As I walk into the movie theater, I am immediately drawn to the line of silver boots, shiny cowboy hats, and chrome fringe jackets entering the theater. The movie goers were dolled up for one occasion only: Renaissance. I, too, adhered to the unspoken dress code and wore a silvery sweater, along with my aunt (who is an avid Beyoncé fan as well). We get settled into our seats and the anticipation to see the Queen sets in, like it did 7 years ago when I saw Beyoncé during her Formation World Tour. The film begins with a swarm of screaming fans rushing into stadiums all over the world. Unfortunately, I was not able to participate in the Renaissance experience in person; however, I am eternally grateful that Mrs. Carter had the sense to release a film so that myself and others like me could get a taste of her chrome coated masterpiece.
After a six year hiatus, Beyoncé released her critically acclaimed, Grammy award-winning solo album Renaissance in July 2022. From top to bottom, the album feels as though you are in her party spaceship, with high energy infusions of house, disco, electronic, hip-hop, New Orleans bounce, and afro-beat music. Inspired by her late Uncle Johnny, Renaissance is a tribute to the black queer community (which makes up a large portion of Beyoncé’s fan base) and the influence the community has on mainstream pop culture. The album features cameos from black queer icons like Big Freedia, Kevin Prodigy, and Ts Madison.
She embarked on her world tour in the summer of 2023, and the tour has been regarded as one of the best concert shows of all time. Renaissance was advertised as a three-part project, with the album release as “Act I” and a new “Act II” album, releasing on March 29, was announced during the Super Bowl. Whereabouts of “Act III” are still unknown as Beyoncé is an expert at keeping things under wraps.
Speaking of secrecy, the Renaissance film gives a rare snapshot into the life of Beyoncé. She not only wrote and directed the film, but stars in it as an entertainer, creative director, mother, daughter, friend, mentor, and more. In moments where she is navigating professional politics, or expressing concerns about letting her oldest child perform, or indulging in delicious, greasy food from her hometown Houston, we are reminded that she is not a god-like figure; and is very much in fact a human going through real-life experiences that are relatable to everyone.
Here are some valuable lessons that I took away from the film:
1. Time is money, but money can’t buy you back lost time.
In the first act of the film, between the energetic concert footage, Beyoncé explains all the tedious work it took to design a show of this magnitude. She talks about the various stage designs, custom costumes, the amount of people on her staff, costs of materials, and other details that went into the production of the show. Considering that this process took four years, Beyonce reflects on how time has affected her. She claims that time is her biggest obstacle, whether it’s the time she spent perfecting her craft or how fast time flies as she looks at her kids growing up. She realizes that no matter how much money you have, you can never buy back lost time. This concept hit home for me, especially when I think about life during COVID. Even though the world was at a stand still, time kept going and it feels as though two and half years have been swallowed into a black hole.
2. Remember where you come from.
Having a career that has spanned over 20 years and having traveled across the globe, Beyoncé always seems to find her way back home in Houston. During one sequence of the film, she takes a trip back to Houston and rides through her old neighborhood, reminiscing about her childhood. She shares an array of old photos and home videos of herself and her family as a child. In this film, we see her as an incredibly family-oriented person and vigilant at keeping her family legacy alive.
One of the many beautiful moments in the film happens to be when Beyoncé’s youngest daughter, Rumi, asks her where she’s from and Beyoncé imparts her fond memories of Houston to her daughter. In addition, she goes in depth about the impact that her Uncle Johnny had on her life and how Renaissance essentially memorializes his life. I appreciate how grounded Beyoncé seems in her family history and how she carries it into everything she does. I aspire to have that energy when it comes to preserving my family legacy.
3. Don’t care what other people think, live your life authentically.
In the final scenes of the film, we see the full evolution of Beyoncé as she speaks to how she no longer cares about being a “serial people pleaser” or trying to be the perfect person. She states that her forties have been the best time of her life because she’s finally free of her own self-doubts and feels she has nothing to prove to anybody. It is encouraging to a twenty something year old (like myself) to hear someone like Beyoncé say that her forties have been her most enjoyable season yet, as it reiterates that your best self is yet to come with age and experience. Keeping on brand with the theme of a renaissance, she emphasizes that this era is all about self-expression. We see this through the demeanor of the audience, as the camera pans to a sea of loyal fans in vibrant fashions, singing and dancing their hearts out.
I remember walking out of the theater with a new sense of purpose and revitalization to take on the world. I would like to thank Beyoncé for spreading her wisdom, truth, and phenomenal music.
© Courtney Stanley (2/13/24) – Special for FF2 Media ®
LEARN MORE/DO MORE
Read FF2 Media’s review of Beyoncé’s Renaissance film by Courtni Hill.
Watch the trailer for the film here.
Listen to the album on Spotify here.
CREDITS & PERMISSIONS
Featured/middle photo: RENAISSANCE: A FILM BY BEYONCÉ (2023) film poster. Photo Credit: FlixPix / Parkwood Entertainment / Alamy Stock Photo. Image ID: 2T8B0B4
Bottom photo: RENAISSANCE: A FILM BY BEYONCÉ (2023) promotional billboard for world tour documentary movie on theater near Times Square in New York, New York on November 23, 2023. Photo Credit: John Hanson Pye / Alamy Stock Photo. Image ID: 2T9W48T