Beyonce released her Homecoming documentary chronicling her 2018 Coachella performance on Netflix, Tuesday at midnight. Alongside the visual, which at times turned personal as it delved into the effects pregnancy had on her body, the star dropped a live album of the same name, featuring 40 tracks. Of them, two were bonus songs. The launch also came replete with a collection of merch.
Dubbed Beychella, the two-hour performance was the first time that a Black woman had headlined the festival which has come under fire with calls for a boycott in the wake of revelations of anti-LGBTQ+ donations made by its owner. The first weekend was livestreamed on YouTube for fans but footage from that performance as well as the second weekend, was spliced into one long supercut of the performance for the film. Divided off into sections, that performance was interspersed with rehearsal footage as well as video of some of the inspiration points for the monumental moment.
“Instead of me bringing out my flower crown,” Beyonce says in a voiceover before laughing, “it was more important that I brought our culture to Coachella.” That culture in particular was Black culture, indicative in the culture of historically black college and universities (HBCUs). Clips of the Jackson State J-Settes, a marching band from Florida A&U, and the drum line from North Carolina State University all flashed across the screen while Beyonce also spoke to the importance of events like battle of the bands in her life growing up. That latter event, where college brands face off against each other, also informed the energy of the show.
“To me, we are the most beautiful creatures in the whole world, black people,” Nina Simone said in an archival clip cut into the footage. “And I mean that in every sense, outside and inside. And to me, we have a culture that is surpassed by no other civilization but we don’t know anything about it.”
“My job is to somehow make them curious enough or persuade them, by hook or crook, to get more aware of themselves and where they came from and what they are into and what is already there. Just to bring it out,” Simone continued. Those words seem like an impetus for the entire performance.
The movie also, in part, covered Beyonce’s pregnancy — more specifically, how the pregnancy and birth of her twins Sir and Rumi affected her body. After calling the twins a “surprise,” the performer revealed that when she gave birth she was at 218 pounds. Along the pregnancy she developed toxemia and preeclampsia and one of the babies’ heart beats paused. The latter incident caused Beyonce to go into an emergency cesarean section.
In the wake of that, the 22-year career professional put herself on a strict diet of no bread, carbs, sugar, meat, fish, or alcohol, and went into four months of music rehearsals before four months of dance rehearsals in addition to a grueling workout schedule. She described it all as the most she has ever pushed herself and is not likely something she will ever do again.
Homecoming: The Live Album is available on Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, and all other services. In addition to songs from the performances, the album includes interludes cut from Beyonce’s voiceovers from the film. It is ended with two bonus tracks: “Before I Let Go,” the singer’s revamped, Coachella-specific cover of the 1981 Frankie Beverly and Maze song and “I Been On,” a song the star initially dropped on Soundcloud in 2013.
Homecoming is streaming on Netflix now.