The Social Dig: It’s Beychella All Over Again

Chanell Noise, Web Staffer

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Homecoming: The Live Album reinforces the timelessness of Beyonce and her influencers’ music.

Leave it to Beyoncé to give listeners an album long enough to be a movie. Homecoming: The Live Album, was released on Apr. 17 on all major streaming platforms alongside her Netflix documentary of the same name. The album and documentary catalogue Beyonce’s iconic 2018 Coachella performance.


The headlining performance, nicknamed “Beychella” featured dancers, a step-team, a color guard, a marching band and skilled videographers that captured the moment. Beyonce said in her Netflix documentary that she chose every detail, from what the dancers wore to what her stage looked like. “Every detail had intention,” Beyoncé said.


Interestingly enough, Homecoming: The Live Album doesn’t feature much new music. The album is a live compilation of Beyonce’s greatest hits and covers of her favorite songs. This album has not only catapulted her esteemed discography back into top charts, but also shed light once again on her colorful and robust ancestry.


Yes. Beyoncé’s Coachella performance was very much Black. From her costumes bursting with north and east-african regality to the carefully planned pyramid built onstage- her production touched upon the diversity in Black ancestry. As Pitchfork says, Beyoncé’s performance ‘dips into the pool of Black genius.’


“My daddy Alabama, momma Louisiana

You mix that negro with that Creole

make a Texas bama”

“Formation”, Homecoming Live


From a sonic standpoint, her music also invokes a memory of a recent past in Black music. The use of live instrumentation from a big band added enough nuance to give her discography a huge facelift while also staying true to her overall vibe. Songs like “Before I Let Go”and “Crazy In Love” are reminiscent the music that played at my own family cookouts. The generations before me enjoyed funk, go-go, percussive R&B and jazz regularly. Beyoncé’s rebirthed tracks intertwine those styles with her own diva flair and are punctuated by her commentary in real-time.


Homecoming: The Live Album builds upon this point in Beyoncé’s career where her music carries political tones of Black empowerment and gender equality. Her talent and skill have always been top-tier, and through maturation, her subject matter has also evolved. Her pop singles over the years turned into ballads highlighting the joys of Black love and Black phenotypes. Her R&B bops grew from puppy-love Destiny’s Child singles to serious and painful “Lemonade (which has just been released on major streaming platforms besides TIDAL) pieces.


The spirit of the Black experience that Beyoncé has meticulously and purposefully interwoven into her headlining Coachella performance comes alive on Homecoming: The Live Album. Beyoncé shows a deep appreciation for not only the Black experience but the southern Black experience. Her love for the Black collegiate experience was authentic and effective.


“I always dreamed of going to an HBCU. My college was Destiny’s Child, my college was traveling around the world and life was my teacher. I wanted a Black orchestra, I wanted the steppers, I needed the vocalists, I needed the different characters. I didn’t want us all doing the same thing. And the amount of swag is just limitless. The things that these young people can do with their bodies and music they can play, and the drumrolls and haircuts and the bodies and it’s just not right! It’s just so much damn swag,”


-“So Much Damn Swag Interlude”, Beyoncé


The culture surrounding greek brotherhoods and sisterhoods, specifically the Divine Nine, lent itself in a visual way to Beyoncé’s performance. As far as her album, the way in which she interacts with her fellow performers onstage and the band influence on each song carry notes of the Black collegiate experience. The album itself is aptly named, as a homecoming at a predominately Black school is a huge event complete with live music and social gatherings.


No, Homecoming: The Live Album doesn’t tell a thorough story about being Black in America, what it’s like to go to a historically Black college or even what it means to be a Black woman. What Beyoncé attempts and succeeds at is highlighting her favorite parts of being a Black entertainer and is honest about where her influences come from. It’s her appreciation to the point of imitation of the Black collegiate experience that allows the listener to at least become acquainted with that subculture.


Beyoncé’s work is pro-Black. Her album is a relatable experience for some of her listeners and a beautiful teaching experience for others. Homecoming: The Live Album captures the camaraderie, struggle and creativity bound up in production that she oversaw. Sure, we’re pretty familiar with some of the songs featured on her latest album. But the refreshing and unique way that she presents her album reinforces her artwork’s timelessness.