I was vacationing in Marrakesh, Morocco when Beyoncé decided to suddenly bless the world with her new documentary Homecoming — now available to watch on Netflix. The film is based on her 2018 Coachella performance, which has not only become history’s most iconic performance but also the first time a Black woman headlined the festival. The first thing I did once I got back home was turn on Netflix and watch the doc. After watching, I quickly realized that this performance —this documentary — was essentially Bey’s gift to Black women everywhere!
Beyoncé’s Netflix deal is already worth a whopping $60 million and it doesn’t end there. Homecoming is actually just the first of three specials — there’s two more to come. Bey wrote, directed, AND produced the doc. She even dropped it with an accompanying live album by the same name.
I didn’t attend Coachella 2018, so it wasn’t until I saw Homecoming, that I fully understood the impact this performance had and still has on the Black community. Everything delivered that message, from the marching band-style orchestra, to the steppers, and the emphasis on the importance of how Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have played a vital role in American history. In fact, throughout the entire film, Bey plays tribute to HBCUs and even opens up about how she wished she had attended one herself.
“I always dreamed of going to an HBCU,” she says and later goes on to explain how the performance — even during the rehearsal stages literally felt like an HBCU experience.
“It felt like we were all connected, and it literally felt like we were in our own university and struggling together,” she said. “The hours were unbelievable.”
Beyoncé could have done Coachella the way every other iconic artist has done it — only focused on a killer performance. But she had a bigger goal in mind.
“When I decided to do Coachella, instead of me pulling out my flower crown, it was more important that I brought our culture to Coachella,” she said.
This is essentially what the entire performance was about — elevating Black voices, Black bodies, and Black culture.
The film also emphasizes the importance of representation — especially for Black women. It was important for Bey to have all the Black women in her show feel seen, feel beautiful, feel comfortable in their skin and it was just as important for her to have her viewers feel seen.
“I wanted every person that has ever been dismissed because of the way they look to feel like they were on that stage killing ‘em. Killing ‘em,” she said.
What resonated with me the most was the struggle that went behind this epic performance. From the insane hours everyone involved had to dedicate, to Bey trying to balance motherhood and work, while reconnecting with her body and trying to lose the weight following giving birth to her twins. She went on an intense diet that eliminated everything from bread, carbs, sugar, meat, fish, and alcohol and worked out cycling and dancing to get back in shape and regain the endurance and stamina she was going to need for the show. She sacrificed so much to put on this performance that she knew the community needed.
“It’s hard to believe that after all these years, I was the first African American woman to headline Coachella. It was important to me that everyone that had never seen themselves represented felt like they were on that stage with us,” she said. “As a Black woman, I used to feel like the world wanted me to stay in my little box. And Black woman often feel underestimated. I wanted us to be proud not only of the show but… the process. Proud of the struggle. Thankful for the beauty that comes with a painful history and rejoice in the pain. Rejoice in the imperfections and the wrongs that are so damn right. And I wanted everyone to feel grateful for their curves, their sass, their honesty, thankful for their freedom. It was no rules, and we were able to create a free, safe space where none of us were marginalized.”
And Beyonce did just that. She pushed herself to places — to limits — even she didn’t know were possible because it was important for her to create this free and safe space for her community, that have been historically marginalized for years. It was important to her to show their talent and elevate their voices and let the world see and witness for themselves the magic that comes when Black people come together to create. This doc was necessary. It was powerful and it was healing.
Like many, this documentary blew me away in ways I didn’t expect. Thank you, Beyoncé. I can hardly wait to see the magic she has in store for the next two projects!