Posts tagged with "African diaspora"

Cardi B Illustration for 360 Mag

21 in 21

21 Afro-Latinxs to celebrate in 2021 and beyond! 

By: Javier Pedroza

It’s Black History Month, which gives the planet time to reflect on how African American achievements have contributed to US history and how African achievements have contributed to the world. Although, don’t forget it is important to highlight and celebrate Black accomplishments year around. Due to the current global climate, it’s important to become more knowledgeable and celebrate the Afro-Latinx population for its contributions to US history and the world.

After 2020, it is an especially important time to embolden the community to take part in the celebration of Black culture. This year, the Black History Month theme is “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity” which explores the African diaspora and their contributions.

To really understand the African diaspora it is essential to acknowledge that there were more African slaves to Latin America than to the United States. “There were 11.2 million Africans who came to the New World in the slave trade and of that 11.2 million, only 450,000 came to the United States,” Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. said in a discussion about his PBS documentary series Black In Latin America. He added, “The real black experience, in terms of numbers, is all throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.”

Today, Latinx should understand their roots, which have an undoubtedly long history of African heritage. Hispanics & Latinx identities are beautifully complex, multifaceted and multidimensional. A Pew Research Center survey of Latinx, adults shows that one-quarter of all U.S. Latinx self-identify as Afro-Latinx, Afro-Caribbean, or of African descent with roots in Latin America. This is the first time a nationally representative survey in the U.S. has asked the Latinx population directly whether they considered themselves Afro-Latinx.

Many Latinos identify with their ancestral countries of origin – Puerto Rico, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Cuba, Peru, the Dominican Republic, etc. Others may also identify with their Indigenous roots and all of these experiences made contributions to Black History. A goal to have moving forward is to celebrate global Black History and continue to recognize the contributions African-Americans have made to the world, including achievements made by Afro-Latinxs & Afro-Indigenous people. It’s imperative for Latinxs to acknowledge their African & Indigenous heritage given that history and cultures are inextricably linked to slave trade in the Americas, genocide and the African Diaspora. 

Here’s a growing list of amazing Afro-Latino (a,x) heroes and their contributions. 

1. Arturo Alfonso Schomburg

(January 24, 1874 – June 10, 1938)

Place of birth: Santurce, Puerto Rico 

Contributions: Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, born to a Black mother and father of German descent, was a historian. Mr. Schomburg is considered to be one of the Fathers of Black History & a key figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Schomburg’s lifework consisted of research and preservation—work that would lead him to become one of the world’s premier collectors of Black literature, slave narratives, artwork, and diasporic materials. 

2. Dr. Marta Moreno-Vega 

(January 3, 1942)

Place of birth: East Harlem, New York

Contributions: Dr. Marta Moreno-Vega is an Afro-Boricua who established the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI). Dr. Moreno Vega has been an advocate for cultural equity, cultural studies and education. As the second director of El Museo del Barrio, one of the founders of the Association of Hispanic Arts, Network of Centers of Color and the Roundtable of Institutions of Color, Dr. Moreno Vega has contributed to assuring that the contributions of African and African descendants are integral to the lives of civil society in the Americas. 

3. Celia Cruz 

(October 21, 1925 – July 16, 2003)

Place of birth: Havana, Cuba

Contributions: Celia Cruz was a singer & recording artist born and raised in Havana, Cuba. She was one of the most iconic artists of the 20th century. Her many honors included three Grammy Awards and four Latin Grammys for recordings such as Ritmo en el corazón (1988; with Ray Barretto) and Siempre viviré (2000).

4. Dr. José Celso Barbosa 

(July 27, 1857 – September 21, 1921)

Place of birth: Bayamón, Puerto Rico 

Contributions: Dr. José Celso Barbosa was a Physician, Sociologist and Politician.  Known as the father of the Statehood for Puerto Rico movement, Barbosa was the first Puerto Rican, and one of the first persons of African descent to earn a medical degree in the United States.

