by Anne DeLello ’20 A&E Staff
In between the two weekends of Coachella 2019, fans of the festival were pleasantly surprised by the reveal of Beyoncé’s Homecoming documentary, which details the road to her 2018 Coachella performance. Not only does Beyoncé’s documentary feature segments of her journey from giving birth to her twins in 2017 to her performance in 2018, but fans can experience her entire Coachella show while watching this documentary.
When she performed at Coachella, Beyoncé became the first black woman to ever headline the festival. She took this to heart when creating her show, saying that, “I wanted every person that has ever been dismissed because of the way they look to feel like they were on the stage killing ‘em.” The singer also goes on to say that, “It was more important that I brought our culture to Coachella.” In the performance, Beyoncé achieved this when she sang the Black National Anthem after the performance of her song “Freedom.”
More specifically, Beyoncé wanted to emphasize the importance of historically black colleges, and how they educate students to become both “culturally aware” and “intellectually sound.” She does this by including clips from influential black Americans throughout history, including Malcolm X.
Homecoming does not simply feature a typical documentary style setup with interviews of people involved in setting up the performance. Instead, the Netflix film shows her entire performance, with clips from both shows. During the performance, there are intermittent tapes placed between sets. However, the only person who really speaks during these clips is Beyoncé herself.
Fans of Beyoncé who have not already seen her Homecoming performance, and even those who have, will love watching her performance in the documentary. It features fan favorites like “Drunk in Love” and “Run the World.” She even goes so far as to bring former members of her group Destiny’s Child, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, onto the stage to sing “Say My Name.” Her sister Solange Knowles also comes on stage at one point.
Alongside these special guests, Beyoncé, as the architect of the show, managed to weave together an electric group. It includes backup singers, dancers, and performers who join her on stage. The tribe of performers alongside her only enhances the performance and give black individuals the opportunity to showcase their talent on a major stage alongside Beyoncé herself.
This groundbreaking performance of the first black woman to headline the Coachella stage did not come without hard work on behalf of the singer and mother of three. Having just had her twins, she cites her struggle getting back into performing, saying that, “I definitely pushed myself further than I knew I could, and I learned a very valuable lesson, I will never, never push myself that far again.” Not only did she have three months of performance rehearsals before the show, but she also had four months of singing rehearsals before that. Her dedication paid off. Both the show itself and this film are widely praised.
At the end of the film, Beyoncé states her gratitude at being “able to take these crazy ideas and actually make it into something that heals people and that may spark vision in people that shows them to dream big.” She certainly achieves this in her performance and this documentary. The film allows the performance to live on for years to come in an effort to celebrate black culture.