Arts & Entertainment, Features

REVIEW: Beyoncé’s ‘Homecoming’ an inspiring celebration of black culture, strength

“Homecoming,” a documentary about Beyoncé, was released on Netflix on April 17. COURTESY OF PARKWOOD ENTERTAINMENT

Forget Coachella 2019. Beyoncé’s headliner performance from last year blew everyone away with bombastic dances, incredible vocals and a story that celebrated black culture. The 2018 festival should only be referred to as “Beychella,” which is covered in the first inspiring documentary that features Beyoncé at the center.

“Homecoming” hit Netflix just last week on April 17. Fans and non-fans alike get an inside view of the dedication and personality behind the icon’s legendary performance.

“It’s hard to believe that after all these years, I was the first African American woman to headline Coachella,” Beyoncé said.

She did an amazing job in bringing black culture into the spotlight.

It wasn’t about singing, dancing and stardom. It was about Beyoncé. It was about her children. It was about her sister. It was about black people everywhere who are underestimated and undervalued.

Instead of me pulling out my flower crown, it was more important that I brought our culture,” she said in the middle of her documentary.

This movie truly demonstrates Beyoncé’s love for her people and inspires the audience who watches. She pays tribute to the Historically Black Colleges and Universities community and draws her fellow black performers from across the world, including twin dancers from France.

An orchestra, a marching band, guitarists, dancers, singers and even a baton twirler adorned the pyramid-shaped stage throughout the historic performance. These talented artists were handpicked by Beyoncé to show everyone that black expression and talent matters. It’s to be seen, heard and felt.

“Like, the things that these young people can do with their bodies and the music they can play, and the drum rolls, and the haircuts and the bodies. … It’s just so much damn swag,” Beyoncé said in the documentary.

The documentary switches back and forth from the 2018 stage to clips from the eight months of rehearsing. It was powerful storytelling that allows the audience to experience the emotion behind the preparation.

These scenes demonstrate Beyoncé’s strength better than any song or dance ever could. Without these clips, the movie would be just an account of a great performance.

Including this backstory through black and white or vintage-filtered clips adds a dimension to her movie that transcends the screen. Seeing her go through such hardships to get back into shape after a difficult pregnancy and balance training while taking care of her newborn twins sends a message of love and strength that translates into her performance.

Beyoncé states, “I put every mistake all of my triumphs — my 22-year career — into my two-hour homecoming performance.”

This is what brought everything to life.

Not only this, but quotes from influential black leaders and artists, such as Nina Simone and Maya Angelou, are dispersed through the documentary. Beyoncé used the help of people who fought before her — the black feminists that laid the groundwork for her performance and created incredible artwork.

“Homecoming” is nothing short of art.

Beyoncé stated halfway through the movie that she was worried the feeling and emotion from the performance wouldn’t translate onto the screen. Of course, watching a whole crew perform on Netflix will never be the same as being on stage or even standing in the crowd.

However, I truly felt like I was there, watching history unfold before my eyes. The girls chanting, the “Bugaboos’” stomping and every other astounding part of the performance that resonated.

Every message she displayed — love, family, the black community — came through and captured everyone’s hearts.

A fan, quoted in the documentary, phrases it perfectly by saying, “They heard her say it without saying it. Let’s get it together. Let’s move forward. Let’s unify.”

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