Grammy-winning singer Beyonce Knowles says she pushed herself hard to "go beyond great to legendary" to make Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé. The film, which presents an intimate look at her historic 2018 Coachella performance that paid homage to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the US, has been released by Netflix.
Interspersed with candid footage and interviews detailing the preparation and the intent behind her vision, Homecoming gives a peek into the process and emotional and physical sacrifices it took to conceptualise and execute a performance of that magnitude that became a cultural movement.
In juggling dual roles as both the director of her live performance and the film that captured the process of making it, Beyonce said, "It was one of the hardest jobs I have taken on but I knew that I had to push myself and my team to go beyond great to legendary."
"We knew nothing like this was ever done on a festival level before and it needed to be iconic beyond compare. The performance was a homage to an important part of African-American culture. It had to be true to those who know and entertaining and enlightening to those who needed to learn. In making the film and re-telling the story, the purpose remained the same," she added.
As the first black woman to headline Coachella, the film recognises the African-American visionaries who inspired Beyonce, whose personal knowledge of the relevance and celebration of HBCUs started with her father, Mathew Knowles, an alumnus of Fisk University.
Shot over eight months, the film follows the global entertainer as she returns to the stage after the birth of her twins, highlighting the comprehensive preparation involved in creating her performance, which included four months of band rehearsals followed by four months of dance rehearsals with over 150 musicians, dancers, and other creatives - all of whom were hand-picked by the artiste herself.
Many in the cast - band, singers, dancers and steppers - are former HBCU students, immersed in the HBCU marching band tradition. Viewers also hear their personal journey from HBCU students to artistes and the lifelong impact that comes with performing alongside Beyonce in this historic concert.
"So many people who are culturally aware and intellectually sound are graduates from historically black colleges and universities, including my father. There is something incredibly important about the HBCU experience that must be celebrated and protected," Beyonce said in the film.
The film also includes, in the end credits, her remake of Before I let go by Frankie Beverly and Maze. The single will be available on the film's soundtrack Homecoming: The Live Album.
Along with Beyonce, the film is directed by Ed Burke. Steve Pamon and Erinn Williams are executive producers of the project.
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