More than 200,000 people arrived in Indio, California on April 15 and April 21 for the 19th annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. This is one of the year’s biggest festivals for live music fans. Traditionally seen as the kick-off for the summer music festival season, the festival boasts a wide variety of headliners such as Eminem, The Weekend and Beyoncé.
This has been a big year for many artists, due to the release of a new album or fans looking forward to seeing them. This was especially a big deal for Beyoncé. In 2017, she had to postpone her set due to pregnancy. Fast-forward a year later and many months of rigorous eleven-hour rehearsals in preparation for Coachella, the world was ready or so they thought.
To start off her two-hour show, Queen Bey evoked black royalty, dressed in a custom Balmain gold-crusted cape and headdress. The thousands of people at Coachella, and the people at home watching via YouTube live stream, saw her set as a historically black college, HBCU, homecoming pep rally theme. For most of the night, the show was accompanied by a marching band, choir and dancers which, made this two-hour set visually pleasing for the audience. There were a lot of things going on onstage, from the wardrobe, the theme, the specials guests but more importantly, the fact that this show was strategically planned out.
Since Beyoncé had her hands involved in the music industry, there has always been a sense of awareness weather
that was from fans or her, personally. In 2016, she released her sixth studio album “Lemonade” and performed “Formation” at the Super Bowl. Time magazine marks that performance, along with many others, as one of the most controversial Super Bowl halftime performances. Coachella is not Beyoncé’s first performance that the world was captivated by.
At the very moving and meaningful performance at Coachella, the Queen demanded the attention from all crowds, not just the audience present at Coachella. She demanded the attention because of what she was executing, as the first black woman to headline Coachella in the festivals 19-year history.
Beyoncé took the opportunity to pay homage to black culture by having the marching band and dancers that bring a HBCU feel. The song “lift every voice and sing” which, is one of the most cherished songs of the African American Civil Rights Movement and is often referred to as the Black National Anthem. Not only did she highlight history, but Beyoncé celebrated the black experience and that resonated with a lot of people.
Throughout watching the show, you could feel the constant energy from the whole festival. You could also feel this energy on social media. You felt a sense of excitement and happiness from on social media, especially Twitter, from celebrities, fans of Beyoncé and people who were not fans.
According to the NPR,This performance was the most tweeted performance of Coachella ever, and broke a record of the most viewed performance of all time with 458 million views on YouTube. It broke the record of the most live streamed festival with an increase of 75 percent.
Everyone knows how the people at Coachella, celebrities and people at home watching and tweeting about the performance felt, but what about Cabrini students?
“It’s what everyone has been talking about. All my friends were gushing over it,” Isabel Millian, sophomore criminology major, said.
Millian watched Beyonce’s performance online with her friend.
“It shows that our culture is appreciated. I was happy to see black people unite to do great work. It has the power to inspire a lot of African-American students who want to go to an HBCU to experience that culture,” Millian said.
Xavier Taylor, junior communications major, said he was all for Beyonce performance.
“She embodies black excellence but to do that while at a majority all-white festival was historical in itself.” Taylor said.
Taylor watched the performance with his girlfriend, and, the whole time, thought how this moment shined a light on HBCUs.
“I really felt like I was at a football game. She didn’t make it all about her and she really paid homage to HBCUs due and I really appreciated that,” Taylor said.
“She turned this whole festival into an historical event. I’m not a big Beyoncé fan, but I just think for her to have done all that it just proves how powerful she really is. Coachella will never be the same. Good luck to the people that has to perform after that,” Cheyenne Burkeholder, junior graphic design major, said.
Despite the performance, it’s also important to shed some light on these HBCUs. Beyoncé had her BeyGOOD initiative, launch the “Homecoming Scholars Award Program” for the 2018-2019 academic year. The program provided four HBCUs; Xavier, Wilberforce, Tuskegee and Bethune-Cookman Universities. Each university receives a $25,000 scholarship, to award to a student of their choice.
Beyoncé’s tribute to black history and black culture has inspired mass reactions all across the internet. Whether or not you are in the Beyhive, there was still an acknowledgement that she embodied a great show while celebrating Black women and Black culture that everyone needed to see. But if you missed Beyoncé at Coachella it’s not to late to catch her and Jay-Z’s joint tour, “On The Run 2,” this summer.