5. Ruth Fernández (Ruth Noemi Fernández Cortada) 

(May 23, 1919 – January 9, 2012)

Place of birth: Ponce, Puerto Rico

Contributions: Ruth Fernández, “El Alma de Puerto Rico Hecha Canción” (“The Soul of Puerto Rico Turned Song”) was a Puerto Rican contralto, actress, and a member of the Puerto Rican Senate. She was the first and only singer ever elected to the Senate of Puerto Rico. She was considered by many to be the Rosa Parks of Puerto Rico when she refused to enter the Vanderbilt Hotel in San Juan through its back entrance because she was a woman of color. The owners of the hotel stated that blacks had to enter through the rear of the building, but during one evening where she was set to perform at the hotel’s ballroom, she marched into the hotel via its front entrance. After this event, the hotel changed its policy.

6. Cardi B (Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar)

(October 11, 1992)

Place of birth: Manhattan, New York

Contributions: Afro-Latina Cardi B is a Dominican & Trinidadian rapper, songwriter, and actress raised in the Bronx, New York. Recognized by Forbes as one of the most influential female rappers of all time, Cardi B is known for her aggressive flow and candid lyrics, which have received widespread media coverage. She is the highest certified female rapper of all time on the RIAA’s Top Artists (Digital Singles) ranking, also appearing among the ten highest-certified female artists and having the two top-certified songs by a female rap artist.

She is the only female rapper with multiple billion-streams on Spotify and became the first artist to top the inaugural Billboard Global 200. Her accolades include a Grammy Award, eight Billboard Music Awards, five Guinness World Records, five American Music Awards, eleven BET Hip Hop Awards and two ASCAP Songwriter of the Year awards. In 2018 Time magazine included her on their annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, and in 2020, Billboard honored her as Woman of the Year. 

7. Rosa Alicia Clemente 

(April 18, 1972)

Place of birth: Bronx, New York

Contributions: Afro-Boricua Rosa Alicia Clemente is the 2008 United States Vice-Presidential Candidate, Producer, Journalist, Political Commentator & Scholar-Activist. Rosa is a graduate of the University of Albany and Cornell University. She is currently a doctoral student in the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies of University of Massachusetts Amherst. 

8. Congressman Ritchie John Torres 

(March 12, 1988)

Place of birth: Bronx, New York

Contributions: Ritchie Torres is an Afro-Boricua politician who is a member of the Democratic party. He is the US representative for New York’s 15th congressional district. Torres was the first openly gay candidate to be elected to legislative office in the Bronx, and the youngest member of the city council. Torres won the November 2020 general election and assumed office on January 3, 2021. This makes him one of the first openly gay Black men elected to Congress (along with Mondaire Jones). This also made Torres the first openly gay Afro Latino elected to Congress. As such, he is one of the nine co-chairs of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus in the 117th United States Congress. 

9. Zoe Saldana (Zoë Yadira Saldaña Nazario) *Trending Now

(June 19, 1978)

Place of birth: Passaic, New Jersey

Contributions: Zoe Saldaña is of mixed ethnic heritage, with her mother being of Puerto Rican descent and her father hailing from the Dominican Republic. Zoe is the only performer to get star billing in more than one movie that grossed over $2 billion worldwide with Avatar and Avengers: Infinity War. 

10. Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos 

(September 12, 1891 – April 21, 1965)

Place of birth: Ponce, Puerto Rico 

Contributions: Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos was a Puerto Rican attorney, social activist, nationalist and the son of a mixed-race mother who was the daughter of slaves and a Basque father from a farming and landowning family. The latter not only provided no financial support but also did not legally recognize his son until he was 19, and Albizu Campos grew up in poverty. In 1912 he was awarded a scholarship to study chemistry and engineering at the University of Vermont. He transferred a year later to Harvard University, majoring in chemistry and literature and becoming the first Puerto Rican Harvard graduate. Many people in Puerto Rico consider Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos the father of the Puerto Rican Independence Movement. 

11. Carmelo Kyam Anthony

(May 29, 1984)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York

Contributions: Carmelo Anthony is an Afro-Latino professional basketball player. He has been named an NBA All-Star ten times and an All-NBA Team member six-time Anthony also played in the 2016 Olympic Games, his fourth straight stint in the Olympics, which was a record for a US male basketball player, breaking the old record of having played in three Olympiads he shared with James and Robinson. He has celebrated his roots by giving back to Puerto Rico, remodeling basketball courts in a poor neighborhood 3 years in a row now. 

