I may be the last person in America to finally watch ‘Homecoming’, a Netflix film following Beyonce’s preparation and performance at Coachella in 2018. However, it should be noted that I am not a passive watcher of television. When I watch anything from Hulu, to Netflix, to cable television, I like to give all of my attention to it so I don’t miss a single detail.
That’s why it took me so long to finally watch ‘Homecoming’, but I must say that it was worth the wait. I sung, danced, laughed, smiled, and even stood at the verge of shedding tears (a few times). To see a representation of Blackness in a space that has always been primarily associated with white artists, was invigorating. As I watched, I took down a few things I wanted to share with you that I think we can all take away from Bey.
Here are 8 Lessons from ‘Homecoming’:
- Don’t wait on permission to be unapologetically Black.
As Black people, many times we put a lid on who we are as people to fit the ideals and standards of others. Our cultural behaviors and vernacular are things we put aside in order to helps others feel comfortable. It may come as second nature but we have to make a conscious effort to not suppress who we are as people for the sake of others. Beyonce sung the Negro National Anthem as one of her opening songs and used culture from Historically Black Colleges and Universities as her show’s theme. Coachella attendees are primarily white and I’m sure most of them had no idea what ‘Lift Every Voice’ was or what HBCU bands did but she didn’t let that stop her from executing her vision.
2. The HBCU experience is unmatched.
While we’re on the subject of HBCUs… these institutions of higher learning were developed for Black people when we weren’t allowed in other universities and colleges. That is why they are so important to our culture and communities because they stood for us when no one else would. As an HBCU grad, I can say in addition to the fun you have at these schools, you are equally educated on whatever your major of study is. Kudos to Beyonce for casting a spotlight on HBCU’s across America!
3. Preparation and Intention are important.
Beyonce spoke about what went into the show as far as preparation. We got to see clips of the practices and planning that went into everything. She said that planning things from materials that the risers would be made out of, every light, the colors of costumes… it was all intentional. She wanted everything to mean something. We can learn that in anything we do, there is an amount of preparation that goes on behind the scenes that the world may never know but it is still crucial to put in the time.
4. Know your limits.
As she began to prepare, she was recovering after having the twins. She said that she pushed herself further than she knew she could and the lesson that she learned was that she would never push herself that far again. Know just how far you can push your body and mind and when you’ve exhausted that, pull back. You’re human and it’s ok to not be ok.
5. There’s always something you can improve upon.
Even Beyonce said some of the choreography was fast. I know we see people we admire doing things that we dream of doing everyday but we only see a small part of a bigger picture. Don’t rush the process. Peep this quote from Bey herself about rehearsals:
“This is grounding. No matter who you are… that’s why people don’t like to rehearse. You gotta be humble, you have to be willing to look awkward. You have to study and be a student.”-Beyonce
6. Blackness is beautiful.
It wasn’t lost on me that most of the close-up shots of audience members were shots of Black people. To be able to see Black performers, hear Black quotes and see Black people enjoy something was so refreshing.
“When I decided to do Coachella instead of me pulling out my flower crown, it was more important that I brought our culture to Coachella .”-Beyonce
7. Collaboration is essential to success.
I know we live in a ‘me’ generation where everyone wants to attribute their success to themselves but I’m a firm believer that collaboration will get you further, faster. There were over 200 performers, 3 sound stages, a creative team, stylists, costume designers and endless crew and staff that made it all happen. Just as it is important to have help, it is also important to cultivate a relationship with those you collaborate with. Beyonce said she looks at them as her family and they truly grew closer by spending time together.
8. Women are so powerful.
Last but certainly not least, women are so powerful and our capabilities are endless. While pregnant, Beyonce developed high blood pressure, preeclampsia, and had to have an emergency c-section. She said that when she returned to practice, there were days that she felt she’d never be the same and it took her a while to feel confident. If Bey can do it, so can you.
So, that’s all I have for you today. I hope you can take something from ‘Homecoming’ just as I have to carry with you daily. Oh, and remember…
“If my country a** can do it, they can do it.” -Beyonce