Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 21 October 2019

Five things 'Homecoming' taught us about Beyonce

Beyonce has turned her historic Coachella headline set into a Netflix documentary

Beyonce on stage at Coachella, in a still from 'Homecoming: A Film by Beyonce'. Courtesy Netflix 
Beyonce on stage at Coachella, in a still from 'Homecoming: A Film by Beyonce'. Courtesy Netflix 

We might be in the midst of Coachella 2019, but no-one is talking about that. Thanks to the release of Beyonce’s Netflix documentary Homecoming – and accompanying live album – the world is still looking back on last year’s history-making headline set.

Homecoming weaves together footage from Beyonce’s performances at both Coachella weekends, laced with candid, backstage footage giving us an insight into the show’s production, life following the birth of her twins, and the importance of black culture in America.

It is 137 minutes of singing, dancing and awe-inspiring moments, and this is what we learnt…

1. It looks like Blue Ivy is set to follow in her mother’s footsteps

She may only be six years old, but Blue Ivy certainly isn’t afraid of the spot light, which is unsurprising, given who her parents are. We have already had a glimpse of Blue’s star potential, thanks to her now famously telling her parents to ‘shhh’ at last year’s Grammy Awards, but Homecoming proves even further that Blue is likely to follow in her mother’s footsteps. In one behind-the-scenes clip she is seen copying her mum’s choreography, and we might add, mastering the hair whip. While later she is seen singing Lift Every Voice and Sing with a little encouragement from Bey, and adorably says as soon as she’s finished: “I want to do that again, it feels good.” Watch out world.

2. Beyonce may make it look effortless, but she put in a LOT of work

As we all watch in disbelief as Beyonce powers through the two-hour set, barely stopping for breath, you might think this all comes naturally for her. But then, she offers an insight into the grueling process that got her to the Coachella stage – and frankly, it doesn’t look fun. Following the birth of her twins Rumi and Sir Carter, which Beyoncw revealed in Homecoming had to be delivered via emergency C-section as one of their hearts stopped in the womb, the star says she weighed 218 pounds. Add that to the toxemia and preeclampsia she suffered during pregnancy, and it sounds like she had a particularly difficult nine months.

“There are times I thought I would never be there same”, she reveals in candid scenes, adding that in order to meet her goal, she cut out meat, dairy, fish, bread, carbs, sugar, and alcohol. “I’m hungry”, said the voiceover as she bit into an apple. Add that to the grueling six months of rehearsals, sometimes lasting 15 hours, and we’re exhausted just watching. And it’s clear Bey feels the same. “I have children. I have a husband. I have to take care of my body. I definitely pushed myself further than I knew I could,” she says in one clip. “And I learned a very valuable lesson: I will never, ever push myself that far again.”

3. Beyonce dreamed of going to a HBCU

Beyoncé spent her teenage years in Destiny’s Child, referring to the band as her “college”, but she wanted to attend one of America’s Historic Black Colleges and Universities, so for Homecoming, she created one herself. The production featured more than 200 people on stage – from dancers and backing singers, to strings and an orchestra, all of which Beyonce hand-picked herself from colleges around America, and used their traditions to inspire the show’s choreography.

“So many people who are culturally aware and intellectually sound are graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, including my father,” she says. “There is something incredibly important about the HBCU experience that must be celebrated and protected.”

4. Olivier Rousteing played a huge role in designing the costumes

Beyonce and her stylist Marni Senofonte worked with Balmain’s creative director, Olivier Rousteing, to design five custom looks for the two weekends that paid homage to HBCUs across America and black power. The result were matching band uniforms and varsity-style hoodies for Bey and her 200-strong troupe – yellow for weekend one, pink for weekend two – and some staple Beyonce sequined leotards for later in the show. Ever the perfectionist, Beyonce reveals that every costume was made my hand, even down to the last gemstone.

5. Beyonce the director

Beyoncé was writer, director and executive producer on Homecoming. Netflix
Beyoncé was writer, director and executive producer on Homecoming. Netflix

In the closing credits, it’s revealed that not only was this film all about Beyonce, but she was also the writer, director and executive producer of Homecoming.

She has never made a secret of her perfectionist traits, but this was a documentary she was in complete and total control of, down to every shot, every angle and every candid clip. Even down to the timing – smack bang in the middle of the two weekends of Coachella 2019 - Beyonce has ensured that no matter who is headlining this year, they will not be forgetting (or living up to) her Homecoming.

Updated: April 18, 2019 12:39 PM

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