By Ellen McGirt
April 17, 2019

If the Beyhive members on your staff are sleepy today, let them be. They’re in a blessed place.

Early Wednesday morning, Netflix began streaming “Homecoming,” a 137-minute documentary that revisits Beyoncé’s headlining set at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2018.

It was worth getting up early for.

On one hand, it’s a master class in execution.

We see the artist at her most focused. The music alone took four months to master, the choreography another four months. “I personally selected each dancer, every light, the material on the steps, the height of the pyramid, the shape of the pyramid,” she says. “Every tiny detail had an intention.”

Fans of the show know she did an exceptional job weaving in elements of global black culture, with a specific emphasis on the unique graces of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In the film, we see who the black orchestra, the steppers, the singers, became part of the broader story she hoped to tell. “I always dreamed of going to an HBCU,” she says reminiscing of the imprint HBCUs had on her young psyche.

It was also a master class in sharing space. “I wanted different characters. I didn’t want us all doing the same thing,” she says. “I wanted every person that has ever been dismissed because of the way they looked to feel that they were on that stage, killing it.”

In an intimate section, Beyoncé reveals that she’s also a working mother, struggling to keep it together.

In the film, she says that while pregnant with twins Sir Carter and Rumi in 2017, she’d had an emergency C-section after their heartbeats “paused a few times.” During the run-up to Coachella, Beyoncé began a disciplined regimen, giving up meat, alcohol, bread, and dairy. She talked about being hungry.

“In the beginning, it was so many muscle spasms. Just, internally, my body was not connected,” she says. “My mind was not there. My mind wanted to be with my children. What people don’t see is the sacrifice. I would dance, and go off to the trailer, and breast-feed the babies, and the days I could, I would bring the children.”

It’s a reminder that the brightest of lights come with the hardest of work.

Marketing is hard work, too. Beyoncé one-upped herself with the surprise announcement of an accompanying album which features over an hour and a half’s worth her Coachella performance, along with some fresh tracks. It also features her cover of the black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” (You’ll hear daughter Blue’s take on the same song, too.) And although the album was a surprise, it’s not an exclusive release . Unlike her 2016 album Lemonade, Homecoming: the Live Album is available on all streaming sites.

Go forth, Beyhive. It’s your time.

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