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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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March 1, 2019

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

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.”

Beyoncé’s large-scale stadium shows are the bread and butter of her career, and a lesser publicist could probably get away with avoiding the work of fielding ticket requests from music journalists and fans altogether. But Noel-Schure still cares about whether the stringer from the local Ohio paper makes it through the doors of that stadium, and her work is a reminder that stars like Beyoncé’s larger-than-life status is, in part, a summation of meticulously tended to details. Noel-Schure admits there may even be a handwritten note next to my name in the entry for the show I almost missed. “I’m a note taker and a note-maker,” she says. There’s something jarring—and soothing—about seeing the elbow grease and human handiwork involved in managing the career of an artist whose work has the air of the supernatural.

If Beyoncé’s trajectory is rooted in the idea of destiny—that she was born to be an icon—Noel-Schure will tell you that her career unfolded in a more happenstance way. Growing up in Grenada, a Caribbean island of 100,000, with six siblings, Noel-Schure became an unorthodox caretaker at a young age, looking after her mother, who suffered from yet-undiagnosed bipolar disorder. The family moved to the United States when Noel-Schure was 14 and had ambitions of becoming a teacher or a writer. After graduating from the City College of New York, she landed a gig covering up-and-coming artists for Black Beat Magazine. While still a writer, she met an executive at Sony Music in 1993, who offered her a PR job and quickly assigned her to Mariah Carey. Four years later, Sony signed a young foursome from Houston called Destiny’s Child. “I knew they would give me the project. I came from Black Beat magazine with these young teens,” Noel-Schure said. She flew down to Houston to familiarize herself with the girls’ stories, mapping out a strategy for the roles they’d play in the group. “Kelly was what I called honey meets sugar, just so sweet,” she says. “LeToya was the funny one, and LaTavia was the sassy one. Beyoncé was the one that sort of took you in. She just… stared right AT you.”

By 2010, Noel-Schure was a senior vice president at Sony and ready to venture out on her own. She launched her own independent PR firm, Schure Media Group, with her husband, David Schure. Noel-Schure credits some of her success to having had a supportive partner since she was a teenager; the two met in New York when she was 17. Noel-Schure and her husband got pregnant with their first child while she was still a college student; today they have three kids, and he serves as president of her firm. Without the support of a major label, Noel-Schure had to quickly learn how to bring in clients and give them 360-degree support, but she had a vote of confidence from Beyoncé and Prince, who kept their business with her after she left Sony.

Today, Noel-Schure represents a host of veterans like LeAnn Rimes, as well as shining newcomers like Chloe x Halle and Ingrid. She takes a maternal approach that is increasingly uncommon in the world of publicity. “I remember Yvette having to put someone in their place on the red carpet at the Grammy’s because they were being disrespectful to us,” Michelle Williams said of the Destiny’s Child days. “Yvette truly protects those she works with.” “She’s one of the most trusted people in my family’s life,” Beyonce’s mother, Tina Knowles-Lawson, wrote me in an email. “Yvette is the first person I think to call when we need to set the record straight. I can trust her for the most honest and the best advice.”

Noel-Schure seldom wades into the waters of tabloid gossip, but she won’t hesitate to leap to her client’s defense when provoked. When MediaTakeOut accused Beyoncé of getting lip injections, she provided a blistering statement that would make even the most gossip-hungry afraid to click the link. “MTO staffers,” she wrote, “What do you know about the effects of pregnancy on a woman’s entire body? Please tell me… I stood silent during Beyoncé’s first pregnancy when you thought it was okay to bully her like the cowards you are, when you accused her of never being pregnant, but I simply cannot this time.”

At first, Noel-Schure struggled to pitch Destiny’s Child, a fact that rankled Matthew Knowles, Beyoncé’s father and longtime manager. “He was like, This is the girl that repped Mariah! What’s up?” Eventually, she landed a few small features for Destiny’s Child, and after the Wyclef Jean remix of “No, No No” arrived, Noel-Scure finally started to see the requests pour in. “As the clip pack started growing, you say, What do we do now? You started learning strategically that maybe more is not more,” Noel-Schure says. “And you’re like, Oh, maybe we’re doing too much… What stories do we want to tell? What is it based on?”

It was the era of TLC’s “No Scrubs,” and the market for girl groups was crowded, but Noel-Schure helped differentiate the group by maintaining the sanctity of the collective even as the lineup changed many times. “People started saying, ‘Do you think I can just do an interview with Beyoncé? Just Kelly?’ No, it’s a group,” she remembers. At the time, it was rare for a major-label pop group to write their own songs, and Noel-Schure knew that Beyoncé’s budding talent as a songwriter would help distinguish Destiny’s Child. “I knew that, coupled with their staccato singing style and their crisp harmonies, would set them apart,” she told me. ‘They were also as clean cut as you could be.”

