Netflix released a documentary by Beyoncé of her 2018 Coachella (Beychella) performance. Beyoncé may in fact be the closest we’re ever going to get to perfection from an entertainer. She dances, she sings, she orchestrated this epic nod to HBCU’s, and creates space for other artists to succeed. Queen Beyoncé, we are not worthy, but blessedly she made the Homecoming documentary, meaning salty basics across the country could enjoy her performance without having to suffer through Coachella.
First, let’s recognize that she is the first Black woman to headline Coachella. Yes, this means that a bunch of rich white kids in the desert of California have not been blessed by Black Girl Magic for a headliner at their festival since it’s creation (…wait what). Beyoncé understood what being the first Black woman to headline such a major event meant, so naturally, she had an elaborate performance in mind, and it was Black. The imagery, Black. The performers, meaning the dancers and the musicians, Black. The overall theme of an HBCU (Historically Black College and University) Homecoming woven into the performance, Black. I can’t imagine being a Black person and not basking in this celebration of Blackness. Beyoncé made a point to make Black folks seen, not only for performance purposes but representation purposes. People really underestimate the impact of seeing someone who looks like them succeeding. Your regular reminder: representation matters!
Outside of celebrating being Black, Beyoncé also used Homecoming to tell a story of her resiliency. Beyoncé started preparing for this performance shortly after giving birth to twins. Basically, she push those tiny humans out of her uterus and then was like “alright, let’s start working on choreography for Coachella.” To make that prep even more intense, she cut out dairy, sugar, alcohol, carbs, meat, and fish – essentially, she took on a vegan diet with zero alcohol or desserts all to prepare for this performance. The discipline and dedication to spend eight months of life just rehearsing and not eating real food is astounding (Beyoncé is better than all of us, in case you were wondering). At one point during the documentary she talks about how hard she pushed herself all for this, she went past her limit to achieve a stellar performance and she does not want to push herself that hard again. I don’t know what’s more impressive, the fact that Beyoncé has limits for exertion or that homegirl went eight months without carbs. Her dedication to the craft is inspiring (but not inspiring enough to stop eating bacon or tacos).
Overall, Homecoming offered equal parts of entertainment and inspiration. Beyoncé gave incredible performances at the 2018 Coachella, but the journey to that performance invokes a feeling of being unstoppable. Many jokes in pop culture reference how hard Beyoncé works and how wonderful she is because she sings, dances, gives back to her community, raises children, drops albums like Lemonade, creates dope music videos like the one for Apeshit, advocates for equality, uses her platform to promote social change, and she’s beautiful. While all are accurate descriptions, she tends to get idolized and put on a pedestal that seems inaccessible to the average person.
She’s not being this epic human to say “nobody else can get on this level.” In fact, it seems as if she’s challenging others to rise and become successful. She says that if she can make it, she wants others to see they can too. Yes, she works hard because she has to, but success does not come without sacrifice and hard work. Of course, there’s an element of skill and talent, but those things mean nothing without hard work. For athletes, singers, artists, performers, engineers, dancers, coaches, pilots, writers, chefs, or whatever – the necessity for hard work never goes away. She doesn’t try to sugarcoat the fact that she and her team worked tirelessly on this project, she leads firm and gracefully to yield a magnificent end product. Truly, this performance was years in the making, Beyoncé had to become the world wide name that she is now for Beychella to even exist, and she understands this. That probably lends to why she tries to empower and challenge those around her to succeed, she knows the struggle and suffering it took to make it to being first Black woman to headline Coachella. She didn’t let the extra work stop her from scaling the mountain to Beychella, it kept her warm on the ascension while she created a trail for others to follow behind.
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