Review | Beyonce’s ‘Homecoming’ brings HBCU culture to the public

Beyonce’s Netflix documentary “Homecoming,” released April 17, came with a surprise 40-track live album, featuring the songs from her iconic 2018 Coachella performance. IMDb

Beyonce, you’ve done it again. And you didn’t even have to try that hard. All you did was take your 2018 Coachella performance and redesign it into something fresh.

The 2016 “Lemonade” era was a culmination of Beyonce’s personal life when her now-platinum album released. But “Homecoming,” released April 17, is the manifestation of everything that has led up to this point. We’re witnessing an artist step into a realm where she is practically untouchable.

Beyonce’s success is not just due to fan base hype. The 37-year-old has built herself up since “Destiny’s Child” formed in 1997. Something that sets Beyonce’s projects apart from other artists’ work is the element of surprise. She’s been dropping unannounced albums since her self-titled album “Beyonce,” which was released almost six years ago.

Another one of Bey’s greatest talents as an artist is popularizing the concept of a visual album. After the 2013 release of her self-titled album, you think we would’ve seen this one coming. After minimal advertising from Netflix, Beyonce’s documentary “Homecoming” was released April 17.

But no one was expecting her 2018 Coachella performances to be transformed into a 40-track live album, which is available for purchase and streaming on Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play and Amazon – unlike “Lemonade,” which is only available on Tidal (at least until April 23).

Even when she recycles previous performances, Beyonce knows how to revamp something that could be considered old news and turn it into an entirely new experience.

“Beychella,” as it was deemed by DJ Khaled, showcased black culture in a way that made it accessible to those who have never been exposed to it.

Although Beyonce didn’t attend college after graduating from Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, Texas, she and her production team delivered that experience to the crowds at Coachella in 2018. She brought the greatest exhibition of black talent I’ve ever seen – musicians, step routines, baton twirlers and more to bring the spirit of a historically black college to some who may not even know this culture exists.

Using a live band completely changed the way Beyonce’s songs were performed. It brings back a nostalgia for cheering along at football games in high school. It brings that same pride to black culture. Singing the black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” to a crowd of thousands who probably don’t recognize it embodies what she can bring to the pop industry.

By releasing her content around the same time as the iconic musical festival, it seemed like 2019 Coachella faded into the background. Ariana Grande who? Kanye West where? Overnight, performance from the exclusive 2018 festival became accessible anytime and anywhere, because now we’re able to experience those front-row seats from the comfort of our own homes.

Listening to her powerful vocals shows how the performer’s music has completely defied the typical definition of pop. “Mi Gente” is Latin music. “Feeling Myself” is a rap song. “Top Off” is clearly trap.

The vocal and artistic range Beyonce has is expansive, and yet, she’s able to appeal to enough listeners to stay mainstream and accessible. Every album she produces sounds and feels different. I feel blessed to be born at a time where I’m able to experience this, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.