Rihanna took the stage at the Oscars on Sunday for a rousing rendition of her Black Panther: Wakanda Forever song, “Lift Me Up.”
The performance was straightforward but powerful, as Rihanna belted the moving ballad while backed by a full orchestra. The performance received a touching introduction from Wakanda Forever‘s Danai Gurira, who noted that “Lift Me Up” was penned in honor of late Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman.
Her single from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever song is up for Best Original Song, marking Rihanna’s first Oscar nomination. “Lift Me Up” — which Rihanna wrote with Tems, Ludwig Göransson, and Ryan Coogler — is up against Sofia Carson and Diane Warren’s “Applause” (from Tell It Like a Woman), Lady Gaga and BloodPop’s “Hold My Hand” (from Top Gun: Maverick), M.M. Keeravani’s “Naatu Naatu,” (from RRR), and Ryan Lott, David Byrne, and Mitski’s “This Is a Life.”
After more than five years away from the concert stage, Rihanna has been making waves in the performance spotlight. Prior to her big Oscars appearance, she made a stellar return with her Super Bowl halftime performance last month, where she also revealed she was pregnant.
Days after her triumphant halftime show, she talked about when her now mythic album, dubbed R9, might arrive. “I want it to be this year. Like, honestly, it’d be ridiculous if it’s not this year. But I just want to have fun. I just want to make music and make videos… And I need the right background music with the visuals,” she said during an interview with Vogue UK. “I can’t just go shoot a video to me talking.”
While Rihanna has not given specifics on the release date, whenever her ninth album drops, it will be the much-anticipated follow-up to 2016’s Anti. Beyond “Lift Me Up,” Rihanna also released “Born Again,” which plays during as the end credits roll for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.