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Exclusive Excerpt From New Book Of Beyoncé Essays

March 16, 2019

In an exclusive excerpt from the essay collection QUEEN BEY: A Celebration of Power and Creativity of Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, former Billboard deputy editor Isabel González Whitaker recalls her experiences interviewing the singer and the immediate warmth and kinship she felt during their interactions over the years in a piece entitled: "Finding La Reina in Queen Bey."

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.

Beyoncé and JAY-Z to be honored at GLAAD Media Awards in LA

March 12, 2019

GLAAD announced Monday morning that those incomparable forces of nature and culture Beyonce and Jay-Z will be honored with the Vanguard Award at the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards.

The Vanguard Award is presented to allies who have made a significant difference in promoting acceptance of LGBTQ people. Previous honorees include Cher, Elizabeth Taylor, Charlize Theron, Jennifer Aniston, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, Kerry Washington, Patricia Arquette, and last year’s recipient Britney Spears.

“Beyoncé and Jay- Z are global icons and passionate defenders of human rights and acceptance for all people,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “When Beyoncé and Jay-Z speak, the world becomes inspired and when it comes to LGBTQ people, their voices of acceptance have been heard loud and clear. We could not be prouder to stand with them to send a message of love during the biggest LGBTQ event in the world and to honor their work to bend the arc of justice forward for LGBTQ people, people of color, and marginalized communities everywhere.”

Beyonce and Jay-Z have been long-time allies to LGBTQ people. Beyonce is a deity to the LGBTQ community and has collaborated with LGBTQ artists including Big Freedia and Frank Ocean. In addition, she has shown her support for marriage equality and has spoken against anti-LGBTQ laws. She also dedicated her performance of “Halo” to the victims and survivors of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting during “The Formation World Tour.” Ivy Park, her athleisure clothing line, showcased transgender actress Laverne Cox as one of the featured faces in one of the brand’s promos.

Beyonce.com: International Women's Day 2019

March 8, 2019

Beyonce took to her website to celebrate International Women's Day.

"Queen Bey" - a collection of essays available now!

March 7, 2019

A new book about Beyoncé hit stores this week! "Queen Bey: A Celebration of the Power and Creativity of Beyoncé Knowles-Carter", edited by Veronica Chambers, is a collection of essays that look at the Beyoncé phenomenon from many different angles, including music, fashion, politics, feminism, celebrity, business and more. It features a diverse range of voices, from star academics to outspoken cultural critics to Hollywood and music stars. Read more and buy the book now!

Pajama party in Los Angeles (March 2)

March 3, 2019

Last night Beyonce attended a pajama party in Los Angeles.

The Bey Keeper - Yvette Noel-Schure Profile - Beyoncé's Publicist

March 1, 2019

The first time I met Yvette Noel-Schure was by mistake. I was on my way to see Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s On the Run II tour, but Los Angeles traffic prevented me from arriving at a reasonable hour. I sprinted to the ticket booth, only to discover the windows were closed for the evening. Heaving and sweating, with the sounds of “Diva” booming from inside the stadium, I was crushed. But there, standing at the shuttered window, was a woman holding an envelope with my name on it. Fresh-faced in a floral jumpsuit with not a hair out of place, she handed me my tickets. I nearly collapsed in gratitude, and asked for her name: “I’m Beyoncé’s publicist,” she said. She smiled and walked away.

The second time I met Noel-Schure was under more carefully planned circumstances, months later in her office, a tiny, candlelit oasis with a diffuser pumping a scent called “Peace” into the air. It is here, inside the Manhattan office building that houses Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment—visitors sign strict N.D.A.s via iPad at the reception desk—where Noel-Schure conducts arguably the most important work in the entertainment business. She is in charge of shaping, managing, and executing the messaging of the world’s biggest modern icon—an artist who handles the work of releasing an album with the secrecy and large-scale tactical precision of a major military operation.

I expect Noel-Schure to work in a high-tech fortress but, instead, her shelves are filled with large binders hand-labeled with the names of Beyoncé’s major tours. Noel-Schure has been representing major pop stars for over three decades and, at 57, her old-school methods still serve her well. “I’m very anal,” she says in her gentle Caribbean accent. “I keep impeccable files of who came to the show. This is just a sampling...I know when the requests came in, I know when I answered them.”

VSU Offering Academic Credit for Studying "Lemonade"

February 25, 2019

Valdosta State University is now offering students the chance to study the work of Beyoncé for academic credit.

