad.’ It was him, man. And sitting here thinking about it, it’s hitting me right now… Chad brought us all together, you know what I mean? He just keeps on and keeps on giving. I’m just really thankful that Rihanna was the latest gift to join the family, and I can’t wait for folks to see how it’s used in the film.”
Tems, who co-wrote the song, also recently said of it, “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.”