Rihanna’s “Lift Me Up” is a Poignant Return to Music

In the past six years, Rihanna’s been busy – building her Fenty Beauty brand, having a baby, and becoming the world’s youngest female billionaire. But finally, she’s returned to the thing that first made us all fall in love with her – music. 


On October 28, Rihanna released “Lift Me Up,” a single for the upcoming Marvel movie, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The song is her first solo release since her alternative R&B masterpiece ANTI dropped in 2016.

However, “Lift Me Up” is a stark contrast to the brass and edge of ANTI, a surprisingly simple yet enthralling ballad built on lush strings, vocal layering, and delicate harp plucking. The instrumentation of the song reflects its meaning, as it is a tribute to the late actor Chadwick Boseman. Boseman, who played the lead role of T’Challa in the 2018 Black Panther film, passed away from colon cancer on August 28, 2020 at the age of 43.

Christopher Polk / Getty Images

Rihanna’s distinct mezzo-soprano soars on lyrics like, “Burning in a hopeless dream / Hold me when you go to sleep / Keep me in the warmth of your love.” The song itself may have fallen flat had it been given to another artist. Yet for a singer whose voice uniquely embodies both grit and sweetness, the atmospheric  nature of the ballad allows Rihanna space to showcase the range of her emotional depth. 

Along with Rihanna, songwriting credits for “Lift Me Up” include Oscar-winning composer Ludwig Göransson, Black Panther director Ryan Coogler, and Nigerian singer-songwriter Tems, who has recently collaborated with industry heavyweights like Drake and Future.

“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,” Tems revealed in an interview with Variety. “Rihanna has been an inspiration to me, so hearing her convey this song is a great honor.”

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will premiere in the United States on November 11. The official motion picture soundtrack will release on the same day, including an additional new song by Rihanna, “Born Again”. Listen below to “Lift Me Up” on Spotify.





Staff Writer | Community Leader

Mack Mendenhall is an independent singer, songwriter, and music journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Liberty University in May 2022 with a Bachelor degree in Commercial Music, Artist Development. Mack is passionate about a variety of musical genres and loves a wide range of artists such as SZA, Jazmine Sullivan, Drake, Whitney Houston, and Selena. Currently, Mack is advancing her writing career while pursuing her goals of recording and producing her own music. 

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