WELCOME to Beyoncé Homecoming! Where she has served you HBCU (Historically Black College and University) and showband REALNESS!!!!!
IV Ways Beyoncé’s Homecoming SNATCHED me bald:
Get it? IV?
Real Quick S/O to Brittany A., still saved in my phone as BrittMyBFITB.com, Thanks for requesting this blog, it was so much fun to write. Ok now let’s, GET IN TO IT *Tami Roman Voice*
To begin, we must first start with Beyoncé’s shoWOMANship! This woman WILL perform and I MUST put some RESPECK on her name. The lights!, The Costumes!, (That cape and Nefertiti-esque crown in the opening) The Dancers! The Choreography!, THAT OPENING walk through! Or should I say THRUUUU. Honey, Beyoncé was the drum major AND then became the dance captain! TEW much to stomach and I’m only 2 minutes in!
The musical teasers. Slight beats to introduce the next song and the audiences reaction when they finally realized what the song was, Beautiful.
The songs themselves…like who knew those songs would sound good together? Drunk in Love into Swag Surf? C’mon now! Into Irreplaceable (the step version) into Diva into Everybody Mad? SHOOK!
Beyoncé used this moment to show us what she wants her world to look like! Out of the creative and free space that existed the months leading up to the show Beyoncé gave birth to a show that was inclusive. Women of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Men and Women working together collectively to create something beautiful.
I could go on forever but you saw it, I know you know what’s up!
2. Illuminating Black History and Culture
“So I studied my history, I studied my past…”
Beyoncé utilized this platform and her art to give herself something she never had before…an HBCU Homecoming! Unlike anything else on earth. The magnitude of this moment, if truly internalized by the viewing masses shall surely send some people to an HBCU! I mean if I’m being honest I contemplated what Masters or PhD I could pursue during the film so that I could get the HBCU experience I missed out on in undergrad.
“Why am I so insistent upon giving out to them that blackness, that Black Power, that Black–Pushing them to identity with, uh, Black Culture…I have no choice over it in the first place. To me, we are the most beautiful creatures in the whole world; Black People. My job is to somehow make them curious enough, or persuade them, by hook or crook to get more aware of themselves and where they came from and what they are into, and what is already there, and just to bring it out. This is what compels me to compel them. And I will do it by whatever means necessary.” – Nina Simone
If there was ever a quote that summed up Beyoncé’s Homecoming AND this blog! Thank you for those words Nina!
Art is important to our world and how we relate to it. Whether you believe society reflects art or art reflects society, Beyoncé’s use of the Coachella stage to showcase us, our brilliance, our traditions. Her use of Netflix to remind us of the great people who came before us and how we carry them with us in the brilliant things we do! A MOMENT!
Some of these great people included in the documentary were notable African Americans such as Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Nina Simone, W.E.B. Du Bois, Alice Walker, Marian Wright Eldelman, Tessa Thompson, Malcolm X, Reginald Lewis, Audre Lorde, and Cornell West.
Important inclusions because we must always remember that some people have never read their words, heard their voices. Thank you Beyoncé for including them in this moment. (I hope you’ll take the time to learn about at least one of these great men or women.)
“Thank you Coachella for allowing me to be the first black woman to headline Coachella. Ain’t that bout a bitch?”
Listen, I’m always happy to celebrate a black first, but also always reminded every time of the obstacles still standing in our way. I know its not due to a lack of hard work, skill, talent, or genius on our part because we invented mankind to begin with. When Beyoncé said “Ain’t that bout a bitch,” all I heard was my own tiredness reflected in her words. A tiredness resulting from the tools needed to emphasize our shine continuously being withheld.
“…instead of me pulling out my flower crown, it was important that I brought our culture to Coachella.”
Beyoncé gave us showband essence, she gave us a probate (cue the Bug-A-Boo’s!) She gave us the varied aesthetic of blackness, she gave us black life, a step show, and a party!
The band clips that featured HBCU Bands including Southern University, Jackson State University (If you know me, you know I live for the J5), Alabama A&M University, Grambling State University, Florida A&M University, North Carolina A&T University, Hampton University, and Alabama State University.
“…and I wanted it to feel the way I felt when I went to the battle of the bands, because I grew up seeing those shows and that being the highlight of my year.”
I was in band….traveling to the Honda Battle of the Bands with my friends each year to see the best HBCU bands under one roof, seeing Jackson State live for the first time in Tennessee….these were moments!! Euphoria! I appreciate being brought back. Traveling space and time to experience once more something I truly lived, loved, and will always love.
3. Work Ethic
“…the hours were unbelievable.”