12. La La Anthony (Alani Nicole Vázquez) 

(June 25, 1981)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York

Contributions: La La Anthony is an Afro-Puerto Rican actress, host, producer and New York Times best-selling author. La La Anthony has supported charities such as the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Gabrielle’s, Angel Foundation, GLAAD and Voto Latino. 

13. Rosie Perez (Rosa María Perez) 

(September 6, 1964)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York

Contributions: Rosie Perez is an Afro-Latina actress, choreographer and community activist. Rosie was appointed to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS by President Barack Obama in 2010. Among many honors, Rosie was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Fearless as well as three Emmy Awards for her work as a choreographer on In Living Color (1990–1994).

Perez has also performed in stage plays on Broadway, such as The Ritz, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, and Fish in the Dark. In addition, she was a co-host on the ABC talk show The View during the series’ 18th season. 

14. MJ Rodriguez (Michaela Antonia Jaé Rodriguez) 

(January 7, 1991)

Place of birth: Newark, New Jersey

Contributions: MJ Rodriguez is an African American and Puerto Rican actress who is among the largest cast of transgender actresses on the show Pose. MJ made history by becoming the first Trans woman to ever sign a beauty deal with Olay Body. MJ was awarded the Hispanic Heritage Special Trailblazer Award at the 31st Hispanic Heritage Awards in Washington D.C. 

15. Ramon E. Contreras 

(22-years-old)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York

Contributions: Ramon Contreras is a young political activist, advisor and filmmaker who is changing the nature of civic engagement by championing and encouraging minorities to participate in politics. Ramon is a fierce gun control enthusiast and founded YouthOverGuns, a platform advocating for change in underserved communities of color. He led a protest of thousands across the Brooklyn Bridge and is the National Strategist for the nation-wide organization, March for Our Lives. 

16. Laith Ashley De La Cruz 

(July 6, 1989)

Place of birth: Harlem, New York

Contributions:  Laith Ashley is a model, actor, singer-songwriter and entertainer of Dominican descent. He was the first transgender man to be featured in a Diesel campaign. Laith has been on the cover of countless magazines and has had featured stories published on countless others all around the world; ie, British GQ.

Laith was on the cast of the reality TV series, “Strut,” executive produced by Whoopi Goldberg, and raised the heart rates of viewers in his appearance on hit series, “Pose,” on FX. Ashley is also an activist, particularly in transgender issues. He worked with FLUX, a division of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which is dedicated to raising awareness and providing support to trans and gender-nonconforming people. 

17. Dianne Morales 

(June 21, 1967)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York 

Contributions: Double Ivy League graduate Dianne Morales is an Afro-Boricua with degrees from Harvard University and Columbia University. Dianne is the former CEO of several multi-million dollar social service nonprofits and is also the first Latina / Afro-Latina candidate for New York City Mayor. 

18. Johnny Pacheco 

(March 25, 1935 – February 15, 2021)

Place of birth: Santiago De Los Caballeros, Dominican Republic

Contributions: Johnny Pacheco was one of the most influential artists of Latin music. He was one of the creators of The Fania All-Stars and Fania Record (#latinmotown), the most successful record label in the history of Latin music. 

19. Aida Rodriguez (Aida Margarita Parada Rodriguez) 

(August 29, 1977)

Place of birth: Boston, Massachusetts

Contributions: Aida Rodriguez is a comedian, host, producer, actress and the first Latina / Afro-Latina (Puerto Rican & Dominican) to appear in two comedy specials airing in one month on both HBO and Showtime. Aida’s latest comedy special premiered on Netflix as part of the “They Ready” series hosted by Tiffany Haddish. Rodriguez has also appeared on Comedy Central’s This Week at the Comedy Cellar, The Nightly Show, five-time host of the PBS Imagen Awards, NBC Last Comic Standing’s finals, TRUtv’s Laff Tracks and is also a regular contributor for The Young Turks. 

20. Indya Moore 

(January 17, 1995)

Place of birth: Bronx, New York

Contributions: Indya Moore is of Haitian, Puerto Rican, and Dominican ancestry. They are an actor among the largest cast of transgender on the show Pose. Moore does not identify as a Latinx, and instead identifies as Afro-Taíno. In June 2020, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the first LGBTQ Pride parade, Queerty named them among the fifty heroes “leading the nation toward equality, acceptance, and dignity for all people.” 

