Beyoncé may not be at Coachella this year, but with her documentary “Homecoming” on Netflix, we can pretend she was by experiencing her performance at Coachella in 2018.
Beyoncé was the first black woman to headline Coachella and wanted to create a performance that was inclusive to black people and black culture. She hired dancers and performers to join her on stage from historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) to accurately depict African American culture. One dancer said she is originally from Nigeria and was excited to be a part of something as big as Coachella.
Beyoncé said she always wanted to go to an HBCU, but instead her college was Destiny’s Child and traveling the world. Life was her teacher.
Beyoncé opened her set with what resembled a marching band of at least 25 to 50 dancers, along with an actual marching band on the bleachers. The theme seems to follow the “Homecoming” vibe, resembling a football homecoming game.She based everything off of footage of colleges and universities who have competitive marching bands, more specifically an HBCU homecoming, and managed to incorporate that throughout the show.
The film goes back and forth between two different sets at Coachella. One set showcases Beyoncé in a pink crop top and shorts, while the other is her in a yellow crop top. Her backup dancers wear bodysuits that match the color of her crop top. Beyoncé wanted everyone to look unified, but also to showcase different characters.
The crop tops had Greek letters on them, representing black fraternity organizations. Beyoncé said she wanted the outfits she wore during this performance to mean something.
Beyoncé said the performance was conceptualized as her own homecoming because it was her first Coachella performance since she gave birth to her twins. Beyoncé was supposed to perform at Coachella previously, but could not perform because she was unexpectedly pregnant.
She said people don't see all of the sacrifices she’s made. After having an emergency C-section, she had to juggle performing, putting together a performance concept and having a family. She said one of her biggest struggles was working out to lose the “baby weight” and to be more comfortable in her own skin.
At one point during the performance, Beyoncé’s husband Jay-Z came out and performed a song with her. Just by watching, you can see a comfortable, loving and fun chemistry between them.
Of course, Beyoncé performed many of her popular songs, which excited the crowd. The most dramatic performances include “Drunk In Love,” “Bow Down” and “Sorry.”
In her performance of “Drunk In Love,” she was elevated by a hydraulic crane and danced from there during the entire song. In the middle of the song, the music stopped for a small dance segment from one of her dancers.
In “Bow Down” and “Sorry,” Beyoncé encapsulated female empowerment and told the girls in the crowd that they were not only queens, but also smart and beautiful. Both songs point out female empowerment and women not relying on men.
Beyoncé made a tribute to Destiny’s Child by bringing out the remainder of the group to perform “Say My Name,” their iconic song from the 90s. From an audience perspective, you can see by the way Beyoncé and her cousins interact that this moment was nostalgic for all of them.
The performance was overall extravagant, with a stage filled with dancers and musicians. Beyoncé said there were 150 people on stage. The show was not just a performance; it was performance art. Many artists go on stage and just sing and do their own thing, but Beyoncé had choreography as well as individual characters. There were short skits throughout the performance to showcase individual characters and give personality to the show. The personality in the performance is what really brought everything together.
The documentary summarizes how important HBCUs are to Beyoncé in the form of a written paragraph that shows on the end screen. This was the main point of her performance: To empower women of color and showcase true black culture, especially because she was the first black woman to headline Coachella.
Madison Appleby is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.