The Queen has issued a directive and now everyone is playing catch up. She has made a great habit of catching the Internet off guard for sometime now, and the resultant frenzy is testament to the impact this strategy yields for her.
Not that she needs to employ gimmicky shock tactics for attention, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter – Oscar and Emmy nominee and 28-time Grammy Award winner – has joined the ranks of superstars like Janet Jackson and Oprah Winfrey when it comes to only letting the world in when you choose to. As such, when all her profile pictures suddenly reverted to stock silhouettes and bios disappeared, a buzz set off across the world as anticipation danced on the tips of every fan, journo and critic’s tongue. It didn’t take too long for the mystery to be unveiled. We are all in for a rebirth.
Star power is a formula that merges a cultural adaptability, commerciality, fierce personality and adorable nonchalance. If you think of any famous person, the balm to the pains of envy is always how you’re inspired – in some way or another – to be a little bit more like them. Living vicariously through Kobe Bryant’s championship wins, Lewis Hamilton’s meticulous races, or rooting for Serena Williams’ return to the top podium is a chance for the average person to channel their energies toward someone’s success that gives them hope.
In the case of one of the very few people who has managed to establish mononymic dominance – like Cher, Madonna and Rihanna – knowing what is going on in her work life inadvertently submits you to one of the various rings of the so-called, BeyHive. This was the beckoning when she, historically, headlined Coachella in 2019 – a deal rumoured to earn her between USD3 to 4 million, according to Essence.
In her first solo studio album since ‘Lemonade’ in 2016 – an album that moved Adele to break her Grammy award in order to share it with the “artist of [her] life” – Beyoncé is summoning the world to a rebirth. In her usual fashion, the diva has revealed very little about ‘Renaissance,’ which is due July 29. The debut offering was Track 6 on the album – an upbeat, ’90s-style house song – titled, “Break My Soul.” The song was produced and co-written by The-Dream and Tricky Stewart, who were part of the creation of the 2010 smash hit, ‘Single Ladies’, that set off viral dance challenges in days before TikTok – and samples New Orleans bounce veteran, Big Freedia, commanding listeners to “release your mind” to inhabit the life you want to live even in these trying times.
Precisely timed with the global observance of LGBTQIA+ Pride month, the song manages to reach across all borders and aisles as the gross economic crunch continues to impose restrictions on people’s lives. From unpredictable fuel prices with the unrest in Ukraine, to rising inflation and recurrent racially fuelled injustices, many a person has been in need of an anthem to charge them through their tribulations. According to billboard.com, Edward Enninful “teased that the album was filled with ‘soaring vocals and fierce beats’”. The Ghanaian-British editor-in-chief of British Vogue gave the world its most recent peek at the illusive superstar since her Oscars performance of ‘Be Alive’ from the film ‘King Richard’ – a story about Richard Williams, father to Venus and Serena.
If the horse motif is anything to go by – she is on a red horse on the cover of Vogue and an electric one of the artwork for the album – then we might have cause to rattle the windows and dance off our frustrations, fears and rage. Only time will tell. For now, the queen has summoned unbreakable souls and we owe it to ourselves to show up accordingly.