The course, AFAM 3600 E: Black Women in Modern America, kicked off this semester and is taking a deep dive into Beyoncé’s groundbreaking sixth studio and visual album “Lemonade.”

The 2016 album captured the pain and triumph of the black female experience to great critical acclaim using stunning visuals, compelling music, and rich storytelling. The work ignited widespread discourse on race, class, and gender, and this VSU course is continuing that conversation by unpacking the many themes found in “Lemonade,” including black identity, feminism, marital infidelity, sisterhood, and faith. The course is also exploring how black women are portrayed in mainstream culture.

The album will serve as a jumping off point to explore such issues through the eyes of numerous other writers, artists, poets, and scholars as the course unfolds. The course was inspired by the “Lemonade Syllabus,” a robust list of resources compiled by writer Candice Marie Benbow that help to unpack all the themes that permeate “Lemonade.”

“If you’re going to have a black feminist theory, then you need to study Beyoncé,” said Caterina Orr, adjunct instructor for African-American Studies. “It’s really just that simple.

Beyoncé and Jay-Z Host Star-Studded Oscars Party

February 25, 2019

Hold up! Beyoncé and Jay-Z's 2019 Oscars party was on another level!

While some celebrations this weekend included red carpet entrances and camera crews documenting the fun, this A-list couple decided to make things a bit more private.

Fortunately for pop culture fans, E! News is getting exclusive inside details about the star-studded event. Brace yourself: You're going to wish you scored an invite to this celebration.

"The party was completely A-list," a source shared with E! News. "Guests began arriving around midnight and they didn't leave until about 5 a.m. and later. It was the party everyone wanted to be at it seems."

Some of the lucky attendees including Jamie Foxx, Adele, Drake and Rihanna. In addition, Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez attended together while the newly engaged Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom celebrated as one.

New Trailer for 'The Lion King'

February 25, 2019

Disney released a new trailer and poster for The Lion King!


Beyonce And Travis Scott Are Reportedly Working On Music Together

February 24, 2019

Who would have imagined Beyonce and Travis Scott would be embarking on new music together? According to Tone Stith, talks of a collaboration between the two artists were buzzing for L.A. songwriters.

Speaking to VIBE for our Views From The Studio series, the 20-year-old shared how his single "Good Company" with Swae Lee and Quavo was created with Beyonce and Travis Scott in mind.

"I made the track originally for Travis Scott and Beyonce because somebody told me they were looking for a song but he heard the track and was like, "Let me do something with this."

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August 15, 2018

Beyoncé's September Vogue Issue in Her Own Words: Her Life, Her Body, Her Heritage

Do you remember a world before Beyoncé? The singer has been in our hearts and headphones for more than 20 years, from teenager to mother of three. The Queen graces Vogue’s September issue this year, sharing the story of her latest pregnancy and delivery, her thoughts on body acceptance and the influence of her ancestry, and the legacy she hopes to leave her children. Beyoncé’s fourth Vogue cover is also historic: It was shot by 23-year-old Tyler Mitchell, a rising young black photographer from Atlanta, hand-selected by the star. In this month’s cover slideshow, the Houston native stuns in Louis Vuitton, Valentino, and Gucci.




Pregnancy & Body Acceptance
After the birth of my first child, I believed in the things society said about how my body should look. I put pressure on myself to lose all the baby weight in three months, and scheduled a small tour to assure I would do it. Looking back, that was crazy. I was still breastfeeding when I performed the Revel shows in Atlantic City in 2012. After the twins, I approached things very differently.

I was 218 pounds the day I gave birth to Rumi and Sir. I was swollen from toxemia and had been on bed rest for over a month. My health and my babies’ health were in danger, so I had an emergency C-section. We spent many weeks in the NICU. My husband was a soldier and such a strong support system for me. I am proud to have been a witness to his strength and evolution as a man, a best friend, and a father. I was in survival mode and did not grasp it all until months later. Today I have a connection to any parent who has been through such an experience. After the C-section, my core felt different. It had been major surgery. Some of your organs are shifted temporarily, and in rare cases, removed temporarily during delivery. I am not sure everyone understands that. I needed time to heal, to recover. During my recovery, I gave myself self-love and self-care, and I embraced being curvier. I accepted what my body wanted to be. After six months, I started preparing for Coachella. I became vegan temporarily, gave up coffee, alcohol, and all fruit drinks. But I was patient with myself and enjoyed my fuller curves. My kids and husband did, too.

I think it’s important for women and men to see and appreciate the beauty in their natural bodies. That’s why I stripped away the wigs and hair extensions and used little makeup for this shoot.

