In a new Vogue cover story published today, Beyoncé discussed recent experiences in her personal life and career in a series of short, themed sections. The singer described the aftereffects of her pregnancy with her twins Rumi and Sir, her marriage, her preparations for her monumental Coachella performance from earlier this year, and her recent OTR II joint tour with Jay-Z. She also pointed out the significance of this Vogue cover, her first since 2015:
When I first started, 21 years ago, I was told that it was hard for me to get onto covers of magazines because black people did not sell. Clearly that has been proven a myth. Not only is an African American on the cover of the most important month for Vogue, this is the first ever Vogue cover shot by an African American photographer.
Reports prior to the story’s publication alleged that Beyoncé had full creative control over the feature, and that she had hired Tyler Mitchell, the 23-year-old black photographer who shot the cover.
After discussing a revelatory exploration into her ancestry, Beyoncé described the genesis of her ambitious and sociopolitically charged Coachella performance:
One day I was randomly singing the black national anthem to Rumi while putting her to sleep. I started humming it to her every day. In the show at the time I was working on a version of the anthem with these dark minor chords and stomps and belts and screams. After a few days of humming the anthem, I realized I had the melody wrong. I was singing the wrong anthem. One of the most rewarding parts of the show was making that change. I swear I felt pure joy shining down on us. I know that most of the young people on the stage and in the audience did not know the history of the black national anthem before Coachella. But they understood the feeling it gave them.
It was a celebration of all the people who sacrificed more than we could ever imagine, who moved the world forward so that it could welcome a woman of color to headline such a festival.
She went on to discuss the significance of performing with Jay-Z at Berlin’s Olympiastadion this year, the site of the 1936 Olympics. “This is a site that was used to promote the rhetoric of hate, racism, and divisiveness, and it is the place where Jesse Owens won four gold medals, destroying the myth of white supremacy,” she said. “Less than 90 years later, two black people performed there to a packed, sold-out stadium.”
Read the full Vogue story here.