“There was a four month period of rehearsals with Derek and the band before we started the four months of dance rehearsals.”
“…coming in here you’re losing like 1500-2000 calories.”
I say again, THE WORK!
I love being able to see what it takes. I loved seeing the behind the scenes clips, the rehearsals (can you imagine how it felt to be in those rooms? The energy?) I love that I now know, that we all now know how hard Beyoncé works for this. We saw 2 hours…they saw 37 weeks!
“That’s why people don’t like to rehearse. You gotta be humble…you gotta study, be a student.”
“In order for me to meet my goal. I’m limiting myself to no bread, no carbs, no sugar, no dairy, no meat, no fish, no alcohol. And I’m hungry.”
Her sacrifice, to be the best. I mean Beyoncé raises the bar does she not? Imagine not only being good at what you do, maybe even being excellent, but imagine raising the bar!
“You know I respect things that take work. I respect things that are built from the ground up. You know, I’m super specific about every detail. I personally selected each dancer, every light, the material on the steps, the height of the pyramid, the shape of the pyramid, every patch was hand sewn. Every tiny detail had an intention…So we can understand, okay why do we want these colors? What do they represent? What is the silhouette? What is going to look the most graphic?”
Imagine being this particular about something, about your work, your service. Because we all provide a service. We praise some careers over others but at the end of the day we were all put on this earth to serve in one capacity or another and I truly hope you’ll find…or have already found what you’d be this particular about, what you’d abstain for!
“I was very adamant that we were well rehearsed and we knew the show front to back…”
3 sound stages, over 200 people on stage, guest appearances, 37 weeks, months to script the show, a huge team, meeting after meeting, notes, always more notes, months spent on choreography and arrangements. Do you want to quit yet? I sat here thinking…I don’t know if I could have endured when the prize lay 9 months away.
4. Vulnerability and Inspiration
“…I put every mistake, all of my triumphs, of my 22 year career into my two-hour homecoming performance.”
*SCREAMS* This was her first performance post pregnancy. A true homecoming! Wow…I wish I could insert audio clips for all the random sound effects I made throughout this documentary! Especially this part. The title stood for multiple things, Beyoncé’s return to the stage, an HBCU homecoming theme, a welcome home for all humanity as life began with us, the innovators and creators of all.
Joy! It is ALWAYS a special moment for me when I see an entertainer genuinely smile on stage. If we love what we do we give it our all, we heard Beyoncé discuss 15 hour rehearsals, time away from her husband, her children, the people she loves. So seeing her dance and smile with her sister Solange, seeing them playing, falling, seeing her with her husband, watching her talk to her audience. Those are special moments to experience and even if I’m not there live I can still feel the connections.
“…My mind wanted to be with my children. What people don’t see is the sacrifice,.”
Beyoncé shared with us. She shared the struggles she endured during her pregnancy, she revealed herself, her scars to us. I’m so thankful that she shared that with us. Because she doesn’t owe us anything and being vulnerable is hard.
“…there were days I thought I’d never be the same. I’d never be the same physically, my strength and endurance would never be the same.”
” I didn’t think I’d ever get back into my old costume and I’m actually in it.”
Do you understand what it means to hear Beyoncé say that. To hear her say “never.” A woman as accomplished as she is? A woman who has a religion dedicated to her. Beyoncé showed us that no matter where you’re starting, no matter how far you’ve been set back or gotten off track…you can get it back together and still surpass your wildest dreams. She showed us that she too, despite some naysayers, is human. That she too, has doubts.
“…alot of the choreography is about feeling, so it’s not as technical, it’s your own personality that brings it to life. And that’s hard when you don’t feel like yourself.”
“I had to rebuild my body from cut muscles…”
She struggled through because she loves what she does, because she loves us so! She wanted to entertain us, to show our history, our culture, our traditions so much that she pushed herself through the tightness, the discomfort, the soreness, the hollowness.
“Creating Something that will live beyond me, something that will make people feel open, and like they’re watching magic, like they’re living in a time that’s super special, and…like it’s a day they will never relive. That’s what I want.”
A job WELL done Queen Bey!
We really are in the new black renaissance for storytelling! Can you feel it?
“I want to. What I really want to do is be a representative of my race, of the human race. I have a chance to show how kind we can be, how intelligent, and generous we can be. I have a chance to teach, and to love, and to laugh, and I know that when I’m finished doing what I’m sent here to do, I will be called home. And I will go home without any fear or trepidation…” – Maya Angelou
And it is here, that I’ll leave you. Feel more, Love more, Live More!