Beyonce dropped her “Homecoming” documentary on Netflix this week, and it left her fan base feeling inspired, motivated and reflective. As a proud alumna of Winston-Salem State University, the documentary took me back to my glory days of hanging out on the yard and creating eight-counts with my friends while watching the band perform.
“Homecoming” focuses on the singer’s preparation and execution for her 2018 Coachella performance, which was dedicated to historically Black colleges and universities. Beyonce’s performance showcases all the magic that happens at an HBCU, leaving inquiring minds wondering how life would’ve been if they had attended one.
#BeyonceHomecoming almost makes me wish I went to an HBCU. High key feeling like I missed out ????
— ashley ????????♀️ (@_thegoodonesgo) April 20, 2019
Despite not having attended college, Beyonce says she was inspired by the authenticity and creativity that fills the hallways of HBCUs. At WSSU, there’s an undeniable smell of culture, shea butter and pride that covers the campus. You can find it whether you’re walking on the yard, headed to meet friends in the café on Fried Chicken Wednesday, or hanging out in the stands during the games.
Shortly after the documentary was released, alumni from HBCUs took to social media to show appreciation for their alma maters at a time when the future of historically black institutions seems to be in question.
Mannnn…every #HBCU student and #HBCUGRAD alumnae FELT that performance thru the TV ???????????????????????? @netflix you gifted us a real one! ❤️ @Beyonce nothin’ but pure ???????????? Shout-out to #JCSU #Beychella #Beyonce ???? #DeltaSigmaTheta ???? #BeyoncéHomecoming pic.twitter.com/8dZM5SwhiE
— GeeBraun (@SororRicochet) April 17, 2019
I’m in heaven watching #Homecoming . I love documentaries, choreography AND I’m a #HBCU grad! Shout out to the greatest, #NCAT #AggiePride. ???????? Bey did allllll of that! ???? #homecomingbeyoncé #beyflix #beychella pic.twitter.com/z1sUZpgB4n
— Melaninaire Monroe (@mslovejones) April 18, 2019
Celebrities, the HBCU community and supporters recently banded together after Bennett College faced a battle way too similar to other institutions struggling to maintain or regain accreditation.
Alumni associations are constantly in conversations about the future of our alma maters, Beyonce reminded us to keep going and don’t give up on our beloved institutions.
As the first African American female to headline Coachella, the singer understood the importance of using her platform to create a “homecoming” that celebrated the creativity and individuality of HBCUs and the Black community while highlighting unity. Ask anyone who has ever attended an HBCU homecoming, and they’ll tell you that Beyonce’s performance hit the nail on the head.
The documentary also dips into intimate moments showing the effort and journey it took to execute the performance. Similarly, many HBCU graduates often have a journey that includes challenges and triumphs throughout their collegiate years, creating resilient professionals in the workplace.
Yet, Beyonce reminds us there is beauty in sacrifice, growth in challenge and joy in overcoming.
HBCUs were founded by our ancestors who saw the vision just as Beyonce did for her Coachella performance. As a community, we must remember the vision our ancestors worked toward while continuing to sustain our beloved HBCUs.
Amaya Woodley is a full-time writer inspired to be a voice for the voiceless in the Charlotte metro area. You can catch her either on a flight or planning her next trip. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.