For those who may not know and understand Beyoncé’s immense fame and influence, her new documentary Homecoming has come out to teach them. The Netflix original documentary was released on April 17, along with a live album. The 23-time Grammy winner, mother of three, wife to Jay-Z, and outspoken activist was the first black woman ever to headline Coachella in 2018, and just released Homecoming to show the painstaking work that was put into it. The documentary details Beyoncé’s personal struggles when preparing for the performance, as well as all of the hard work her dancers, band, producers, and many more contributed behind the scenes.
As the first black woman to headline Coachella, Beyoncé has had big dreams for how she wanted the performance to play out. The performance, which she called her “homecoming,” was a celebration of African American culture in the unique style of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). HBCUs were developed during the time of segregation and showed power and strength through their eccentric and talented marching bands and dancers. Beyoncé’s grew up with the sounds and excitement of HBCU culture and wanted her performance to reflect that. Each of the countless dancers and band members was chosen by her for the purpose of proudly demonstrating black culture to the world. Even from the television screen, this performance was extremely empowering and impactful to watch with the meaningful story line it had behind it.
Not only did Beyonc put an unimaginable amount of hard work into the performance, she gave up a lot to be able to go through with it. Right after giving birth to her twins, Rumi and Sir, Beyoncé got to work on the performance.
“What people don’t see is the sacrifice… I’m just trying to figure out how to balance being a mother of a six-year-old and twins that need me, and giving myself creatively and physically – it was a lot to juggle,” said Beyoncé.
She had her children and husband come to work as much as possible, but often found it difficult to balance her working time and her family time. In addition, Beyoncé faced many health struggles while working on the performance. She was 218 pounds when she began, and found it challenging to learn all the dance steps as quickly as she used to. Moving around a stage was much more difficult for her than before her pregnancy. To solve this problem, she went on an extreme diet, cutting out carbs, dairy, meat, fish, and anything else that was even remotely unhealthy. This diet could be seen as controversial, but it doesn’t serve the purpose of encouraging others to do the same thing. She was starving by Coachella.
“I definitely pushed myself further than I knew I could. And I learned a very valuable lesson,” said said Beyoncé. “I will never, never push myself that far again.”
Beyoncé showed her fans how truly hard she works every day, and how much more was going on behind the scenes than fans could ever imagine.
Homecoming also showed clips from the performance itself, two separate shows spliced together to document the different costumes, and slightly different aspects of both Saturday night performances. Beyoncé brought out Jay-Z, her sister Solange, and even reunited her former group, Destiny’s Child, on stage. The crowd went wild over each song, dance move, and surprise guest. In addition, during Beyoncé’s small breaks and costume changes, her extensive band and dancers would continue the entertainment, captivating the crowd with HBCU culture and never for a second causing any thoughts of boredom or tiredness. The performance brought everyone together and left the audience in complete awe of the most famous female singer of our time.
“Getting to see the performance on Netflix was so interesting and it made me feel like I was there watching it live,” said sophomore Abbie Garfin.
The Homecoming documentary itself received rave reviews and countless views. Over 800,000 people streamed the movie when it first premiered, and many have even found that they are now fans of Beyoncé because of it. As many can agree, it is hard to truly understand how amazing Beyoncé is until you have watched the documentary. An inside look on her struggles, hard work, and dedication proves that Beyoncé is definitely one of the most influential and notable performers of our time, and Homecoming has helped prove that.