‘Beychella’ is huge

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“Y’all ready, Coachella?” Beyoncé asked the crowd as she opened her set for the popular music festival in Indio, California. By the end, fans were dubbing a new nickname for the event: Beychella.

But by the end of the two-hour set, the music festival made history.

“Coachella, thank you for allowing me to be the first black woman to headline Coachella,” Beyoncé said at the beginning of her set.

This year, Beyoncé’s set was the most-viewed Coachella performance on YouTube’s live stream of the festival. “Beychella” was streamed by 458,000 viewers on YouTube worldwide.

This is a huge step in the right direction for diversity in music and all across the entertainment industry.

From her song choices to her wardrobe variety, Mrs. Knowles-Carter had one of the most meaningful, radical and impassioned performances of the year and for nearly two hours, Beyoncé revealed several surprises to the crowd.

She was backed by an entire marching band, paying homage to historically black college football halftime shows. Her color choices in terms of wardrobe were black and gold which didn’t go unnoticed by several people as the colors represented those of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first black fraternity.

Beyond being the first black woman to headline Coachella, her set included legendary appearances from Destiny’s Child, Jay-Z and Solange Knowles (yes, I screamed).

Her performance was a melting pot of a contemporary concert and an ancestral homage and cultural accolade. She sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, often cited as the black national anthem. Beyoncé incorporated the voices of Chimamanda Adichie along with Malcolm X throughout her performance.

But even beyond the performance, Beyoncé expanded the scholarship program she launched the last year with new donations to four black universities. Through her BeyGOOD initiative, Beyoncé established the Homecoming Scholars Award program, which will award $100,000 in scholarships to Wilberforce, Tuskegee, Xavier and Bethune-Cookman universities.

This is huge. The symbolism in her performance down to the crest on her shirt (which noted a black panther, a Black Power fist, a Nubian queen and a black bee) was iconic and liberating to say the absolute least.

For the people who think Beyoncé is nowhere near as good of a performer as Michael Jackson, let people be happy with their idols. There is absolutely no reason to compare two icons who have both done their parts in being iconic.

For the selected audience who stays saying the same, “Why does everything have to be about race?” comments, Beyoncé’s performance was meaningful to the black community and people of color across the spectrum. To call her an overrated artist is to diminish her influence among everyone, including people of color.

Regardless of the comments from the opposition, Beyoncé is an icon living. She performed a 26-song set for two hours and killed her performance. Beychella was one for the books, and though I didn’t attend, the live stream was definitely worth watching.