21. Gina Torres 

(April 25th, 1969)

Place of birth: Manhattan, New York 

Contributions: Gina Torres is an actress and the first Afro-Latina to create, produce and star in her own show, ‘Pearson’. Torres won the ALMA Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Syndicated Drama Series for her role in Cleopatra 2525. Gina also received the Best Supporting Actress award by The Imagen Foundation (Spanish for “image”) Awards, the only premier Latino entertainment awards program dedicated to honoring the positive portrayal and creative excellence of Latinos and Latino cultures on screen. 

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The Roots, Naomi Campbell, 360 MAGAZINE

THE ROOTS × AFRICA DAY

THE ROOTS’ TWO ONE FIVE PRODUCTIONS & THE BRIDGE CELEBRATE AFRICA DAY BY PRODUCING 24 HOUR LIVESTREAM DJ PARTY FEATURING QUESTLOVE BEING KICKED OFF WITH AN INTRODUCTION FROM SUPERMODEL, ACTIVIST & PHILANTHROPIST NAOMI CAMPBELL: #THEROOTSAFRICADAY

EVENT SET TO LAUNCH AT 12AM EDT MONDAY, MAY 25TH

The Roots’ production company, Two One Five Entertainment, and The Bridge, which is executive produced by Tina Farrisand Suede, announce the upcoming #TheRootsAfricaDay celebration, a 24hour live-streamed event celebrating Africa and her Diaspora. The event will feature a DJ set by Questlove, DJ Zinhle, DJ Edu and performances by Seun Kuti, Mereba, Mafikizolo and more and be kicked off with an introduction from supermodel, activist and philanthropist Naomi Campbell, one of the most prolific and influential profiles of contemporary culture today. #TheRootsAfricaDay will launch at Midnight (12:00 AM EDT) on Monday, May 25th and can be viewed HERE on The Roots YouTube Channel.

“Doin’ My Drugs” x Film Premiere

Landmark Doin’ My Drugs Documentary Commemorates “Zero Discrimination Day”

With Swiss Premiere Screening as Initiative of UN Information Service

Danish Pop Star Screens his Documentary 1 March 2020, Following Film’s
2019 World AIDS Day Screening in China and CPH:DOX* World Premiere

WHO: Film subject, recording artist and AIDS activist Thomas Muchimba Buttenschøn; Doin’ My Drugs Documentary director Tyler Q Rosen; Kevin Osborne, Executive Director, the International AIDS Society; Charlotte Sector, Multimedia Communications Manager, United Nations (ONU) UNAIDS

WHAT: Swiss Premiere Screening of Doin’ My Drugs film in Geneva followed by discussion: HIV: 40 years Later, Discrimination Still Kills, with panelists Buttenschøn, Rosen, and Osborne; Charlotte Sector, moderator.

WHEN: Doin’ My Drugs Screening: 1 March 2020, 11:00h

WHERE: Cinéma CINÉRAMA EMPIRE, Rue de Carouge 72-74 Geneva. Phone: +86.10.5798.9798. Admission Free; all ages.

MORE: Doin’ My Drugs is the story of musician Thomas Muchimba Buttenschøn—born HIV-positive in 1985—and his crusade to use his music to wipe out AIDS in his native Zambia and beyond. Doin’ My Drugs aims to raise awareness about the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic in Zambia — a country of 17 million people where more than 1.2 million are HIV-positive or have the disease. Zambia’s situation is mirrored throughout the developing world.

A father to two young children, Buttenschøn has kept his HIV in check and his family virus-free, by “doin’ his drugs.” He recognized that his native Zambia remains trapped in a horrific and senseless AIDS crisis. While a significant percentage of the population there is infected with HIV, many antiretroviral drug treatment programs that keep the virus dormant—“a near-zero viral load” as Buttenschøn says—are widely available through government programs for free.

Buttenschøn has recorded a full studio album in LA and Lusaka, Zambia with 16-time Grammyâ-winning producer, Thom Russo Jr. That album is titled Doin’ My Drugs and will become the official motion picture soundtrack. He debuted a new single, Keep On Talking, on his China tour.

