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July 24, 2019
July 18, 2019
June 13, 2019
March 16, 2019
It wasn’t until the third time that I met Beyoncé that she showed me her superpower.
The first two times, in the late nineties, I just said hello at record industry meet and greets, where Destiny’s Child was working hard to get fans to say their names. The third and fourth times were a decade later, in 2008 and 2011, by which time Beyoncé had reached certified solo status, as an artist and in name, and I interviewed her for cover stories for InStyle magazine, where I worked as an editor.
The first time I sat down with her, I was nervous and new to my job, as well as emotionally fragile, having lost my mother a few weeks prior. Beyoncé was my first true superstar inter- view. I remember exactly what I wore because I gave it tons of thought, as you do when you are going to meet an artist you have long admired. But I was also there to get a job done, so I chose a boxy Maria Cornejo black top paired with a black high- waist wool gabardine Stella McCartney skirt, Lucite wedge heels from United Nude, and one of my mom’s chunky necklaces for good luck. My boss told me I looked chic, which was what I was aiming for. Beyoncé complimented my shoes, which is why I’m sitting here now wondering why I ever got rid of them.
October 27, 2018
August 15, 2018
February 27, 2017
When I visited her loft in Hollywood recently, Matsoukas opened her rose-gold laptop and pulled up the video. The brassy opening beats began as Beyoncé crouched on the roof of a police car, wearing a red-and-white blouse and a matching skirt: evocative of the rural South but made by Gucci. Matsoukas, who is tall and thin, with dark hair and high cheekbones, radiates a disconcerting hyperassurance. (She’s a Buddhist, with a fluctuating practice.) She is, as she says, “very loud and New York,” but her apartment projects an almost hermetic cool: Africanist art, a golden skull on a shelf, a tar-splashed vanity mirror.
After Matsoukas agreed to direct the video, Beyoncé invited her to her house in Los Angeles, and explained the concept behind “Lemonade.” “She wanted to show the historical impact of slavery on black love, and what it has done to the black family,” Matsoukas told me. “And black men and women—how we’re almost socialized not to be together.” This was a fraught subject for Beyoncé. She and her husband, the rapper Jay Z, are among the most famous couples in the world, and they had long been surrounded by rumors that he was unfaithful. Beyoncé considers herself a feminist, but for black women feminism can be a tenuous balancing act—advocating for women’s rights while supporting black men against racism. Black feminists have often been forced to pick between being politically black or politically female. “It’s an unfair struggle that only black women can understand and relate to,” Matsoukas said. With the “Lemonade” album, Beyoncé was publicly calling out the men in her life, an unexpected and, to her fans, thrilling decision.
January 21, 2017
In the January issue of Interview magazine, Solange is interviewed by Beyoncé and waxes lyrical about how their mother “always taught us to be in control of our voice and our bodies and our work.” Last June, when accepting the fashion icon award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Beyoncé dedicated it to her “fabulous and beautiful” mother.
And in November, when Solange appeared on “Saturday Night Live,” a backstage video posted on Instagram, showing the singer carried by Mom and Big Sis, caused the internet to let out a collective “aww.”
Ms. Lawson, 63, now finds herself in a newfound role as an artistic bridge between two of 2016’s most critically lauded albums: “Lemonade,” Beyoncé’s fiery visual album that is up for nine nods at the Grammy Awards next month, and “A Seat at the Table,” Solange’s spare and poetic R&B record, which topped Pitchfork’s best-album list last year. In October, her daughters made history when they became the first sisters to reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart in the same year.
January 10, 2017
There are some great cameos on A Seat, too (Lil Wayne for the win), but it's the restraint that creates drama throughout the record. Excepting the interludes of mini-monologues from Solange's parents and from Master P (!), the tracks on A Seat, each written and co-produced by Solange, are as tight and polished as cue balls. It seems notable that, in a year full of unparalleled turmoil and tragedy, when sexuality, race, gender, and identity politics were the slowly moving, if molten hot, tectonic plates of American culture, the tenor of A Seat at the Table is one of extraordinary, almost chilly poise. There is a severity in Solange's seeming serenity, as she sings on "F.U.B.U.," for instance, about commercial and cultural appropriation of black culture; there is a rigor to her composure. But that anaerobic tension makes for all the more seductive a re-listen and re-listen and re-listen.
November 1, 2016
In the piece, Adele mentions that Beyoncé has been a big part of her musical life since the age of 11, when she heard "No, No, No" by Destiny's Child. "She’s my Michael Jackson,” Adele told Vanity Fair. Beyoncé offered her own kind words for Adele: “When Adele sings you can hear that it’s coming from an unfiltered honesty and purity. She creates songs that go deep and expose pain and vulnerability with her soulful voice. She takes you places other artists don’t go to anymore—the way they did in the ‘70s.”
“It is so easy to talk to her and be around her. She’s funny as hell and her comebacks are legendary. The most beautiful thing about Adele is that she has her priorities straight. She is a gracious woman and the most humble human being I’ve ever met.”