#BeyChella Favorite 



Apr 14 2018

Beyoncé delivered an intensely, unapologetic celebration of Black and HBCU culture at the Coachella Festival 2 weekends in a row. Not only were her performances some of the best live performances to date but they sent a pretty significant message to the world.

Here are some assessments of this beautiful demonstration of Blackness and Black Girl Magic:

From BBC News:

The first, career-spanning set, complete with a surprise reformation of Destiny's Child to celebrate the band's 20th anniversary, saw her become the first black woman to headline the festival.

"The word 'iconic' only begins to scratch the surface of how black America felt when an unapologetic black woman, born and raised in the belly of the south, headlined one of the whitest music festivals in America," says Kristi Henderson, a senior member at Colour of Change - America's largest online racial justice organisation.

The pop superstar paid homage to the landmark occasion by infusing her performance with black power symbolism.

In doing so, Henderson says Beyonce "echoed the resilience of a people who continue to be criminalised and persecuted for sitting, standing, walking, talking, laughing, thinking, riding in cars, breathing and for being black in America".

The 36-year-old singer - a strong civil rights advocate and supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement - collaborated with Olivier Rousteing, creative director of French fashion house Balmain, to produce the politically-charged costume designs.

Queen Nefertiti
The centrepiece outfit was a headdress and full-body costume inspired by Queen Nefertiti. One of the most powerful women of ancient Egypt, Nefertiti is a historic symbol of black female empowerment and was influential during the reign of her husband Pharaoh Akhenaten in the 14th Century BC.

Although thought to be one of many wives, Nefertiti held elevated status.

Renowned for her beauty (her name translates as "the beautiful one has come"), she was viewed as the link between human citizens and the deified Sun God Aten. Her power, status and independence made her an iconic figure.

Fredara Hadley, a visiting professor at Oberlin College, Ohio, says Nefertiti - along with Cleopatra and the Queen of Sheba - are historical figures who have "come to represent a regal African past for black Americans".

"Beyonce is on this really interesting journey of revisiting different eras of black womanhood - 19th/early 20th Century rural black women in Lemonade, black Madonna in her 2017 Grammy performance, and Nefertiti at Coachella," Hadley adds.

The headdress worn by Beyonce, decorated with a black feather, reflects the bust of Nefertiti discovered in 1912.

Speaking to Vogue, Rousteing said Jay Z's "eyes went wide" when he saw Beyonce in the accompanying goddess cape.

Black power shield
Beyonce changed costumes five times during the first performance, and saved the most overt political imagery for a vest top adorned with a shield made up of key black power symbols.

Raised fist:

This referenced the silent protest against racial discrimination made by black American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Mexico Olympics.

The pair, who won gold and bronze medals respectively in the 200m, stood with their heads bowed and black-gloved hands raised as the American national anthem played.

Smith said he had raised his right fist to represent black power in America, while Carlos raised his left fist to represent black unity.

Black Panther logo:

In the 1960s, the fist salute became a symbol of black power militant groups in the US like the Black Panther Party, which carried out armed citizens' patrols to monitor police behaviour in California in the 1960s.

Beyonce referenced this militant group in her 2013 NFL Super Bowl performance. Dressed in black leather and black berets, the singers and dancers raised fists into the air during the show, mimicking the Black Panthers' salute.

Black bee:

The bee motif symbolised her fans, known as the Beyhive.

Eye of Horus:

This Egyptian symbol represents inner enlightenment and self-awareness.

Erik Steinskog, a professor in cultural studies at the University of Copenhagen, who made headlines last year by offering a degree in Beyonce, says this also points to Afrofuturism.

This paints ancient Egypt as an African high-culture "different than, in opposition to, and, historically 'before' Eurocentric Western thinking", he says.

"She clearly highlights black culture and celebrates it - perhaps more in her first Coachella performance than in any other performance I've heard about from her," he adds.

From The Irish Times:

On Saturday night, at Coachella in California, history was made. Beyoncé became the first black woman to headline the music festival. It was, from start to finish, the greatest live musical performance I have ever seen. Maybe even the best performance of all time. It was extraordinary. And in a week where two black men were arrested in a Starbucks in Philadelphia for doing absolutely nothing other than sitting at a table while being black, Beyonce’s mind-blowing performance was even more important and meaningful.

Black men and women in America are under siege. Since I first set foot in the US 19 years ago, I could see something was really wrong. In my years of living and travelling around the US, I have come to learn something about the constant assault upon black people in my adopted country. It’s systemic, it’s pervasive and it’s brutally oppressive.

The majority of the news we hear of violence against black people are the shootings of boys and men by police. Recently, a man talking on his cell phone in his back garden in Sacramento was shot dead by police. It happens every day and is a direct result of the legacy of slavery and racism America has not even begun to effectively reckon with.

Beneath the fold or often obscured or disappeared from the headlines are the stories of black women who endure not only entrenched societal racism but a deep, engrained misogyny that degrades and devalues them. Malcolm X said, “The most disrespected woman in America is the black woman. The most unprotected woman in America is the black woman. The most neglected woman in America is the black woman.” A recording of his voice carrying these words echoed across the stage as Beyoncé stood fiercely, commanding all eyes on her.

And all eyes and minds to recognize the beauty, power and grandeur that is Black culture.

A powerful moment of Artistic Activism that sets the bar for generations of Black performers to come!!

Posted by LCB1980 on

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