Fans Say This Artist Should’ve Voiced Nala Instead of Beyoncé in ‘The Lion King’

Now that Disney’s “live-action” remake of The Lion King is a little over a month away, the anticipation keeps building. With each trailer released, fans face a surge of nostalgia for the movie that defined their childhoods. With James Earl Jones reprising his role as Mufasa, and Beyoncé set to take on Nala, many view the cast as a dream fulfilled. However, some fans are less enthused (to say the least).

Beyonce
Beyonce | Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Coachella

While Beyoncé boasts incomparable star power, and the name needed to bring people to the theater – not that this movie needs any extra hype – some feel she may not have been the best choice for the role.

Some fans are concerned that Beyoncé will remove viewers from the filmic experience, as her voice is too recognize as belonging to and embodying her pop icon status. However, others feel that – as an actress – Beyoncé has not entirely proved herself, drawing upon her negatively reviewed performances in Austin Powers: Goldmember and Obsessed as examples.

Often citing Beyoncé’s lack of acting experience – and the difficulty associated with delivering a convincing performance with voice-work alone – many argue she was not the right pick. However, there seems to be a moderately large consensus concerning who should have been chosen instead.

Many fans say Janelle Monáe would have been a better Nala than Beyoncé in ‘The Lion King’

While citing the possible problems with Beyoncé as Nala, fans go on to suggest other actors for the role on this Reddit forum. And, one particular singer-songwriter receives a bit more attention than other actors and recording artists suggested: Janelle Monáe.

One fan writes, “I think Janelle would be a great alternative to Beyoncé,” to which another replies, “Oh. Definitely. Janelle can actually act, for one.” While the latter comment may be a dig at Beyoncé, it’s clear that the fan is promoting Janelle Monáe for the role.

Fans go onto say that Janelle Monáe would have rocked the performance, without taking away from Nala as a character, which may happen if Beyoncé becomes too imbued with the lioness she portrays.

Is Janelle Monáe qualified to play Nala in ‘The Lion King?’

Janelle Monáe is a singer-songwriter who has appeared in a number of popular movies, including Hidden Figures, Moonlight, Harriet, and more. However, she also has experience doing voice-only work. In Ugly Dolls, Janelle Monáe provides the voice for Mandy.

As for her most famous songs, Janelle Monáe is widely known for “Make Me Feel,” “I Like That,” “Power of Yet,” “Primetime,” “Yoga,” and more. Janelle Monáe is a four-time Grammy award nominee and winner of the African-American Film Critics Association Award for “Breakout Performance” in Moonlight and Hidden Figures.

While Janelle Monáe may not boast the name recognition that Beyoncé does, the movie has James Earl Jones, Seth Rogen, Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor and many other A-listers taking on the famous lions, so, was Beyoncé needed? Was she a way to gain more publicity, or did the casting directors believe she was the best choice?

There’s no denying Beyoncé’s vocal prowess, and fans are certain that each song graced with her voice will soar; however, how about the dialogue? Will she be able to convey dialogue as Nala, or come off as Beyoncé?

Would Janelle Monáe have been a better pick? Would Monáe have represented a compromise: star power, yet not icon status? All remains to be seen, but fans of the original hope Beyoncé rises to the challenge.