Beychella is Proof That Beyoncé is the Greatest Performer Alive. I’m Not Arguing
Beyoncé Giselle of House Knowles. First of her name. Snatcher of Edges. Killer of Stages. Exemplar of Excellence. Citizen of Creole Wonderland. Legendary Black Girl. Wakandan Council President. Queen.
I gotta up my intake of B12 (Biotin) and re-order my supply of Jamaican Black Castor Oil. Beyoncé stays coming for all my new growth. I’m not even mad cuz I’d gladly sacrifice some coiffure for the Queen.
I didn’t go to Coachella, but I was a citizen of Beychella, watching her performance on live stream and realizing more and more that we are watching a legend. That is not an over-statement. If Beyoncé decides she’s sick of us lessers and never releases another piece of music or do another performance, she has already earned icon status and I’m not here to argue with you. Be mad at your mama. People have been crowned icons for doing and being less. Many white musicians who died early in their career are considered icons, because of the potential they showed and what could have been. Here’s a woman who is living and thriving, who has done four times as much musically and people want to question her position. NAWL.
This woman, who makes history over and over again, and did it last night by being the first Black woman to headline Coachella, took the chance to cement her place as the greatest entertainer alive.
LET ME REPEAT: Beyoncé is the greatest performer and entertainer alive. And if you disagree, there’s hateration where your heart used to be. This should be undisputed. Tell me who else has the showmanship, the excellence, the choreography, the voice. If you can’t, stay out the fray. People have been saying Janet Jackson. Listen here. I LOVE ME some Damita Jo, just like the next but this ain’t the era of Rhythm Nation. She is forever GREAT but she is not at her prime (which is okay because she’s also 20 years older than Bey). I said what I said. Be mad. Stay nauseous.
The reason why I’m especially staking this claim of greatest alive is that Beyoncé does it, while making a point to be as BLACK AS POSSIBLE. There is something really special about watching Bey in all her NOIR PIXIE DUST, reminding folks over and over again that Blackness is something to be proud of. Everybody gon wanna go to an HBCU now. I’m over here like “Does Howard have a remote location where I can just say I took classes?”
At Coachella, she sang the Black national anthem (Lift Every Voice), while a 100-person all Black band was behind her giving all the life. They did a full stepshow, while wearing branded sweatshirts in the tradition of paraphernalia of historically Black Greek letter fraternities and sororities. They even stepped as she told people to “suck on her balls.” Then she changed into a costume with a crest on her chest. The crest had the eye of horus on it. And 4 segments with Queen Nefertiti, a Black Panther, a fist up and a bee (for the BeyHive).
She played Malcolm X’s line of “the Black woman is the most disrespected person in America.” She paid tribute to Fela Kuti. THEY EVEN SWAG SURFED, YALL!!! It’s was so beautiful. And BLACKITY BLACK BLACK.
For 2 hours, she performed for a mostly white Coachella audience. But really, she performed for the millions of Black people she knew were tuned in online everywhere. It was a brilliant display of excellence. It was a performance of bravado. It was a musical that I’d watch on Broadway over and over again. It was Black affirmation, not giving a damb about white gaze. Because I’m sure the performance went over the heads of some of the melanin-deficient who saw it in person.
That ain’t even touching the fact that she then brought out Jay-Z. And then Destiny’s Child reunited, making them the first girl group to perform at Coachella. And then Solange came out to dance for her life with her sister. It was stunning. It was a feast for the senses. As your eyes are dancing along with Bey and her crew, your ears are overwhelmed because she also sounded her best.
We were watching a living legend at her best. 6 months after birthing twins. She never looked winded. She danced and sang for 2 whole hours at top energy. She is a marvel. I’ve never had kids and I did a karaoke routine of Sister Act 2’s Joyful, Joyful. 4 minutes where I was 2-stepping and lip syncing. I got off the stage and had to sit down for 10 minutes to catch my breath.
And that is why I have spent a lot of today arguing with people online. I feel like this performance took me to the point of no return in my fandom. I’ve always been a Beyoncé fan. I buy all the albums. I know ALL the songs. I even write about how I lose my shit about her work. Read:
But I haven’t been a member of the BeyHive even though I have attended a few meetings. I hadn’t been dragging folks on her behalf. That has changed. It is official. I just sent in my membership dues. I’ll bring Flaming Hots to the next meeting. ????????????
HOW CAN ANYONE DENY THIS WOMAN’S TALENT?!?! People have definitely tried it today and my patience is out. How can you watch what she does and still be like “meh?” At this point, it’s foolishness and those engaging in it are enemies of progress.
Here’s the thing. I’m not saying people need to declare Beyonce Queen of their Hearts. But the woman is EXCELLENT and her artistry is undeniable. The levels people go to, to criticize her excellence, is mind-boggling. When you spend hours every day, practicing your craft, for 25 years. And you show up and give everything you have. And you honor your culture. And you show up for people who look like you, yet people can still be all “she ain’t that good.” Or people say “she can’t sing” even though you are belting out songs acapella on key at octaves you don’t speak at.
It begs the question: at what point can people do and be enough? It’s also a lesson for everyone: NO MATTER HOW GOOD YOU ARE, THERE WILL BE PEOPLE WHO DON’T LIKE YOU. And that is okay. Keep doing what you were doing anyway. There are people who don’t think Beyoncé is talented. So you KNOW there will be people who don’t think your work is remotely good. Keep doing it anyway.
All I know is that Beychella has inspired the hell outta me. This woman is on top but still shows up as if ever performance is her first and last. She acts like she still NEEDS to impress people (like it’s her first time), and leaves everything she has on the stage as if it’s the last time we’ll see her. She’s constantly trying to do herself because she’s not in a race with anybody but who she was yesterday. She doesn’t take being at the top for granted, and that makes me appreciate her artistry and her personhood and her work ethic like nothing else. I will revel in her greatness, and I will side-eye anyone who dares try to diminish what she’s done.
YES. I AM OFFICIALLY AVAILABLE TO DRAG PEOPLE WHO DISAGREE.
Sooo… my BeyHive membership kit. Can it come with pins? I need to rock it on my jackets. I also need my t-shirt in a size extra schmedium, please.
She makes me so proud to be a Black girl. And I am emboldened to be able to say a Black woman is the best entertainer alive.
Have you bought my NYTimes-bestselling debut book I’M JUDGING YOU: The Do-Better Manual? Haven’t ordered it yet? Now’s your chance. You’ll love it. Amazon. Barnes & Nobles. iBooks. Audible (I narrated the audiobook myself). Kobo. Books-A-Million.