Rihanna was “very clear” that her attachment to the upcoming Black Panther sequel was in honour of Chadwick Boseman, the film’s director has said.
The 34-year-old Barbadian singer made the surprise announcement that she had recorded a new song for the movie on Thursday.
She later made an appearance at the world premiere of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, with her rapper boyfriend ASAP Rocky, after welcoming their first child earlier this year.
Her new track, Titled Lift Me Up, it is due to be released on Friday.
Asked how the partnership had come about, director Ryan Coogler said that many “improbable” things had to take place before it was realised.
“Honestly, I think it was Chad,” the 36-year-old told the PA news agency, speaking on the event’s red carpet.
“A lot of improbable things needed to happen for it to come through and Rihanna was very clear that she did that for him.”
One of the film’s British stars, Michaela Coel, said the singer’s involvement was “huge”.
— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) October 27, 2022
“It’s kind of incredible because Rihanna doesn’t make music for any old person or project so it’s huge,” Coel, 35, told PA.
Announcing the track in a post on social media, Rihanna shared what appeared to be a snippet of the new song, featuring a soft melody and swelling strings and a short video clip showing her name spelled in the fictional Wakandan alphabet.
The clip, posted to Twitter with the simple caption, “Lift me up. 10.28.22” showed the image of a large silver ‘R’ flanked by sentences in the Wakandan alphabet, with a translation of ‘Rihanna’ and ‘Lift Me Up’ appearing underneath.
The singer last released solo music in 2016 with her eighth studio album Anti.
Last month she also revealed she will be performing at the next Super Bowl halftime show.
The event in Glendale, Arizona in February will be the star’s first major live performance in many years.
Speaking to American news outlet TMZ shortly after the news of the performance was announced, Rihanna reportedly said: “I’m nervous… but I’m excited”.
In the years since the release of Grammy-nominated Anti, the singer has been focusing on her philanthropic efforts, acting roles and her businesses, which include make up and skin care brand Fenty Beauty as well as her lingerie line, Savage X Fenty.
In 2019, Rihanna declined to perform in the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show out of solidarity with former US football player Colin Kaepernick.