Beyonce makes a statement as the first black woman to headline Coachella.
Plenty of wardrobe changes, thematic elements and surprise appearances is all everyone expected of Beyonce as she launched into her biggest performance since giving birth. Saturday evening, Bey was tasked with being the first black female headliner in the festival’s history, and she clearly took such an accomplishment to heart. Incorporating significant elements of the African-American experience, she debuted in a regal selection opening with a rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” effectively transitioning into her “Formation.”
A central theme of the performance was set on historically black colleges and universities. It was a clear allusion as her musical backing arrived courtesy of a full-fledged marching band and drumline that packed out an extensive set of bleachers onstage while her backup dancers all took on the roles of majorettes while select male dancers appeared to take part in a line of brothers in a fictional fraternity, affectionately deemed Bugaboos by Beyonce while she led them all through a series of steps and strolls.
Of course, no HBCU experience is quite complete without a good old-fashioned swag surf, and it was carried out onstage in a perfect sync that would make any one of the Fast Life Youngstaz proud. Other tributes included seamless incorporations of works from the likes of southern mainstays such as Juvenile, Pastor Troy, Master P, and Nina Simone among others.
Beyonce would change a total of four times, breezing solo through cuts like “Drunk In Love,” while cruising above the crowd in a floating apparatus, “Flawless,” “Feeling Myself,” and “Partition.” Naturally, Jay-Z showed face to lead his wife into the couple’s “Déjà Vu” collab before vacating the stage.
But the night’s most nostalgic and exciting turn arrived when Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams hopped onstage to unite Destiny’s Child once more as many had hoped when the three women emerged from beneath the stage in a signature Charlie’s Angels pose. They cut through hits like “Lose Your Breath,” “Say My Name,” and “I Need a Soldier” before making room for Solange to join her older sister onstage for a dance routine.
Other touches of perfection included the presence of a chorus of turf dancers, Beyonce’s favorite duo Les Twins, and DJ Khaled’s voice which boomed over speakers in the middle of the set, confirming that after this performance festival organizers would indeed have to change the name to Beychella. Agreed, Khaled, agreed.
Beyonce had the audacity to turn the whitest function of the year into an HBCU Homecoming. We dont call her Queen for no reason.
— B. Padilla (@Happich427) April 15, 2018
Destiny’s Child is back to remind you that none of the kids today even know what HARMONIES are. #Beycheclla
— Kevin Allred (@KevinAllred) April 15, 2018
she brought out destinys child AN HOUR AND A HALF INTO THE PERFORMANCE and SHE STILL HAS MORE
— Rodger Sherman (@rodger_sherman) April 15, 2018
What Beyoncé did by transitioning ‘Lift Every Voice & Sing’ into ‘Formation’ is remind the world that no matter how lit ‘Formation’ is & has always been its purpose is to empower Black women. The way things get appropriated around here, it was appreciated & necessary. #BeyChella pic.twitter.com/uPADaGxE2c
— ESSENCE (@Essence) April 15, 2018
Beyoncé bitch I simply don’t know what to say
— B (@BeyCollection) April 15, 2018