Today Noel-Schure is more in the business of saying no than knocking on people’s doors. “I’ve perfected the nice no,” she said. “I think there’s a way to let people know that something is not possible without completely crushing their spirit or their need to get something done.” Beyoncé is one of the first artists of the digital age to eschew the conventional carousel of interviews, suggesting that the work itself—as well as a stream of well-curated, cryptic Instagram posts—can make a more impactful statement than the press can. And this strategy has proven fruitful: Beyoncé has only sat for a small handful of interviews in recent years, a decision that has helped usher her into a new era of untouchability and superhero status. In 2015, she became the first-ever Vogue cover subject to skip a sit-down interview altogether.

These days, Beyoncé’s peers are taking a page from her playbook, often choosing their own mechanisms for broadcasting their messages, rather than relying on the press. These decisions have sparked a hand-wringing debate about the power dynamic between celebrities and the media, one that can be frustrating to Noel-Schure. “As a former journalist, I guess I can understand journalists saying, Give us the opportunity to do an interview. I don’t know that any artist owes someone a sit-down interview, honestly, now. Politicians, yes,” Noel-Schure told me. “I feel like what artists owe their audiences is a really good performance.” For Noel-Schure and her biggest client, something like Beyoncé’s 2018 Coachella performance is a powerful rebuttal to the criticism: A profound, emotionally excavating body of work that stands for itself.

As a journalist whose career is often contingent on access to public figures, I can reluctantly admit that Beyoncé’s work, sans the parade of magazine profiles, may just be potent enough. Her marital struggles were far more resonant when expressed through the “Lemonade” debut rather than a TMZ item; decoding the artistic references in her work is a far more satisfying adventure than seeing them listed out in a Q&A.

“I think people have to respect an artist who often does a lot of talking with the content, with the music. Some people actually say a little bit too much. The music, the content that we consume, doesn’t live up to all the controversy that you create,” Noel-Schure explained. “I think I sort of like what my client does, and that she has leveled the playing field so fans as well as critics get it at the same time.”

The work of a successful entertainment publicist requires an arsenal of skills and specific qualities: Razor-sharp memory, a long rolodex, a keen eye for news, a nice bedside manner, an adaptability to the ever-changing landscape of digital media, and the ability to fluidly shift between the roles of people-pleaser and correctional officer. Noel-Schure has all of these things, in addition to an obvious kindness. She will answer an email that publicists for much less famous clients would never consider, and prefers a face-to-face in an era that has all but rendered them obsolete. Her DMs are open for conversation, and she keeps tabs on the infamous BeyHive, which she has seen evolve from a small flesh-and-blood presence to a full-blown social media army. “Before there was the BeyHive, there was the Beyontourage. They are New York based. There were five to ten of them. And I stayed in close touch with them for a long time. They will tell you that the BeyHive comes from them,” she remembers. “The BeyHive is really great. When they come, they come full out for the concerts. It’s so beautiful to watch.”

And while she no longer has to pitch Beyoncé to anyone, Noel-Schure has plenty of messaging that must be strategically crafted. The day I visit her, she is honing the strategy around Beyoncé’s headlining performance at the Global Citizens Festival in South Africa, which is accompanied by a humanitarian apparatus. And then there are the painstaking deliberations that happen around how, where, and exactly when an album release will be revealed. To that end, the attribute that’s most important to Noel-Schure’s work is discretion—keeping labor-intensive, very expensive secrets under lock and key. Secrecy has come to feel like second nature for Noel-Schure, who sees it simply in terms of cost-benefit analysis.

“I am a real talker. I love to sit with people and chat,” she admitted. “But my work is extremely private. My work is strategic. There is a plan for everything, and it will never be in my best interest to mess up a plan,” she said. “No one gets any information from me. Not even the people I live with.”

“My husband thinks he’s married to the head of the C.I.A. He’s like, you guys put out an album?” she joked. “I think part of my longevity is that I could be trusted.”

To get a sense of just how intense her work life can be, consider a week in late April of 2016. Noel-Schure had traveled to her beloved Grenada for a friend’s wedding, but had a few pressing work concerns to juggle. Beyoncé’s paradigm-shifting visual album, “Lemonade,” was due to be surprise released on HBO in less than a week, and Noel-Schure was on guard in case the news leaked. Prince had died suddenly, and she was waiting to hear from his business manager that his cremation was completed, so that she could send out a press release.

“I just remember the weirdness of waiting for it ,” she said. “I got the text saying, The cremation is done. You can send it out. And then the door opened and I saw my friend. I put the phone back down and said, the world could wait—just let the service go through. And after the service I sent it out.”

Noel-Schure practices what Beyoncé preaches—commitment to family and personal enrichment in addition to a devotion to her work. After the Formation tour, she broke her ankle, which she took as a sign that she needed to slow down. She is Beyoncé’s publicist, but she’s also a wife of forty years, a mother to three children, and a music fan. “I have a very, very full life,” she said. “I have a life bigger than my work.”
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