Beychella is back: Three main takeaways from Beyonce’s “Homecoming” documentary

The Houston-bred superstar delivers a breathtaking, thought-provoking documentary on the inner workings of her masterful Coachella show


(Larry Bussaca / WIkimedia Commons)

Chloe Lindahl, Writer

Netflix recently released Beyonce’s self-produced documentary “Homecoming,” and it’s just as amazing as you would expect.

According to Netflix, “This intimate, in-depth look at Beyonce’s celebrated 2018 Coachella performance reveals the emotional road from creative concept to a cultural movement.” Here we gain behind the scenes footage of the herculean effort it took to put on one of the most memorable Coachella performances of all time along with the significance associated behind it.

Bouncing back from last year’s cancellation due to her unexpected pregnancy, Beyonce’s comeback is mesmerizing and reminds us all of the true queen she is. Here are three takeaways from the film.

1. She’s done it again

Every Beyonce performance is amazing, we know that. From her 2016 Super Bowl performance with Destiny’s Child to her 2011 Billboard music performance choreographed to perfection, while she was pregnant no less, Beyonce is no novice when it comes to putting on memorable shows. But Beychella may have topped it all.

The near two and a half hour long documentary details a flawless homecoming for Beyonce after the birth of her two twins. She employs an entire marching band and orchestra of African-American musicians and dancers to help bring cultural representation to the predominately white festival.

The musical composition and alignment took four months to put together with the actual rehearsals enduring another four months as well.  She studied every past mistake and triumph of her 22-year career and used it to create her two-hour “Homecoming” performance. In her own words, she “Definitely pushed herself further than I knew I could, and I’ve learned a very valuable lesson, I will never, never, push myself that far again.”

Her determination to achieve something incredible is obvious in her film and her drive and persistence paid off. “Homecoming” is a collection of culture, dance, music and costume woven together to create possibly the most iconic Coachella performance of all time.

2. Her performance is an ode to African-American culture and excellence.

Beyonce is the first African-American women to ever headline Coachella and she made sure to bring cultural acknowledgment to the forefront of her performance. She admits, “When I decided to do Coachella, instead of pulling out my flower crown, it was more important that I brought our culture to Coachella.”

She made sure to add elements of African-American musical heritage such as stepping, which is when your entire body is used as percussion to create sounds and rhythm through stomps, claps and shouts. She incorporated the talents of many of her performers including marching bands and baton twirlers who came with their own ideas and backgrounds.

Her entire performance gives life to a group of performers often marginalized and gives them a spotlight to shine. “It felt like we were connected, and it literally felt like we were in our own University, and struggling together,” She remarked of their long rehearsal hours. In between shots of her performance is an in-depth look of the behind the scenes process to put this performance together.

The interludes between her performances are often accompanied by the words of Nina Simone, Toni Morrison and more (Reminiscent of her visual album Lemonade that was accompanied by the poetry of Warsan Shire) to remind us of our own worth and value.

3. Her mission for female empowerment is clear as ever.

With hits such as “Who run the world” and “Independent women,” it’s no secret that Beyonce has endorsed women empowerment since day one. “Homecoming” is no exception for she regularly interjected in her performance to preach to all the ladies. “Ladies,” she calls out from the stage, “Are we strong? Have we had enough of this bulls***? Show me.” Her boss attitude and stubborn outlook during her performance empower everyone watching, just as she’s done from the start.

What really proves to us that she can do it all is her careful balancing act between motherhood, family and career. The rehearsals for Coachella were an arduous eight months of hard work and sacrifice. All of it took place right after the end of a grueling pregnancy.

“My body went through more than I knew it could,” she recalls. “I had high blood pressure, I developed toxemia and preeclampsia, and in the womb, one of my babies heartbeats paused a few times, so I had to get an Emergency c-section.”

She put herself through SoulCycle, steps, long rehearsals and basically a diet of nothing fun in order to achieve her goals all while running back to her trailer in-between breaks to take care of her newborn babies.  “What people don’t see is the sacrifice,” she said. “The hours were unbelievable.” She is a shining example of what women can do and achieve without having to choose between career and family.

In the word’s of Tessa Thompson highlighted in the film, “In each of us, another woman or young girl might see a reflection of herself; of her worth, of her boundless potential.” In Beyonce, we can glimpse a moment of our own potential as she continues to break every barrier placed around her.

This just touches the surface of the outstanding documentary (and also gives you front row seats to an exclusive music festival performance, free of charge). If you haven’t already, definitely give it a watch, but be prepared for a lengthy film. As always, Beyonce reigns supreme and I continue to be in awe of her and all that she accomplishes.

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