Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé is a documentary telling the story of a spectacular achievement in music and culture.
Beyoncé’s Homecoming concert at Cochella in 2018 was framed around the idea of a homecoming at a HBCU (historically black college or university) complete with drumlines, cheerleaders, majorettes, a big band, dancers, and backup singers. They were placed on pyramid shaped bleachers. This film is the story of that concert.
The concert itself featured about 2 hours of Beyoncé’s hits, performed with precision, passion, and stunning athleticism by everyone on the stage. Beyoncé and her performers did this amazing concert twice – two weekends in a row – and footage from both nights was mixed together. One night everyone wore yellow, the other everyone wore pink.
Mixed in with actual concert footage were shots of rehearsals. The team that put Beyoncé’s Homecoming vision together spent months of work beforehand. There were hundreds of hours of planning, rehearsal, and plain hard work from everyone.
Beyoncé has vision, depth, and a message. She knows how to package it and make it accessible.
We saw a bit of Beyoncé’s life stitched between the rest of it. Beyoncé talked about the difficult birth of her twins. She talked about the exercise and diet regimen it took to lose her baby weight. (Although, as much energy as it takes to dance the way she does, it’s hard to see why more exercise would be needed.) We saw little snatches of Blue Ivy, Jay Z, and the twins.
She talked about how her education was Destiny’s Child, how she didn’t go to college. Many of her singers, dancers, and musicians did go to historically black colleges. Education was a theme throughout the documentary. To add to that theme, many stirring voices and quotes from people like Maya Angelou, Malcolm X, Alice Walker, and Nina Simone were used as voiceovers during both the concert and the documentary.
Yes, Beyoncé invoked the voices and words of some iconic African American leaders. Beyoncé herself belongs among iconic African American leaders. With Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé and Lemonade before it, she’s reached a pinnacle of leadership few achieve. She has vision, depth, and a message. She knows how to package it and make it accessible.
Beyoncé was the first African-American female artist to headline Cochella. She took advantage of the moment to create something that will be mined and deconstructed for a long time. When Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé was released on Netflix, a Homecoming album was also released. It was an instant number one.
I’m not African American, nor do I know all the words to every Beyoncé song. But I do recognize a brilliant achievement when I see one. Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé is the documentation of a brilliant achievement.