When Beyoncé Knowles performed at the Super Bowl halftime show in 2016, she was without a doubt one of the most well-known pop culture figures on the planet. She was a 23-time Grammy-winning artist who had performed on the world’s most prestigious stages, including the Super Bowl halftime show in 2016.
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which began as an “anti-Woodstock” event to make artists more approachable to music fans, has grown into a highly significant event that has drawn celebrities such as Clint Eastwood, Snoop Dogg, and Cameron Diaz to perform.
Then, on April 14, 2018, Beyoncé’s two-hour performance, which included performers from historically black colleges and universities, surprise reunions, and her greatest hits, catapulted both the singer and the music festival to new heights of fame. As the first Black woman to headline Coachella, Beyoncé not only wowed the crowd with her performance and vocal abilities, she also took advantage of the opportunity to highlight African American culture in a way that had never been done before.
Beyoncé has long had family ties to the festival, which is held in the desert near Indio, California, and has been attending for years. When her husband, rapper Jay-Z, was the main attraction at a concert in 2010, she unexpectedly appeared on stage to perform a duet of “Young Forever,” shocking the audience. Four years later, she surprised the audience once more when she appeared on stage with her sister, singer Solange Knowles, in a choreographed routine to the song “Losing You.”
As a result, when it was announced that she would be performing her own set at Coachella in 2017, it almost seemed like she had been waiting a very long time. However, another due date was on the horizon: Beyoncé had announced that she was expecting twins, and she was forced to cancel the highly anticipated performance due to doctor’s orders.
The organization let down fans who had already purchased their tickets. However, there was a silver lining: she could take a rain check and confirm that she would be the headlining act at the festival in 2018.
While the birth of her twins Sir and Rumi in June 2017 was a significant milestone in the singer’s life, she admitted that the experience had altered her body in ways that she was unaware of at the time. “I was a woman who felt as if my body did not belong to me,” she said in a video posted on YouTube.
As a performer, she felt the need to assert herself, as she revealed in her documentary Homecoming, in which she revealed that she weighed 218 pounds on the day she gave birth by c-section. ‘I had to rebuild my body from the cut muscles,’ she explained, adding that it was difficult to balance this with spending time with her newborn children.
In anticipation of Coachella in April 2018, she embarked on a strict nutrition regimen, which resulted in her reaching 175 pounds on Day One of rehearsals, stating that she still had a “long way to go” before performing. In the meantime, she followed Marco Borges’ 22 Days Nutrition Program for 44 days, which included avoiding carbs and sugar as well as dairy, meat, fish, and alcohol. As a result, she could fit into her desired costume by the end of the program.
She also embarked on a rigorous exercise regimen, as she explained in the video: “It’s time to get to work, so I have to get into that zone.” As if you’re in a different mental state. “It was much easier for me to lose the weight than it was to get back into shape and have my body feel comfortable again.”
After completing her physical transformation, the Houston-born actress turned her attention to the performance itself. And she didn’t want it to be just another showy performance; she wanted it to have a deeper meaning this time around.
When it came to attending an HBCU [Historically Black College/University], the singer had “always dreamed of going to an HBCU [Historically Black College/University],” as she stated in the film Homecoming. In addition, she had visited Prairie View A&M University and rehearsed at Texas Southern University. Furthermore, her father had attended Fisk University in Nashville, where she had always admired their Battle of the Bands marching band showcases. “I grew up seeing those shows, and it was always the highlight of my year,” Beyoncé shared her thoughts.
As a result, she set out to recreate the experience in its entirety, exactly as she remembered. Her explanation: “I chose each and every dancer, each and every lighting fixture, every material used on the steps, each and every height and shape of the pyramid.” “Each and every tiny detail had a purpose.”
She paid particular attention to the accuracy with which she depicted each element. “I wanted a Black orchestra…I wanted the steppers…I wanted everything.” The actress went on to explain that she wanted different characters because she didn’t want everyone doing the same thing. And even the number one hitmaker was impressed by their abilities. “The things that these young people are capable of doing with their bodies and the music that they are capable of playing… it’s simply not right.” Simply put, there’s an absurd amount of schwag.”
The show paid homage to Black culture and included a number of incredible performances.
When it came time for her performance, Beyoncé’s already iconic catalog of hits was reimagined through the lens of an African-American historically black college marching band halftime show. She was backed up by trumpets, trombones, and nearly 100 dancers, singers, and musicians who all played their own instruments on stage.
She incorporated vocal snippets from Malcolm X and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, as well as Nina Simone’s “Lilac Wine” and Pastor Troy’s “No Mo’ Play in G.A.” She also paid tribute to Pastor Troy’s “No Mo’ Play in G.A.” As well as singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which is commonly referred to as the Black national anthem, she had a number of other poignant moments.
She elevated her star status by bringing people from her personal life onto the stage who had played such an important role in her professional life. She paid it forward to her family members as a first step, with Jay-Z joining her on “Deja Vu” and Solange on “Get Me Bodied.”
A Destiny’s Child reunion featuring Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams — whom Beyoncé referred to as “my sisters” — was one of the night’s most memorable moments, as they surprised the already adoring crowd with a medley; of their songs, including “Lose My Breath.”
Many of those who worked on the performance, which was broadcast live to audiences worldwide and then repeated for Coachella’s second weekend, were taken aback by how large it turned out to be, including the performers themselves.
In an interview with The New York Times, one of the main choreographers, JaQuel Knight, said, “I don’t think any of us expected it to be this big of a thing.” “It’s still blowing my mind,” says the author. It was even possible for us to have a brief conversation with Bey while preparing for Week Two. ‘Wow,’ she exclaimed afterward. “Wasn’t it great how much people enjoyed the show?”
“I knew it was going to be an amazing show, but I didn’t realize how much of an impact it would have,” University of Maryland guitarist Ari O’Neal, who was also a part of the show, told NPR. Being [a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority of Black college-educated women] and being a member of the Black Student Union at my university, seeing those elements together made me extremely happy… Also, the fact that I received so much positive feedback made me feel fantastic.”
And Beyoncé herself was so moved by the experience that she decided to make a $100,000 donation to four historically black colleges and universities: Bethune-Cookman University, Tuskegee University, Wilberforce University, and Xavier University.
Although she has performed on some of the world’s most prestigious stages, she was conscious of the historic nature of her performance. She expressed her gratitude mid-performance, saying, “Thank you for allowing me to be the first Black woman to headline Coachella.”
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