By James Mercadante
Beyoncé has a tendency to break her quiet spells by dropping new material with hardly any warning, all the while consistently breaking the internet and shaking the Beyhive to its very core. Her impact can simply be summarized by the lyrics she sings in “‘Top Off ––” “F*** it up and then leave, come back, f*** it up and leave again.”
The new Netflix documentary, “Homecoming: A Film by Beyonce,” was released on April 17 at midnight to commemorate the one-year anniversary of her headlining Coachella performance.
The film reveals the world Beyoncé created on that stage, which also allowed audiences to stream their own personal Beyoncé concert in the comfort of their homes. It skillfully uncovers intimate narratives from the artist herself and detailed how her masterpiece was built.
“Homecoming” renders more than just a performance at Coachella, but an accolade of the black college experience, a celebration of femininity and a tribute to black writers and artists.
As the first black female artist to headline Coachella, Beyoncé felt “it was more important that I brought our culture” to the stage, “instead of me pulling out my flower crown.” And she fully succeeded in doing so, as she offers a visual and sonic engagement of African-American culture.
She talked about the issues surrounding Historically Black Colleges and Universities, through her stepping choreographies, orchestra, Nefertiti-inspired costumes and all-black crew.
“I wanted every person that has ever been dismissed because of the way they look,” Beyoncé narrated in the film, “to feel like they were on that stage— killin ’em’”
She utilizes her platform to present an array of representational images for her audience and paves a path for future generations of black artists.
In terms of the performance itself, Beyoncé proves herself to be a true leader in this film. She does not only capture everyone’s attention, but also operates as the heartbeat of the entire production. The documentary reveals the attentiveness in which she handles her craft, as she “selected each detail every light, the height and shape of the pyramid (stage), every patch was hand sewn.”
She pays close attention to detail and has a purpose behind every choice. Such attention to detail explains why she always has notes after each practice: she believes there is always room for improvement.
However, her performance is without a doubt perfect, with no improvements needed.
The precision and rigor in her choreography is remarkable. At times, the film cut the frame from her first performance to her second one and everyone on stage would be in the exact position, producing the same energy and passion.
The way she moves and controls her body holds an immense amount of power — one that can either make you feel paralyzed, as if your body is accepting the fact that it can never function in the way hers does, or make you feel like all you can do is dance like you’ve been trained your whole life to do so.
It’s almost scary how immaculate her dancing is, but it’s even more shocking how she is singing at the same time, never losing breath or messing up the key.
Her vocals are mesmerizing, as she is able to silence the crowd with her high falsettos and her sultry lower register. She also delivers intense energy when she raps, screams or growls.
Whether you like Beyoncé’s music or not, everything about her ability to perform live is what makes her one of the greatest entertainers of this generation.
This film represents Beyoncé’s true homecoming, which is her return to the place where she truly belongs –– the stage. And she came back, with a two-hour show that was emblematic of her 22-year career, in a flawless formation.