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Illustration by Jackye Jiotsop

Is Beyonce Back From Her Drought or Was She Ever Really Gone?

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The Queen is back everyone! 

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past few weeks, then you know that Beyoncé will be releasing her 7th studio album on July 29. The album will be titled “Renaissance” and is rumored to have a Dance Pop genre/style. In a recent Vogue article, Edward Kobina Enninful, Chief Editor of British Vogue, describes that Beyoncé played the album for him after a lovely dinner in her LA home. He tells readers, “It’s music I love to my core. Music that makes you rise, that turns your mind to cultures and subcultures, to our people past and present, music that will unite so many on the dance floor, music that touches your soul.” 

It’s safe to say that her fans, the Beyhive, are anticipating her album drop. The hashtag #renaissance has 2 million posts on Instagram and the hashtag #renaissancebeyonce has 2.7 million videos on TikTok. The Beyhive has already made it clear that when she drops, she is going to come back with full force. Speaking of TikTok, there have been multiple videos surrounding the predictions of her new album and what it may sound like. “Fans are tired of a negro spiritual album,” said Tik Tok creator @Dezexuall, referring to Beyoncé’s previous works when she released her 2020 musical “The Gift” to complement her 2019 album “Lion King: The Gift” that peaked at #2 on the Billboard Top 200. This was an era of time when Beyonce began incorporating Afrobeats and instruments into her work. 

Before this, Beyoncé had won 28 Grammys during her 25 year career across all different areas including Blues to Pop but this was a first for the 40 year old singer. She had never branched out into the realm of Afrobeats for a whole body of work. So when this album was released, it was very confusing to the response that it was getting because she was trying something new that had been done before but she made it into her own way that would pay homage to her heritage. Since Beyoncé’s music had previously been Pop and R&B centered, there were a lot of critics who said they didn’t want to hear her voice in a new style of music. But Amaya McGee, a rising senior at Dekalb School of the Arts, isn’t one of them. “Every time I hear a song, it makes me want to go do something dope,” she says about “The Gift,” also admitting that she wished the 27 song album was longer. “[The album] made me love the color of my skin.”

“The Gift” features 14 African singers/rappers but it also featured US artists including Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, and Childish Gambino. The album served as another way for her to connect to another group of her fans and reach them through music, even if she can’t physically be there with them.  If you truly know Beyoncé’s music and her artistry, then you know that she is obsessed with the earth and somehow relating her music back to nature. With this album focusing on Trans-Atlantic African music, it could be interpreted as a love of her roots or because she is a Virgo (Earth Sign). 

Two of the highlights on this album were “Black Parade” and “Water.”

“Water” describes the natural healing it gives back to us and the earth. The beauty of Africa can not be limited or held in quantity which is what makes it so unique. But there are many similar things in culture that Africans can share. Since Africa has such a huge population, there are so many foods, ideas, clothes, and ideas that can be shared throughout the whole entire continent and the world sees that reflected throughout Beyoncé’s music videos. It is clear that Beyoncé has shown her appreciation for her African roots and that she dedicated “The Gift” to Africa in general. Since she has shown that she can represent her heritage while still being appeasing to her audience, I think in her new album she might incorporate the works of her previous album on “Renaissance.”

Though Beyoncé is not the first person to do this style of work, she has definitely inspired her audience and the world to incorporate this into theirs. As Beyonce said on “Black Parade”:  “I’m goin’ back to the South, I’m goin’ back back back back, Where my roots ain’t watered down.” If you thought The Gift is where she’ll stop her appreciation for Afro beats, just wait for “Renaissance.” 

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