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As you probably know, I’ve been on a huge Beyoncé kick in 2016. Starting with the release of “Formation” and her Super Bowl performance and reaching a pinnacle with the Formation World Tour, which I attended LAST NIGHT with The Spaniard.
The Formation World Tour may not technically qualify as a Geektivity, but I fangirl hard over Queen Bey and that’s reason enough to share the experience with you, dear reader.
Although I haven’t had nearly enough sleep at the moment–the traffic in and out of Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego took us an hour both ways and definitely leaves something to be desired–seeing Queen Bey live is an experience I will never forget, so I guess I won’t complain about my 4 hours of sleep and early work morning. *yawn*
Here are my 3 impressions of the show.
The Bey Hive
Beyoncé is a masterful performer with skill and talent enough to rock a stadium of 5,000 people for an intense and powerful hour-plus of music and she kept the Spaniard and I and everyone around us on our feet the entire set. She has an authentic connection to her fans and seemed legitimately pleased by the response to certain songs, dance moves or moments in her performance. Honestly, her smile is like the sun, and when she grinned at her fans for singing along to lyrics or for cheering to a picture of her at 15 years old, it felt real and sweet. Also, her fans are so diverse–I saw queer couples as well as men and women of all ethnicities, including numerous black girls with natural hair and ethnic clothing. It was so wonderful to be at the mirror in the restroom next to 4 other women with hair that looked like mine–wild, frizzy, natural and free.
I liken watching Beyoncé’s April 2016 visual album “Lemonade” to the first time I read Their Eyes Were Watching God or The Bluest Eye. There is that breathtaking moment when a text takes root inside a reader and becomes not a far-off interpretation of self to be filtered through societal constraints of race or gender, age or nationality, but simply a reflection, a perfect image of her, the audience member, found on the pages of a book, the lines of a poem or, in this case, the haunting images paired with powerful lyrics and music. “Lemonade” is the story of life, death and family—it is both simple and complex, relying on a rebirth and redemption narrative common in black art; yet it illustrates the unique experience of black feminism in the 21st century, inviting black women to unite and stand together in order to succeed—to take our lemons and to make lemonade.
Beyoncé has had a pretty spectacular week.
Queen Bey released new music in the shape of the “Formation” video (which I’ve watch 433 times) on Saturday, February 6, the day before she was scheduled to do the Halftime Show at Superbowl 50 to a live audience of millions, during which she proceeded to turn middle America on their asses with performance that highlighted and *dare I say* celebrated racial issues. Along with her husband (Jay-Z. Heard of him?) and their music company Tidal, Beyoncé plans to donate $1.5 Million to the Black Lives Matters campaign, and on her upcoming tour, she’ll be taking donations from fans for Flint, Michigan, a small Black community suffering from a horrendous, and very preventable, water crisis. Also last week, Beyoncé posted on YouTube and her official website an eight minute documentary honoring the black men who sang backup for her at the Grammy’s when she performed Mahalia Jackson’s version of “Take My Hand, Precious Lord“. In the mini-doc, Beyoncé empowers these men; lifting up the black community and celebrating positivity, revealing an insider’s view of the struggles within while remaining accessible to those who don’t identify.
This is the power of a true artist and activist.
And yet, my FaceBook page blew up with friends and family asking *why oh why* did Beyoncé have to *ruin* the Superbowl by bringing *race* into it??
It’s almost 2015, which means the Croatoan virus did not take over the country, and that, my friend, is something to dance about.
This year, I was inspired not only by music, but by the spirit of the artists creating it.
Here are the 10 albums (plus a bonus) I listened to obsessively in 2014 and will continue to bump in 2015. This list includes feminists, a transexual, a gay icon and other progressive and socially conscious artists. If you haven’t heard of the band or the album, click the links, check out the videos and give ’em a listen. If you’re against revolution via music, move on now, because it’s about to be 2015 and the times, my friend, they are a-changing.
A special thanks to my honey!! for helping me compile this list, across the span of three days, picking up conversations as if no time had passed at all.
Listen to my Top Ten Spotify playlist here or watch my Top Ten video playlist here.
The Collectiva Diva
1) Beyonce Platinum Edition by Beyonce
I love me some Queen Bey and the self titled album Beyonce, released as a visual album December 2013 and reissued as a platinum edition November 2014, is her best yet. With musical appearances by Drake, Nicki Minaj, Jay-Z, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Frank Ocean and more, this eclectic powerhouse continues to surprise at every turn and has birthed more than a few feminists this year.