HOMECOMING documents Beyoncé’s iconic and historical Coachella performance and demonstrates the blood, sweat, and tears put into generating a visually and auditory breathtaking production. The documentary written, created, and produced by Beyoncé herself is not simply about her performance, but a commemoration of the eight months of challenging work it took for her, as well as a village of select dancers, vocalists, steppers, and band members to perfect.
It clearly is not about the performance itself, as HOMECOMING emphasizes, but rather an inspiring product that demonstrates the capabilities, power, strength, and artistry of black individuals and women while uplifting black culture so the whole world can see.
Do yourself a favor and allow yourself to feel inspired.
It’s difficult to avoid writing a review about HOMECOMING when it is the most uplifting and inspirational film I have seen in a while, especially a concert film. So in order to try to avoid writing just a movie review or words idolizing Beyoncé, I’ll try to keep it short and to the point (emphasis on try).
It’s been a few days since the film came out, and the hive remains buzzing about HOMECOMING. It seems to act as a therapeutic medium for many people, myself included, that fosters motivation through its profound representation of the power of discipline and dedication.
The documentary follows this eight month journey of perfecting the iconic performance that called one of the world’s most popular music festivals to be renamed Beychella while fearlessly showing Beyoncé in a vulnerable light.
Activism in Performance
Undeniably, Beyoncé’s homecoming is her legacy and a challenge to all negative criticism as she takes the stage as the first black woman to headline Coachella. The production crew alongside Beyoncé’s fiery guidance created a space that challenges stereotypes by literally staging a performance where black individuals and women could demonstrate their strength and talent. When the world watches, they see a mirror that reflects the endless potential of the human body and mind.
The visuals and dialogue throughout the documentary incite a fiery passion and longing for release and personal growth. They reach into history and incorporate facets of a culture spearheaded by artists and activists. Much of the dialogue and visuals in the performance lead to dialogue regarding black political thought and black-led movements in America’s history. Malcolm X and Maya Angelou were just two of the civil rights activist quoted during the performance and film who fought for the liberation and human rights of black people in America.
“The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected woman in America is the black woman. The most neglected woman in America is the black woman.”
Malcolm X was the defender of taking pride in one’s skin and heritage and pushed for unity among members of African American communities. Hearing his voice during Beyoncé’s performance in HOMECOMING related to the difficulty of being a Black woman in America, and for the sentiments to still resonate so deeply today, is both striking and moving. Much of his philosophy of unity and pride were present in Beyoncé’s ethic and performance.
Beyoncé took it upon herself to elevate this performance to something much deeper than a visual and auditory experience, but to an invocation for civil thought concerning black culture and women.
Seeing Beyoncé and hearing the echo every single step of every dancer, stepper, band member, and vocalist that took part in the performance cultivates an atmosphere so vibrant and powerful that it manages to discredit any possible preconceived negative judgments one might have had about black culture in general or Beyoncé herself. She sets the standard incredibly high for every artist. If anything, we know that Beyoncé carries herself with unchallenged exceptionalism. She does nothing without a purpose, or as her sister Solange puts it, “Nothing without intention.”
Power in Vulnerability
We finally get to see Queen Bey in a more vulnerable state. She touches on the physical strains and demands rehearsals took while simultaneously giving us insight into the personal hurdles she had to face.
High blood pressure, toxemia, preeclampsia, and an emergency c-section were all health conditions Beyoncé survived during her pregnancy with twins. The complications she addresses spawn the narrative surrounding medicinal practices, racist practices for that matter, that disproportionately affect black mothers. Many people have been more open and spoken on the prevalence of racism in medicine among black mothers including Serena Williams.
It’s difficult to stop admiring every detail about this woman after watching HOMECOMING for the third time. But getting a glimpse into her ethic and discipline has been empowering to say the least.
Her documentation of the personal fervor during the exhausting months of rehearsal painted Queen Bey in a more vulnerable state that has inspired countless people. Watching HOMECOMING was a refreshing documentation of female power that’s definitely going to push me forwards for the next few months.
Just months after giving birth, she pushed herself beyond her limit in a way, she says, she will never do again.
Seeing the performance, guided with her narrative, give a whole new meaning to her “who run the world? (GIRLS!)” lyrics. When she sings those words I believe her, no matter how cheesy that may seem.
Artistry at its Finest
BEYONCÉ? Yes, Beyoncé. She did that. Crazy.
Honestly, it’s tough putting into words just how emotional and stunning HOMECOMING is. I still don’t think I deserve it.
The precision in the choreography, production, camera setup, lights, editing, the iconic yellow to pink transition during “Crazy in Love” that has everyone playing those few seconds back is true artistry at its finest. Theright months of preparation and excellent execution featuring a 40 song medley of Beyoncé’s work has left me in awe.
In a place that’s mostly white, Beyoncé created a space for black culture to transcend and inspire. Every single choice and every single minute detail you can think of, the members of this performance thought of a hundred more to perfect.
The incredible fixation on detail itself is breathtaking. I could honestly write a whole dissertation on the production alone, but to keep it short and sweet I’ll only mention some of the most notable features of Beyoncés performance.
To have the careful placement of mics, lighting, and cameras that make the transitions in HOMECOMING incredibly slick and possible stress Beyonce’s focus on composing the perfect performance that transcends her, and promotes synchronization among all the performers as well.
The orchestra, the steppers, and colors, were all deliberate and illustrative of characteristics tied to the HBCU experience. Her emphasis on the importance of HBCU’s, the carefully crafted stage and placement of every moving body, come together to create a powerful production of black expression.
The effort put into the performance doubles as a mirror reflecting the power and strength women possess. All while tying her 22 years of legacy in music into her HOMECOMING. As a concert film and documentary, alongside the Coachella performance, HOMECOMING is the precedent that has set the bar incredibly high for performances to come.
Beyoncé brought her excellence from 2018 into 2019 and has given us a spiritually elevating manifestation of her strong personality. HOMECOMING and Beyoncé show us how the historical Coachella performance transcends beyond herself, appreciates every person involved, and nurtures unity through collaboration, performative excellence, heritage, and spiritual elevation.