Baechella: A Celebration of Black Power

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By Nevali Mohan

This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 4 of VARSITY News.

 

Netflix recently released Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé which provided an intimate, in-depth look at Beyoncé’s celebrated 2018 Coachella performance.

 

 

While the actual concert made a statement in support of black power, it was the behind the scenes look and, creative concept that made headlines around the world. Fans were so enthused by the film that they took to Twitter to highlight how Taylor Swift’s performance of ‘ME!’, performed at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards, mimicked that of Beyoncé’s Homecoming. And it was only a matter of time before #Mayochella began trending on Twitter.

 

In spite of all the Beyoncé buzz, one thing is certain: Homecoming has transcended entertainment borders reflecting a somewhat political message.

 

Black heritage took centre stage as Beyoncé began by asserting that she was the first black woman to headline Coachella. It did not stop there, as the cast consisted of a majority-black pool – from the back dancers to the musicians. Maya Angelou’s voice was featured in supporting narrations of the documentary. In addition to this, the use of the marching band is representative of the respective groups which were a part of the legendary Historically Black Universities and Colleges in America. The resemblance of the brass instruments only pays homage to the jazz movement which gained prominence in New Orleans by groups of disadvantaged black people.

 

Beyoncé is known to be a private person, yet she did not hesitate to invite her sister and former band members from Destiny’s Child on stage to join her for several songs. The acknowledgement and portrayal of her black heritage resonates with the agenda for black power in an environment in which the artistic power dynamic has been disrupted. The way in which this was executed was a new kind of art that has culminated in Beyoncé’s music career, since its inception.

 

So many black stories are told through the lens of whiteness. But Queen Bee uses her platform to create her own narrative in the absence of any press.

 

The project coincides with Beyoncé’s life after the birth of her twins. The documentary addressed both weight gain and body image issues, personifying the kind of struggles that women face in society. In this way, Beyoncé tells her own story through a medium she knows best.

 

On a visual level, the performance appeals to the senses. The flashes of pink and yellow outfits have been seamlessly edited, which makes it feel like it is all one performance. Additionally, the camera angles capture every possible aesthetic, which adds to the calibre of the performance.

 

Beyoncé has brought black power to Coachella, and in doing so has inspired viewers to use their own platforms to advocate for change in the most nuanced and creative ways.

 

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This section of VARSITY is a vehicle for expression on any topic by members of the UCT community. The opinions within this section are not necessarily those of the VARSITY collective or its advertisers.

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