Buttenschøn has also set up a foundation, the Muchimba Music Foundation, to help his supporters, collaborators and himself on their journeys. His goal is to test upwards of 100,000 Zambians by expanding his foundation’s Test-for-Ticket concert series into a country-wide tour of Zambia. The Muchimba Music Foundation’s initial concert in Lusaka tested 10,802 people and enrolled those who tested positive into patient care treatment programs. MMF is currently fundraising to meet his goal. The Muchimba Music Foundation is planning to produce a second major concert on World AIDS Day this year, Dec.1: Zed Me Free 2. Zed Me Free and joining UNAIDS is Muchimba’s latest move to acquire more partners with a goal to reduce HIV infection in Zambia and beyond.

UNAIDS, the United Nations Information Service Geneva and the
International AIDS Society organized this screening to commemorate Zero Discrimination Day.

Founded in 1988, the IAS is the world’s largest association of HIV professionals, with members in more than 170 countries. Working with its members, the IAS advocates and drives urgent action to reduce the impact of HIV. The IAS is also the steward of the world’s most prestigious HIV conferences: the International AIDS Conference, the IAS Conference on HIV Science, and the HIV Research for Prevention Conference.

The team’s choice of Buttenschøn and his film—a former judge on the country’s wildly popular Denmark’s Got Talent (Danmark Har Talnet) is reflective of his and his family’s personal experience with HIV/AIDS, his renown in the country and the world premiere of the film based on his life and work that premiered in Copenhagen as a highlight of the prestigious CPH:DOX* music program, one of the world’s foremost documentary film and music festivals.

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Thomas Muchimba Buttenschøn, Doin’ My Drugs, International AIDS Society, Vaughn Lowery, 360 Magazine,

Homecoming

Netflix released Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé, which presents an intimate look at her historic 2018 Coachella performance that paid homage to America’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Interspersed with candid footage and interviews detailing the preparation and powerful intent behind her vision, Homecoming gives a peek into the process and emotional physical sacrifices it took to conceptualize and execute a performance of that magnitude that became a cultural movement. This stand-alone Netflix original is now available globally on Netflix.

As the first black woman to headline Coachella, Homecoming recognizes the African American visionaries who inspired Beyoncé, including HBCU alums Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, activist Marian Wright Edelman, and scholar W.E.B. Du Bois, in addition to cultural luminaries such as Nina Simone, Maya Angelou, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Audre Lorde. Beyoncé’s 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 groundbreaking 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 artist herself.
In juggling dual roles as both the director of her live performance and the film that captured the process of making it, Beyoncé says, “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 an 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.”
Many in the cast; band, singers, dancers and steppers are former HBCU students, immersed in the HBCU marching band tradition. They joined Beyoncé’s own group of performers, some who have toured with her for years. Viewers not only get to see the intense dance rehearsals and talent of these amazing artists, but hear their personal journey from HBCU student to artist and the lifelong impact that comes with performing alongside Beyoncé 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,” she says in the film. “There is something incredibly important about the HBCU experience that must be celebrated and protected.”
As a treat to her fans, the film also includes, in the end credits, her remake of “Before I Let Go” by Frankie Beverly and Maze, a 1981 R&B classic that’s commonly performed at HBCU games. The single will be available on the film’s soundtrack, Homecoming: The Live Album, available today from Parkwood Entertainment and Columbia Records. smarturl.it/BH9102
Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé was directed and produced by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. Longtime collaborator Ed Burke served as co-director. Steve Pamon and Erinn Williams are executive producers.
Set List

“Crazy In Love”

“Freedom”

“Lift Ev’ry Voice And Sing”

“Formation”

“Sorry”/”Me, Myself and I”

“Kitty Kat”

“Bow Down”

“I Been On”

“Drunk In Love”

“Diva”

“Flawless” (Remix)

“Feeling Myself”

“Top Off”

“7/11”

“Don’t Hurt Yourself”

“I Care”

“Partition”

“Yoncé”

“Mi Gente (Remix)”

“Mine”

“Baby Boy”

“You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No)”

“Hold Up”

“Countdown”

“Check On It”

“Déjà Vu”(featuring JAY-Z)

“Run the World (Girls)”

“Lose My Breath” (featuring Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams)

“Say My Name” (featuring Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams)

“Soldier” (featuring Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams)

“Get Me Bodied” (With Solange Knowles dancing)

“Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”

“Love On Top”

About Netflix
Netflix is the world’s leading internet entertainment service with over 148 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.
About Parkwood Entertainment
Parkwood Entertainment is an entertainment and management company founded by entertainer and entrepreneur, Beyoncé in 2010. With headquarters in New York City the company houses departments in music and video production, management, marketing, digital, creative, philanthropy, fashion, publicity and a record label. Under its original name, Parkwood Pictures, in 2008, the company released the film Cadillac Records (2008), in which Beyoncé starred and co-produced. The company also released the film, Obsessed (2009), with Beyoncé as star and executive producer. Parkwood Entertainment produced The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour (2013-2014) and The Formation World Tour (2016), and co-produced the ON THE RUN TOUR (2014) and ON THE RUN II (2018).

