Homecoming is a gripping self-portrait about stage-heroic diva sweep, gender, race and the limits of the body.
It is the Netflix event of 2019 so far.
"Dragon breathing fire."
"Beautiful mane, I'm the lion."
"My daddy Alabama,
You mix that negro with that creole
Make a Texas bamma."
These words have electric propulsion in (singer-songwriter-actor) Beyoncé's (Giselle Knowles) two-stage performance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (held annually at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, USA), the material for her directorial debut Homecoming. Anger and sensuality have never seemed as real, because unlike the Instagram-addled visual memory we are creating about rockstars and artistes, one of the characters of Homecoming is a sweaty, swooning mass of fans who are actually seeing their idol in concert.
For me, a '70s child who grew up on MTV, Destiny's Child (American R&B girl group with Beyoncé in the line-up) was an extension of En Vogue (American pop vocal group). This Netflix film directed by Beyoncé, about the racial and gender identity she inherits, and largely about her own great diva sweep, took me straight back to En Vogue's Free Your Mind video—Terry Ellis, Dawn Robinson, Cindy Herron, and Maxine Jones slaying (it used to be called sashaying then) a ramp, hollering, "Free Your mind, and the rest will follow/Be colour blind, don't be so shallow." These girls were Californians. Destiny's Child, which was from Houston, Texas, and which Beyoncé Giselle Knowles headlined as a vocalist, reintroduced the "bugaboo" to us in a new way. Beyoncé says in the film that Destiny's Child was her education. Long after she broke out as a solo artiste, with the 2016 album Lemonade, her personal and her political met. It was a turnaround, and Destiny's Child was far, far behind.