Cover Crop: A Review of Beyoncé’s “Homecoming” Documentary Pt. 1

Let me choose my words carefully here. Not that this is a sensitive topic that we’re heading into, I just want to be sure I relay my feelings fully and thoroughly when it comes to this documentary. Intense. Yes, that’s what I’ll start with. Beyoncé’s Homecoming documentary was an experience with the intention to share so much, for so many people.  For a month and a half, I was intoxicated with love and light. Motivation and inspiration continued to rain on me, and my thoughts became pillars of hope. Usually, those same pillars could be only found when despair was near. Somehow, I had finally found the strength to remain hopeful as this manifestation consistently unfolded itself as the days passed. Creativity brewing and bubbling inside of me. As excited as I had felt with the changes happening, I knew more was coming. She was coming.

“There’s fear but once we face them, we can become movers too, helping along that person still waiting”.

I began to realize that at some point in the past few years I started living my life like any major event. No, not the excitement of it all but thinking of the process when you’re trying to leave an event. There are cars, people and confusion everywhere when you’re trying to leave that space. There are usually only 2 options at this point; either leaving first to beat some of the traffic or you choose to wait it out. I was being this person that wanted to wait and to continue to wait for safety reasons, but over the last month I had changed. Now, please don’t get the impression that I am saying that there is anything wrong with those who wait. I just finally understood that in life, both the movers and those who wait are needed. Having all of us one way or another would cause too much chaos. My feelings are that those movers are made up of all kind of artists. They inspire us, if we allow them to, to be the version we want of ourselves even if that means that it scares us a little. There’s fear but once we face them, we can become movers too, helping along that person still waiting. My attention had been especially focused on Black artists and Beyoncé, undeniably, is a top artist who has helped move me closer to my purpose. I hope, these words are as useful to someone else as her artistry has been for me.

Wednesday, April 17th

I felt the shift in my day the moment I woke up. It was the same feeling I would get as a child, knowing I was taking a field trip the next morning. No matter how small, it was still an adventure to be had. The slight break in my normal daily routine often excited my curiosity. I remember struggling through work that day, trying to keep myself focused on the work that needed to be done but my mind kept reverting to the anticipation for Beyoncé’s documentary. Watching the Coachella performance, a year prior on my phone, through someone’s Twitter live feed, had already caught my attention so I was most certainly looking forward to the Netflix Documentary. Taking a step back, there’s something you should know about me: I have yet to see Beyoncé in concert. Tragic, I know. Although, I have always wanted to, I had let myself believe that I would never be able to afford the tickets for the front row seats that I would like. I was content with that decision and felt that there wasn’t anything wrong with being a budget friendly fan, supporting from afar.

“Twelve minutes. 12. That’s the amount of time I was able to get through of the documentary as I cried hysterically”.

That night, a lot changed about that decision. I sat on the couch, readying myself as best as I could for what was to come but there was nothing to prepare me for this. I was struck almost immediately. When I say that it was breath taking, I mean that in the most literal sense. I sat weeping and hollering at my tv for what seemed like hours on end, however I was mistaken. Twelve minutes. 12. That’s the amount of time I was able to get through of the documentary as I cried hysterically. It was the most beautifully painful piece of artwork I was fortunate to experience. I wasn’t just watching; I was feeling so much and for the night my emotions just could not sustain it. I decided to pause in that moment instead of finishing right away as to almost let the dust settle a bit. The next day, still unprepared but more aware of what I was getting myself into, began the documentary once more. There was so much to take in, but I’d like to share a few of the performances that I gravitated to: Bow Down, Drunk in Love, and Diva. For the sake of this article, I have attached the songs from the live album but strongly encourage you to check out the documentary for the full experience. These songs fall from minutes 28 through min 44 of the documentary.

Beyoncé -Bow Down (Homecoming Live Album)

*I do not own the rights to this song*

The flashes from the stage pyramid highlight Beyoncé’s face as she walks back to the stage, calling out all the queens in the audience as the dancers join her. You feel the excitement running across the stage, pushing itself on the crowd, myself included. The hyped up-bigger than life movements, legs and arms extending with intention. You have no choice, to not only sing along, but to scream and shout out your feelings. Shouting and dancing your worth in the most colorful way imagined. It was so joyous to watch and admire these Black bodies creating waves, physically and vibrationally. It called to me in whispers; there was something for me to take from this.

Beyoncé-Drunk in Love (Homecoming Live Album)

*I do not own the rights to this song*

Goodness, the sensation I got all over my body as I watched Beyoncé being lifted on that crane, a slow steady rise. Watching her hair dancing in the wind as she flips and tilts her head lovingly at us. I found such fascination with the words of this song while at the same time feeling intoxicated by her visuals on stage. Hearing the horn section with a blaring pulse as if it was pumping creative life back into me, another big bang moment in my eyes and ears. My favorite moment during this song was a quick glimpse that we go from the camera angle behind her. All the flashes in the dark was like a psychedelic galaxy and Beyoncé is the center of it all, floating and rotating beautifully. I was awakened to a yearning for creative control like hers.

Beyoncé-Diva (Homecoming Live Album)

*I do not own the rights to this song*

This song has always been a favorite of mine. I was floored by how the song was elevated by the elements of this live performance. So many different memories came back to me but what stood out was remembering how good I felt each time I heard that song whether it was a college party on campus (At least 7 years ago) or out at a club somewhere. I felt empowered. I mulled on that a bit after watching this performance. There’s such beauty in empowerment, lending out your strength and wisdom to help someone else see their potential must be the epitome of art. Beyoncé found a way to visually display that with this performance. Watching the entire pyramid of performers lean slowly, arms out stretched perfectly as they mocked the motion and likeness of an airplane in unison. I could not break my attention from my TV as I saw myself on those risers, saw my friends, my sisters and brothers. There’s was a fire in me to be that light amongst others and an understanding that I won’t be alone on this journey I am taking. I am striving for the best version of myself and without a doubt, those around me will see the same in themselves as well.

“…I was incredibly encouraged to find my own greatness with the needed nudge that the documentary gave me”.

Beyoncé created this incredible energy in my living room. Even though I sat there, in awe of how great of an artist she is, I was incredibly encouraged to find my own greatness with the needed nudge that the documentary gave me. To see the transformation of her previous work and how she brought new life to it was beyond inspirational to me. Her vulnerability related to me, seeing how Beyoncé completely embraced this time of change for her and was resilient in moving forward with her purpose. I wanted that deeply. I was receiving it after all, piece by piece. This message of strength found its way to me when I needed it most, subconsciously wrapping my head around what I saw for myself and hopefully what I saw for the lives I may touch. I knew I would have to be patient with some things, but it was most important that I remain persistent in this new beginning as I move closer to the purpose laid before me.

Written by Michelle Hill

Join us next Sunday for Part 2!

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