By Representative LaKeshia Myers
Like many, I was thrilled to watch Beyoncé’s “Homecoming” documentary this week on Netflix. The documentary chronicles the creation of the singer’s iconic 2018 Coachella performance. The stage show pays homage to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs); and depending on one’s experience, creates an heir of nostalgia for black college life or gives one insight into a world they know nothing about.
From the outset, it is evident Queen Bey paid close attention to details. The stage show is performed on risers and included a full marching band, complete with majorettes and featured twirler. All essential components of an HBCU half-time show performance.
And as if that were not enough, Beyoncé paid homage to black Greek letter organizations by having a step team. Stepping is an American derivative of Gumboot dancing, a style of dance that originated in the gold mines of South Africa.
The dancers utilize the concepts of polyrhythm and total body articulation. It is a percussive dance made by use of the voice, hands, and feet working together in order to create chants and rhyme. African American fraternities and sororities utilize this style of dance frequently on college campuses.
While the centerpiece of Beyoncé’s Coachella performance highlighted the most visible aspects of black college life, the show was palatable to all audiences, not just those who had knowledge of the black college experience.
It was unapologetically black. Period.
In the rehearsal footage that was interspersed throughout the performances, Beyoncé talks openly about the frustrations of being black in America and sometimes feeling as though she were unworthy of what could easily be described as “the American dream.”
Early in the show she sings a moving rendition of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” the black national anthem.
A fitting selection as this performance marked the first time an African American woman had ever headlined the Coachella music festival.
While I am not a self-professed member of the “Beyhive” (Beyoncé’s most loyal fans), Beyoncé has always been a part of the soundtrack of my life. I feel as though we’ve grown up together. When I was young, I knew to stay away from “Bug a boos” because I wanted someone to “Say My Name.”
In college, I surrounded myself with a cadre of “Independent Women” who were also “Survivors” of being “Dangerously in Love.” As we both have aged and had ebbs and flows in life, Beyoncé has been a constant reminder of what is possible. She has served as a constant reminder that the old adage, “this is a man’s world” is passé because girls run the world.
And it’s okay to sip your “Lemonade” and be “Drunk in Love”because at the end of the day love prevails and you’ll end up on top.
No matter the mood, place, or location, there is a Beyoncé song for the occasion. Book, chapter and verse, the Queen Bey has prepared music for you to immerse your soul.