There was a ton of anticipation around Beyoncé’s Coachella aka Beychella performance last night (April 14, 2018) and the queen not only delivered but far exceeded expectations, serving up a performance that epitomized bold and beautiful black excellence.
The Houston-born entertainer and CEO was the first black woman to headline the event and only the third (Björk in 2002 and Lady Gaga in 2017) women in Coachella’s 19-year history. At the same time, the performance include a Destiny’s Child reunion, which marked the first time an all-girl group has appeared at the event. Her husband, Jay-Z, joined her for “Déjà Vu” and she and Solange performed a dance off during “Get Me Bodied.”
With a set designed to look like the stands in a college stadium, costumes, music and dances tapped into the many themes of the United States’ historic black colleges. Displaying yellow and black team colors, dancers wore the insignia of ΒΔΚ (aka black aka Beyoncé Knowles), an imaginary Greek letter organization. As well, Bey was backed by a full marching band that included a drum line and a baton-twirling majorette.
The show opened with Beyoncé confidently striding in as part of the tail end of a procession, mixing in New Oreans step moves along the way. The show also included Greek-style step performances, a swag surf tribute and a skit mimicking a probate, a coming out ceremony for new Greek pledges. Pulling from a mix of her biggest hits, she also added in “Lift Every Voice and Sing” aka the black national anthem.
Interludes included snippets from Nina Simone’s 1956 “Strange Fruit” and quotes pulled from Malcolm X’s 1962 speech titled “Who Taught You to Hate Yourself?” and Nigerian feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s 2014 “We Should all Be Feminists” speech as well as Bringing it all back home, the performance also featured a musical tribute to groundbreaking Nigerian musician and activist, Fela Kuti.
Side note: for those who believe Beyoncé’ and Rihanna are not friendly, cameras captured Robyn Fenty in the front row with Tina Knowles Lawson, looking like she was having the time of her life.
Costumes were designed by Olivier Rousteing for Balmain who was tapped by stylist Marni Senofante, who reached out to him after his fall 2018 presentation.
“I think the thing I will always remember is sitting on the floor with B and cutting fabric,” Rousteing told Vogue. “Blue comes in and runs over to B, and B holds her in her arms while talking to us about the cuts and silhouettes. To me, it was just such a beautiful moment because here you are with this megastar but also, she is a strong woman and a loving momma to her daughter.”
If you missed the live stream, you can watch it here (for now anyway).
“Crazy In Love”
“Lift Every Voice and Sing”
“Drunk In Love”
“Don’t Hurt Yourself”
“Check On It”
“Déjà Vu” featuring Jay-Z
“Run The World (Girls)”
“Lose My Breath” featuring Destiny’s Child
“Say My Name” featuring Destiny’s Child
“Soldier” featuring Destiny’s Child
“Get Me Bodied”
“Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)”
“Love On Top”
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) April 15, 2018
Beyoncé dance interlude: OT Genasis: “Everybody Mad”
— Mark Wix SCD (@MarkWix2) April 15, 2018
Destiny’s Child performance
Check out event-related images below; all via beyonce.com.