No one runs a tighter ship than Beyoncé.
In an age of constant social media oversharing, there are never any leaks from the pop star’s camp. She does no press. When Bey wants to get away from the spotlight, she all but disappears.
And so, in the months before she became the first black woman to headline the Coachella music festival last year, no one knew Beyoncé was ditching convention to put on a massive, two-hour tribute to HBCUs and black Greek life, complete with a custom pyramid stage, a killer drumline and roughly 100 dancers.
And she did it all less than a year after giving birth to her twins with Jay-Z, a boy and girl named Sir and Rumi.
How did she do it? In Netflix’s new concert film “Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé” – released Wednesday along with a surprise Coachella live album of the same name – it’s revealed exactly how she pulled off Beychella and what the superstar’s life is like as a new mom of three. Here are five things you need to know.
Bey had an ‘extremely difficult’ pregnancy with the twins
In “Homecoming,” which runs two hours and 17 minutes, Beyoncé opens up about how difficult her pregnancy with the twins was, sharing intimate shots of her expanding belly and the twins’ birth.
“I had an extremely difficult pregnancy,” Beyoncé says, revealing she suffered from toxemia, high blood pressure and preeclampsia. As she neared her due date in June 2017, when one of the twins’ heartbeats dipped, she underwent an emergency C-section. “My body went through more than I knew it could,” she says.
Getting back into shape after the twins was seriously grueling
Sharing footage her jittery first rehearsal post-birth, Beyoncé keeps it real in the documentary. “I was 218 pounds the day I gave birth,” she says. Ten months later she emerged at Coachella in amazing form, but the documentary disproves the notion that any of it was easy. “I had to rebuild my body from cut muscles” after her C-section, she says. And the whole time “my mind wanted to be with the babies,” she says. “What people don’t see is the sacrifice.”
To get in Coachella shape, Beyoncé ate no carbs, no sugar, no dairy, no meat, no fish and drank no alcohol. “And I’m hungry,” she admits in the film, snacking on an apple. Then, the payoff: a month before the show, an all-too-relatable moment arrives when the pop star tries on an old costume. “Big deal! It zipped!” she exclaims, Facetiming Jay-Z to show him.
Flower crowns were never an option
Beyoncé knows the rep of desert festival all too well. “When I decided to do Coachella, instead of me pulling out my flower crown, it was more important that I brought our culture to Coachella,” she says. Beyoncé says she “always dreamed of going to an HBCU, but instead, “my college was Destiny’s Child and traveling around the world and life was my teacher.”
To achieve the scope of the collegiate-focused show, Beyoncé prepped the music design of Beychella for four months before an additional four months of dance rehearsals even started. “Homecoming” shares her prayer with the crew: “I ask that we’re able to touch people and give them hope. And make people feel beautiful and strong, and united.”
Blue Ivy steals the show
From attending dance rehearsals and miming mom’s choreography to sweetly singing an a cappella version of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” Blue Ivy, Bey and Jay’s firstborn, is the pint-size star of “Homecoming.” “I want to do that again. It feels good!” Blue says after singing the Black National Anthem. And when you see her little bun pop up front-row at Coachella as she cheers on her mom? The heart, it melts!
No detail was too small
There was no detail of the show the “super-specific” Beyoncé didn’t touch, including the patches on her dancers’ Balmain costumes.
She was equally adamant about sound quality. At one point, the show’s stomps and drumline beats just weren’t translating past the stage, frustrating the headliner at a rehearsal. “Until I see some of my notes come alive, it doesn’t make sense for me to make more,” she says plainly in a team meeting. At that point, Bey excuses herself to go have an anniversary dinner with Jay, who sits beside her. Jay grins exiting with his boss wife. “OK guys,” he salutes with a grin.
Read more at usatoday.com.