Beyoncé has given us the epitome of a renaissance. On the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic, live performance just hadn’t been the same—until Queen Bey herself revived concert culture with her Renaissance World Tour. Announced earlier this year, the tour started on May 10 in Stockholm, Sweden, and ended October 1 in Kansas City, Missouri. The show swiftly became the highest grossing tour by a woman in history, according to Billboard Boxscore.
In August, the “Break My Soul” singer earned $179.3 million, out earning two of the latest and highest grossing earners, Bad Bunny and Harry Styles. Billboard reported that “the Renaissance World Tour is the highest-grossing tour of all time by an R&B artist, replacing her own Formation World Tour from 2016. Now, at $461.3 million, it passes Madonna’s Sticky & Sweet Tour (2008-09) to become the highest-grossing tour by a woman in the Boxscore archives.”
Beyoncé announced Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé
And while the $579-million-grossing tour has come to its end; the Bey Hive still has time to relish in the essence and glory of Bey’s renaissance as she has announced the release of Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé. Set to hit theaters December 1, the film “accentuates the journey of RENAISSANCE WORLD TOUR from its inception to the opening show in Stockholm, Sweden, to the grand finale in Kansas City, Missouri,” AMC said in a statement. “It is about Beyoncé’s intention, hard work, involvement in every aspect of the production, her creative mind and purpose to create her legacy and master her craft.”
Posting the trailer to her Instagram with the caption “Be careful what you ask for, cause I just might comply,” Bey quotes herself from “All Up in Your Mind” (track 13 from Renaissance). The trailer shows behind-the-scenes footage from various shows and rehearsals and Beyoncé with her children.
Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé comes after Homecoming, her 2019 release that followed the rehearsals leading up to her legendary headlining performance at Coachella in 2018. The partnership with Netflix earned two Emmy nominations for ‘Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special’ and ‘Outstanding Variety Special.’ It won a Grammy for Best Music Film and an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Variety-Series or Special.
What is it about Queen Bey’s Renaissance that is so different from her previous tours and bodies of work? Aside from Beyoncé being the best performer of this decade, her perfectly crafted, no-skip album commands the attention of any room it’s played in. The seamless transition between songs invites you into an hour-long immersive experience. If you didn’t get that experience live in concert, then watching the film in theaters is truly the next best thing.
This project and tour offered fans a “celebration of freedom and a complete immersion into house and dance that [served] as the perfect sound bed for themes of liberation, release, self-assuredness, and unfiltered confidence,” as listed in Renaissance’s album notes on Apple Music. Her ode to the Black and Brown queer community is undeniable and part of what made her tour and album so special. She openly celebrated pillars of the Queer community, from sampling Big Freedia on the lead single “Break My Soul” to incorporating drag performances in every show. She published a letter on her website dedicating the project to her late
– Uncle Johnny. “A big thank you to my Uncle Jonny,” the letter reads, “He was my godmother and the first person to expose me to a lot of the music and culture that serve as inspiration for this album. Thank you to all of the pioneers who originate culture, to all of the fallen angels whose contributions have gone unrecognized for far too long. This is a celebration for you.”
During a time when members of the LGBTQ+ community have been targeted and disregarded, this project serves as a revolution and that’s what sets it apart from everything else Beyoncé has done. Renaissance, the tour and the album, are an unapologetic celebration of Blackness. With the release of this film, we can all hope to be immersed in the revolution even more.
Beyoncé the brand and cultural icon
Throughout Bey’s Renaissance Tour run, we all saw the discourse about how this show was a must-see. From states competing with one another for the mute challenge, people flying state to state to see multiple shows, and/or folks even debating using their designated bill money to purchase nosebleed tickets just to be in the room. All of this has further reinforced that Bey is a true talent still at the top of her game, and there isn’t really anyone else on her level at this time.
But why? What is it about the Houston-native that has people willing to risk an eviction notice just to see her perform?
Singing since she was eight years old, Beyoncé was a founding member of the all-girl group called Girl’s Tyme. They performed in a plethora of talent shows throughout Houston before making the leap to perform on Star Search. Although they did not win, Beyoncé’s father believed in the idea of the group and resigned from his job to focus solely on being their manager. In 1996, he cut the original line up down to four, and Destiny’s Child was born.
The group was not shy about drama. With LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson leaving and being replaced with Farrah Franklin and Michelle Williams, and then with Farrah also leaving, Destiny’s Child went from foursome to trio until October 2001. In 2004, the group announced they would be taking a hiatus to pursue solo careers and released their final project, Destiny Fulfilled.
Beyoncé has had an exceptionally successful solo career from Dangerously in Love to Renaissance. In 2002, she partnered with Jay-Z for her first solo-recording “‘03 Bonnie & Clyde.” Since then, Bey has shown the world that she is so much more than just a singer—she’s a brand, and since her inception she’s carefully crafted the brand.
Her work ethic
In the 2019 Netflix release of Homecoming, Beyoncé revealed in detail how hard she pushes herself to prepare for performances to be the best version of herself for her shows. In the film she says, “In order for me to meet my goals, I’m limiting myself to no bread, no carbs, no sugar, no dairy, no meat, no fish, no alcohol.”
Being a Virgo, it’s clear Beyoncé is a perfectionist and it’s shown throughout all of the art she puts out. (I dare you to find someone who’s gone to a Beyoncé show and said it wasn’t good—I bet you couldn’t.)
Even those close to her have been open about how her work ethic is truly like no other. LeToya Luckett appeared on Tank’s R&B Money Podcast where she reminisced about being amazed by Bey’s hunger. “I’ll never forget,” Luckett said, “we’re at an indoor gym situation having our fun like kids are supposed to, and she sat out in the hot-a** car and was writing to a track. And I remember going, ‘Where B at?’ And they said, ‘Oh, she’s in the car.’ And I went and sat in the passenger seat and she just wrote this record. And I was like, ‘We be out here trying to have fun and this girl, she’s on it. She lives this. Like she wants this bad. It is no surprise to me that she is the icon that she is…her work ethic… I ain’t as monstrous, I’ve never seen anything like it.”
She’s a girl’s girl
As if “Run the World (Girls)” didn’t make it obvious, in this past year Bey’s lifted up both Megan Thee Stallion and Lizzo at the peak of their individual scandals.
She’s doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable conversations
Whether it’s the charged, political undertones in “Formation” or Renaissance serving as an ode to members of the LGBTQ+ community, she’s unapologetic in her stance.
She knows how to keep her business and personal life separate
When you think about it, we really only know what Beyoncé allows us to know. This works perfectly for her brand, prohibiting people from having too many opinions of her outside of her artistry. For example, early on in her career, people didn’t know she and Jay-Z were dating for the longest time—not until she was ready for the world to know.
Her philanthropic efforts
One of Beyoncé’s most recent efforts, announced back in June, has been partnering with cousin and former bandmate, Kelly Rowland, to aid in reducing homelessness in Houston. The two are collaborating to build 31 housing units.
“We just did the homeless count again,” said Judge Linda Hidalgo of Harris County during a press conference, “so it’s initiatives like this one—I certainly will be supportive of it no matter who’s behind it, but it’s especially interesting, I think, because there are these names of Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland, who, of course, have been supportive of the community for a very long time.”
There are a variety of elements that make Beyoncé the powerhouse that she is, and there are many lessons to take from her notebook. But I think the most important is that when you find your passion—that thing you’re just naturally good at—put your all into it, and don’t forget to lift others up when you have the chance.