While the inspirational true story behind Queen of Katwe has touched many involved with the film, including stars Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo, it also inspired Alicia Keys to write a new song.
A featurette for the upcoming film gives a preview of the singer’s new track, “Back to Life,” and her insight on the song’s meaning. “I was just totally taken by Queen of Katwe. Phiona’s story is so powerful, it just moved me to write the song called ‘Back to Life,’” said Keys. “This song is about how there’s no stopping when you’re determined and you believe in yourself.”
Queen of Katwe follows the life of Phiona Mutesi (Madina Nalwanga), a 10-year-old in the impoverished Ugandan slum of Katwe, who goes from selling corn in the streets to becoming an international chess champion with the help of her coach (Oyelowo). “Phiona represents the rose through the concrete, what incredible things can come from that,” says Keys. “When women are empowered, the world changes.”
In a previous preview for the film, Nyong’o, who plays the young girl’s mother, discussed the emotional impact she immediately felt from the project. “When I first read Queen of Katwe, I was about 10 pages in when I broke down and cried because I had been so inspired,” she shared.
Queen of Katwe is set for its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 10, ahead of its release in the U.S. on Sept. 23.
Hear a glimpse of Keys’ song in the video above.