In line with the one-year anniversary of Beychella – a back-to-back event at Coachella 2018 in which Beyoncé headlined the festival in extraordinary fashion – Netflix released the documentary Homecoming, and it was nothing short of astonishing. Over the course of 2 hours and 17 minutes, the film switches between jaw-dropping footage of her Beychella performance and never-before-seen, behind-the-scenes B-roll as she meticulously prepares for her performance as the first African-American woman to headline the annual music event.
An homage to black history – with nods to historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) and marching backs to outfits inspired by the ancient Egyptian queen Nefertiti – Beyoncé truly rejected the flower crowns and brought her culture to the 125,000-strong crowd and millions of viewers at home. From hand-picking the diverse, 200-person crew of performers to making all decisions on stage design and presentation, Homecoming takes us into the presence of an otherworldly woman who possesses a work ethic and vision like no other. Below, we revisit the most epic moments from Homecoming. Spoiler alerts ahead.
Surrounded by dancers in printed catsuits, nothing emanated Beyoncé’s true queen status like opening her performance wearing a crown and glittering, emblazoned cape. In the modern day, Hollywood celebrities are the new royalty, and Beyoncé’ claimed her rightful throne with all the regality and pose of a woman who knows she’s on top. As they say, bow down.
History in the Making
Granted privileged behind-the-scenes access, we were able to better appreciate the magnitude of Beyoncé’s performance. Instead of shining the spotlight solely on herself, she allowed room for the audience to discover the talents of the hundreds of young people who came together to make #Beychella a reality. Dedicated to the culture of HBCU homecomings – which have their own traditions including chants, songs, and skits – the show highlighted elements like drumlines, slap-and-stomp dances taken from the Haitian tradition of ‘Juba’, and lively call-and-response interactions. In relaying the unique nature of HBCU homecomings, Beyoncé exposed longstanding black cultural traditions to a global audience.
Blue Ivy is the daughter of our generation’s greatest performer, which gave her a front-row seat to the action as the epic show came together. The documentary is filled with adorable B-roll of Beyoncés firstborn, dancing and cheering on her mother from the sidelines, later taking center-stage and fearlessly singing to a group of adults. We can only hope that she follows in her parent’s paths, and this footage proves she’s already on her way.
Destined to Reunite
Beyoncé’s performance also acted as a time capsule, paying homage to the friends who helped shape her creative journey: Destiny’s Child. Despite it being the trio’s first time on stage together since 2013, their charismatic and flawless performance of tracks ‘Say My Name’, ‘Soldier’ and ‘Lose My Breath’ left us feeling like the group had never dismantled (and had us dreaming of a reunion tour).
Words of Wisdom
Other than being one of the most beautiful and visually stimulating performances of our time, the documentary is filled with an endless number of inspirational interjections. Beyoncé introduces quotes and prose from old and new artists and thinkers who’ve left their imprint on black culture in the US and abroad, including words by Alice Walker, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Malcolm X, Nina Simone, and Maya Angelou.