Beyoncé Brings Black Pride to Coachella
By Sheryl Estrada
The superstar made African American culture the star of the show.
Beyoncé Knowles-Carter has carved a place in Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival history as the first Black woman to headline the event. The traditionally hipster/bohemian festival took a journey into Black America with Queen Bey at the helm.
Throughout her two-hour show on Saturday, streamed live on YouTube from Indio, Calif., the superstar continued the theme of Black pride celebrated in her 2016 visual album “Lemonade,” and her Super Bowl halftime performance the same year.
Beyoncé, 36, gave a tribute to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the U.S. by incorporating a drumline. The performers included alumni of Florida A&M University, Tennessee State University, Alabama State University, Alabama A&M University, Prairie View A&M University, Hampton University, North Carolina A&T University, Norfolk State University, Bethune-Cookman University, University of Georgia, Kennesaw State University and more.
They are members of the show “Drumline Live,” according to Don P. Roberts, creator, director and music director of the show based on the 2002 film starring Nick Cannon.
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Dressed in yellow and black, an ode to “Lemonade” and the Beyhive, her legion of followers, Beyoncé also paid tribute to historically Black fraternities and sororities by creating her own on stage: BDK — Beta Delta Kappa.
Some fans on social media have said the B is for Beyoncé, the K for Knowles and the D for the delta symbol, a Greek letter meaning change, which her husband Jay Z uses in “The Roc” hand symbol representative of his music label, Roc-A-Fella Records.
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More than 100 musicians and dancers were behind the artist in a pyramid formation wearing the same colors and showed the crowd how members of the Divine Nine step.
In addition, Beyoncé gave a rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” written by James Weldon Johnson and often called the Black national anthem. It was performed for the first time by 500 school children on Feb. 12, 1900, in Jacksonville, Fla., in celebration of President Lincoln’s birthday.
During her breath-taking performances, Beyoncé uttered quotes from Malcolm X and Nina Simone as #Beychella trended on Twitter.
Olivier Rousteing of Balmain designed her costumes throughout the show, including a nod to ancient Egyptian Queen Nefertiti.
Beyoncé fans took notice of all of the symbolism, including a crest she wore that featured a black fist and a black panther — representing the Black Power movement of the 1970s.
In her 2016 Super Bowl halftime show performance, she and her dancers paid tribute to the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense in the Bay Area, and both praise and backlash ensued.
The crest she wore on Saturday also included a replica of Nefertiti and a bee, which symbolizes the Beyhive.