|Image of Beyoncé being dressed to go onstage by a member of the crew|
By Anjali Kawa
This is my love letter to Beyoncé. Don’t worry, this is not going to be an in-depth, minute by minute, analysis of Homecoming. It is merely me acknowledging what exactly the spurring power that is Beyoncé. Amongst the flurry of Beyoncé discourse on Twitter, one tweet I saw before my TL refreshed pointed out that Beyoncé makes you want to be the highest version of yourself, instead of making you want to be her. Does that not hit you in the chest in the best way possible?
This completely sums up why we love her in the way we do: instead of the Kardashian-esque goal of being someone the mass wants to be, Beyoncé forces us to think about ourselves for once. In the media-governed world we live in, Homecoming was a breath of fresh air, not only because of the cultural significance of her singing Lift Every Voice and Sing in front of a majority white crowd, and the staging paying homage to the richness of the HCBU experience, but also because of the people behind her on the steps who were giving their everything to the performance. The behind the scenes look we see in the film shows us how Beyoncé let her cast be themselves.
It is the power of her work ethic that I know see myself being more productive than I have since the year began.
It is the power of her fruitful performance at Coachella 2018 that even though we had all streamed it illegally somewhere already, we watched it in awe again, this time in HD.
It is the power of her voice that I cried watching her sing I Care even though I have known that song for years.
It is the power of her microphone transporting her words “Do we have any strong women?” to all of us sitting in our rooms in quietly huffing the words to Don’t Hurt Yourself.
Beyoncé is the woman many of us aspire to be but in the most unexpected ways. It is only her Coachella performance that would make me want to shut my laptop after I hear the last note sung to then open my textbooks straight away. Instead of watching her dance and sing for two hours straight, mixed in with imagery of pushing her body to its limits, and wanting to change my physicality, I watch her do this and feel pushed towards my own aims. It is not about replicating Beyoncé, but replicating her attitude. It is impossible to deny that she has this ability to make women (of colour, particularly) want to achieve and accomplish everything possible, all in the name of Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. It is only her who could sing songs about her cheating husband, and then gratuitously allow him to come on her stage and perform… comparatively terribly compared to his wife.
The Solange x Beyonce dance is something my own sister and I have not been able to stop talking about. The love between the two sisters, and the immense power of the two Knowles sisters performing on the biggest stage together again? Unreal! It was a reprise of Beyoncé’s appearance at Solange’s 2014 Coachella set. Instead of being some untouchable figure, Beyoncé proves to us that she is very much like us, through her hardships shown in scenes where she struggled to rehearse at the pace she wanted, and that in the same way she came up, we can also come up.
Bringing back Destiny’s Child together for their most iconic songs was a move that again cements her as a person we can actually admire, for qualities we as people actually value in people. The appreciation for her background, her journey, and her ‘best friends’ gives us a moment in the grandeur to parallel our own journeys to her own. I thought of my own best friends in that second, and I am sure many other people did. Beyoncé does not create a tribe and a clan that is above us all, but she creates a family that we can align with our own, and see as pillars in our growth. It is this motivation and this call to self-improvement that gives us reason enough to see Beyoncé as a game-changer and then to take what we learn from her and change our own game.
Even though I am a socialist, I believe Beyoncé deserves every coin that makes up her empire. It’s Beyoncé’s world and we are living in it.
Watch the trailer for Homecoming below, the whole film on Netflix and listen to Homecoming: The Live Album anywhere. It’s Beyoncé. They will have it somewhere.