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Beyoncé's Coachella Performance Has an Incredibly Sweet Origin Story

The singer opened up about her legendary Coachella performance and OTR II in a personal essay for the September Issue of 'Vogue.'

by Kristin Corry
Aug 7 2018, 2:10pm

Photo by Larry Busacca/PW18/Getty Images for Parkwood Entertainment

If you've been paying attention to Beyoncé since, I don't know, forever, you know every facet of her career is absolutely deliberate. So it made a strange amount of sense that when she agreed to be on the cover of this month's issue of Vogue she apparently did so under the condition that Anna Wintour cede total editorial control to her. It wouldn't be the first time she'd grace the cover, but it would be the first time she'd have complete control. Under Bey's creative direction, Vogue had their first black photographer, Tyler Mitchell, to shoot a cover story in its 126-year history. She gave an exceedingly rare interview where she talked about the pressure to snap back after pregnancy, her ancestry, and her thoughts on her legacy. In the personal account, Beyoncé gets candid about how she thought of her iconic Coachella performance and one of her favorite moments from OTR II.

Last April, Beyoncé had a slew of fans, and maybe some haters, staying up past their bedtimes to watch her turn Coachella's stage into a halftime homecoming show. As the first black woman to headline the festival, the singer reveals the vision came to her while singing to Rumi Carter. "I had a clear vision for Coachella," she said. "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.


Jay-Z and Beyoncé took OTR II on the road before fans even knew we'd be receiving Everything is Love. In the essay, she reveals one of her favorite moments from the tour, so far.

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.


In this era of her career, Beyoncé is working overtime to craft the narrative she wants put out in the world. Her Coachella performance and overtaking of Vogue are just a preview of what the next leg of her career could look like. Is it possible that Anna Wintour could be out of a job?

Kristin Corry is a staff writer at Noisey. Follow her on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Noisey US.