To this day my arms, shoulders, breasts, and thighs are fuller. I have a little mommy pouch, and I’m in no rush to get rid of it. I think it’s real. Whenever I’m ready to get a six-pack, I will go into beast zone and work my ass off until I have it. But right now, my little FUPA and I feel like we are meant to be.

Opening Doors
Until there is a mosaic of perspectives coming from different ethnicities behind the lens, we will continue to have a narrow approach and view of what the world actually looks like. That is why I wanted to work with this brilliant 23-year-old photographer Tyler Mitchell.

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.

It’s important to me that I help open doors for younger artists. There are so many cultural and societal barriers to entry that I like to do what I can to level the playing field, to present a different point of view for people who may feel like their voices don’t matter.

Imagine if someone hadn’t given a chance to the brilliant women who came before me: Josephine Baker, Nina Simone, Eartha Kitt, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, and the list goes on. They opened the doors for me, and I pray that I’m doing all I can to open doors for the next generation of talents.

If people in powerful positions continue to hire and cast only people who look like them, sound like them, come from the same neighborhoods they grew up in, they will never have a greater understanding of experiences different from their own. They will hire the same models, curate the same art, cast the same actors over and over again, and we will all lose. The beauty of social media is it’s completely democratic. Everyone has a say. Everyone’s voice counts, and everyone has a chance to paint the world from their own perspective.

Ancestry
I come from a lineage of broken male-female relationships, abuse of power, and mistrust. Only when I saw that clearly was I able to resolve those conflicts in my own relationship. Connecting to the past and knowing our history makes us both bruised and beautiful.

I researched my ancestry recently and learned that I come from a slave owner who fell in love with and married a slave. I had to process that revelation over time. I questioned what it meant and tried to put it into perspective. I now believe it’s why God blessed me with my twins. Male and female energy was able to coexist and grow in my blood for the first time. I pray that I am able to break the generational curses in my family and that my children will have less complicated lives.

My Journey
There are many shades on every journey. Nothing is black or white. I’ve been through hell and back, and I’m grateful for every scar. I have experienced betrayals and heartbreaks in many forms. I have had disappointments in business partnerships as well as personal ones, and they all left me feeling neglected, lost, and vulnerable. Through it all I have learned to laugh and cry and grow. I look at the woman I was in my 20s and I see a young lady growing into confidence but intent on pleasing everyone around her. I now feel so much more beautiful, so much sexier, so much more interesting. And so much more powerful.

Freedom
I don’t like too much structure. I like to be free. I’m not alive unless I am creating something. I’m not happy if I’m not creating, if I’m not dreaming, if I’m not creating a dream and making it into something real. I’m not happy if I’m not improving, evolving, moving forward, inspiring, teaching, and learning.

Coachella
I had a clear vision for Coachella. I was so specific because I’d seen it, I’d heard it, and it was already written inside of me. 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.

OTR II
One of the most memorable moments for me on the On the Run II tour was the Berlin show at Olympiastadion, 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. Less than 90 years later, two black people performed there to a packed, sold-out stadium. When Jay and I sang our final song, we saw everyone smiling, holding hands, kissing, and full of love. To see such human growth and connection—I live for those moments.

Legacy
My mother taught me the importance not just of being seen but of seeing myself. As the mother of two girls, it’s important to me that they see themselves too—in books, films, and on runways. It’s important to me that they see themselves as CEOs, as bosses, and that they know they can write the script for their own lives—that they can speak their minds and they have no ceiling. They don’t have to be a certain type or fit into a specific category. They don’t have to be politically correct, as long as they’re authentic, respectful, compassionate, and empathetic. They can explore any religion, fall in love with any race, and love who they want to love.

I want the same things for my son. I want him to know that he can be strong and brave but that he can also be sensitive and kind. I want my son to have a high emotional IQ where he is free to be caring, truthful, and honest. It’s everything a woman wants in a man, and yet we don’t teach it to our boys.

I hope to teach my son not to fall victim to what the internet says he should be or how he should love. I want to create better representations for him so he is allowed to reach his full potential as a man, and to teach him that the real magic he possesses in the world is the power to affirm his own existence.

I’m in a place of gratitude right now.

I am accepting of who I am. I will continue to explore every inch of my soul and every part of my artistry.

I want to learn more, teach more, and live in full.

I’ve worked long and hard to be able to get to a place where I can choose to surround myself with what fulfills and inspires me.

Get the September issue now.
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