1. Coachella Marked Beyoncé’s First Performance After Giving Birth To Her Twins
Beyoncé was actually due to perform at Coachella in 2017 but fell pregnant with twins Rumi and Sir unexpectedly. In the doc she details the difficult parts of her pregnancy, in which she suffered from high blood pressure and developed toxaemia/preeclampsia (a symptom of hypertension which causes severe swelling in the face and hands). One of the babies’ heartbeats paused a few times whilst in the womb, leading the singer to undergo an emergency C-section. This made the rehearsals for Coachella far more gruelling than normal. “My body went through more than I knew it could. I was 218 pounds the day I gave birth… There were days when I thought I’d never be the same. I had to rebuild my body from cut muscles. It took me a while to feel confident enough to freak it and give [the choreography] my own personality.” In the months leading up to Coachella, Beyoncé would breastfeed her babies in between rehearsals – now that’s dedication.
2. Her Diet Was Ridiculously Restricted
In an effort to get her body back to the way it was, Beyoncé went on a restricted diet for her performance that would make even the most arduous of dieters’ weep. “In order for me to meet my goal, I’m limiting myself to no bread, no carbs, no sugar, no dairy, no meat, no fish, no alcohol,” she tells us in between images of her at the gym and rehearsing. In addition to her dancing and gyming, she also attended Soul Cycle. “I’m hungry,” she says, which might be the biggest understatement ever. We hope she got to devour a big steak post-show.
3. She Had Creative Control Over Every Single Detail
"I personally selected each dancer, every light, the material on the steps," Beyoncé says. "The height of the pyramid, the shape of the pyramid. Every patch [for the outfits] was hand sewn. Every tiny detail had intention… How do we look united, but how do we have these different characters that stand out?" She explains. With over 200 people filling the stage, it took Queen Bey and her team months to script the show, rotating between three sound stages – categorised by band, dancing and creative – and after every run-through would give notes on what needed to improve. There’s even a point where she’s having a team meeting after a run-through before her and Jay Z run off to celebrate their anniversary.
4. If She Went To University, Beyoncé Would Have Attended A HBCU
The show is titled Homecoming an homage to black university culture. “I wanted a black orchestra, I wanted steppers and vocalists,” she says. “It was important for me that everyone that had never seen themselves represented felt like they were on that stage with us. I wanted us to not only be proud of the show, but the process. Proud of the struggle. Thankful for the beauty that comes with a painful history and rejoice in the pain...We were able to create a free safe space where none of us were marginalized." As such, Beyoncé reveals that if she hadn’t been with Destiny’s Child, she “always dreamed of going to an HBCU” [historically black college or university]. She wanted the performance to feel like Battle of the Bands, the annual marching band exhibition from HBCUs that she grew up watching. Her rendition of Lift Every Voice and Sing is actually known as the black national anthem and is often sung by HBCUs.
5. Blue Ivy Is Following In Her Mother’s Footsteps
If you have any concerns that Blue Ivy wouldn’t be a chip of the old block, fear not – she’s most certainly going to follow in her ma’s footsteps. In the rehearsal footage we see, Blue Ivy gets involved in the dancing, spinning her head in time with the other dancers and having a little booty shake on the stage in between practices. There’s even a snippet of her singing Lift Every Voice and Sing as Beyoncé whispers the lyrics to her, and at the end she even asks to do it again. So, it’s basically official – there’s someone to carry on the Beyoncé legacy.
6. She’s Not Afraid To Tell People What’s What
Queen Bey often sings about being the boss, but has she got the guts to be this big boss in real life? You better believe it. Some of the film’s best scenes include her nicely but firmly telling her whole team that they’re not properly grasping the concept of her specific vision for this show. With over 200 people under her, she had some pretty unconventional ideas about how the show was to come together as both a show and a subsequent film. “Until I see some of my notes applied, it doesn’t make sense for me to make more,” she says. “We gotta make progress faster because we’re running out of time.” But as we see from the final product, all that fine tuning paid off.
7. Getting Coachella-Ready Took Just Eight Months
For such a huge show with so many moving parts, it’s a miracle it only took eight months to put together – four months with the band and then four months with the dancers. Every day was filled with rehearsals, which Beyoncé said she found particularly hard when all she wanted to do was “be with my children.”
8. Olivier Rousteing Played A Huge Part In The Costume Designing Process
Every wondered who made all those fabulous clothes? It was long-time Beyoncé collaborator and Balmain’s creative director, Olivier Rousteing. ‘Yonce’ said that every outfit must serve a purpose, and Rousteing was just the guy to help bring that vision to life.
9. There’s A New Album To Coincide With The Film
Beyoncé fans rejoice! There is a Homecoming album to go alongside the documentary. It’s a live album featuring all the songs played at Coachella, plus two new songs – the studio version of I Been On and a brand spanking new song called Before I Let Go, which you need to get on repeat – listen on Spotify right now.
Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé is available to stream on Netflix now.