Beyoncé, netflix, Homecoming

Beyoncé’s Homecoming

Writers: Vaughn Lowery, Tara McDonough, Stella Iman Dugall

Every once in a while pop culture encounters a rip in its continuum. The latest breach comes from one of the most effervescent entertainers of all time, Beyoncé Giselle Knowles Carter, as the first Black female to headline one of the most prolific festivals since the iconic Woodstock. Introspective yet intimate, Homecoming is positioned to be one of the most immersive concert series in the history of music and streaming services. Beyoncé, the Director and Executive Producer of the film, creates a visually captivating story from the beginning to end. The documentary answers a plethora of questions, at which the infamous Beyhive has had about the historical moment.

With intermittent quick cuts of her family before, during and after the epic performance, Beyoncé gives herself permission to exhibit her vulnerability. After all, she planned to take the stage at Coachella in 2017 before she was pregnant with her twins. The tour was postponed and we fast forward to ‘Mrs. Carter’ having to deal with the aftermath of a complicated pregnancy, which ultimately ends in a c-section. Similar to friend, and professional tennis superstar, Serena Williams, Beyoncé bounced back harder than ever after her tough pregnancy. Throughout the piece she digs deep and pummels through some of the most difficult days she has ever encountered. She even speaks to her weighing 218 lbs and how she was only able to zip her costume up after months of hard work alongside of a dedicated clean/raw food diet – no meats, carbs, sugars. The director of photography expertly captured an extremely intimate and vulnerable side to the strong and flawless Queen Bey.

Inspiration

Having family members as graduates of some of the prominent HBCU (historically black colleges and universities), Beyoncé was able to tap into the most celebrated moments of their collegiate life. Her full show not only highlighted the history of these schools but also their social networks and fraternal organizations; transforming the stage into one of the most dynamic Black Southern spaces of cultural legacy and pride. Much of it was enunciated with their boot dancing, a traditional dance style for HBCU called J-Setting, in between transitions. These dance formations visually anchored the performance. Contortionists contributed an urban Cirque du Soleil vibe to the display which can be more accurately described as an infused gumbo of Chicago (the musical), Moulin Rouge! and the Off-Broadway play Stomp. To date, the pyramid stage has been persevered onsite at this year’s Coachella as an art installation.

A group of 200 people shared the stage with Queen Bey including Jay Z, Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams and Solange Knowles. The expansive crew that Beyonce worked and practiced with for 8 months is featured in the documentary, as each individual had their own part in making the event a success. The dancing in her set is not technical, but emotional. The crowd, as well as audiences watching the documentary at home, are meant to feel something from just the way Beyoncé and her dancers, who she handpicked herself, move with each other. The concert experience not only exhibits the immense talent of HBCU musicians but works towards using this heightened exposure to aid these institutions that have been struggling with little resources and grants since their establishment.

After the the release of Homecoming, Netflix will more than likely notice a spike in downloads/subscriptions; Beyonce will notice an increase in her fan base and HBCU enrollment rates will most likely skyrocket. Overall, most audience members will be thrashed into a world of black honor, history and preservation. While the Pew Report notes that there is a varying “black/white digital divide” concerning internet usage, (87% whites, 80% blacks), there is little divide when it comes to mobile platforms. The growth of black presence in media, such as on social media, in streaming services and more, will only continue due to the imminent success of Beyoncé’s partnership with Netflix. Her myriad of success as a dominant Black woman breaks down barriers in the same way Jordan Peele has done for young Black filmmakers across the diaspora. This will become one of the most treasured pieces of mass media and should offer encouragement to both women and minorities to bust through the glass ceiling on all fronts especially digitization and technology.

Beyoncé, Netflix, Homecoming

Illustrator: Alejandra Villagra

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