“Coachella, you ready? Let’s go get ‘em.”
A slew of dancers in Flo-Jo-inspired, one-legged leotards strutted off the pyramid stage as Beyoncé made one of the grandest entrances in music history. Standing amongst over 200 of some of the most talented musicians and dancers, her fierce stare and captivating presence left the festival attendees in awe. No one was ready for what was about to unfold.
It has been one year since Beyoncé’s career-defining performance at Coachella, or as the BeyHive prefers to call it, Beychella. To celebrate this monumental anniversary, Netflix teamed up with Beyoncé to release “Homecoming” on April 17. The film was directed by the Queen herself and gave viewers an intimate, in-depth look at the concert that became a cultural movement.
“Homecoming” showcases glimpses of both weekends of the festival as well as anecdotes about the creative process in between. Since 2013’s documentary “Life Is But a Dream,” Beyoncé hasn’t opened up much about her artistry. From the birth of the concept to long nights of overseeing every little detail, she lets the audience in on the eight arduous months of preparation for the show of the lifetime.
The entire vision of Beychella revolved around the Historically Black College and University experience. Beyoncé’s connection to HBCUs was genuine, as she revealed she used to spend her earlier years rehearsing at Texas Southern University in Houston. Inspired by attending Battle of the Bands as a kid, she knew she had to embody the spirit of these young creatives. From the immaculate footwork of the steppers to the infectious energy of the marching band, the performers brought a completely different experience to the typically flower crown filled festival.
As an artist with an immaculate discography, it must be extremely difficult to come up with a setlist that intertwines classic hits and fan favorites. From starting off the show with “Crazy In Love” to bringing out the instrumental of the underrated “Green Light,” Beyoncé catered to everyone. The show included appearances from Jay-Z, Solange and Destiny’s Child. It was simply the perfect representation of her over twenty-year career and paid tribute to those who supported her along the way.
For those who lived off the grainy live stream of Beychella for an entire year, it was exciting to see the gloriousness of the entire concert in high quality. The back-and-forth editing between the first weekend and the second weekend must have taken a large amount of time to perfect. The impeccable transition between the yellow and pink Balmain outfits during the “drop it” section of “Crazy In Love” is a sight that will take one’s breath away.
Known as one of the most private public figures –– and rightfully so — Beyoncé opened up about her difficult pregnancy and returning to the stage after giving birth. It was refreshing to see her be so candid about the struggles she had while reconnecting with her body and mind. She even admitted to the fear of her strength and endurance never being the same. Showcasing the balance between long days of rehearsals and being a mother of three, it was apparent that the road to Beychella wasn’t as glamorous as it seemed.
What was most impressive about this film was the hard work Beyoncé, dancers, the band and the rest of her creative team put into the show. Every day, she went back and forth between three enormous spaces separated between the dancers, the band and the stylists. Every single detail — from the sewing of the patches to the beadings of the sweatshirts — was intentional and filled with purpose.
In an era of music where being trendy and going viral is seen as the pinnacle of success, Beyoncé still values the importance of creating moments that will stand the test of time and it shows through this film. Social media has exploded in a culture of people deeming every hit song as “iconic” or “legendary”, without recognizing the power those words hold. Like many of the great artists and visionaries that came before her, Beyoncé sees herself as a student first and holds the desire to keep evolving after all these years.
At the end of the day, music is all about unity and speaking to the human experience. “Homecoming” proves more than ever before that Beyoncé will continue to use her platform to inspire people all around the world.
Rylee Jackson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.