Last week, I as well as thousands of other lucky fans witnessed Beyoncé’s Formation World Tour in Pittsburgh, PA at Heinz Field. Going into the show, I knew I would be blown away, and I was absolutely expecting to have a great time, but I didn’t expect to be changed, to be elevated, and to be uplifted by an extremely powerful and important message.
A lot of people have different takes on what Beyoncé primarily stands for. Some say feminism, some say racial equality, some say simply entertainment, and some would say she stands for nothing. At different points in time, I would say that I have agreed with all of these (except maybe the last one), but last night, I had something of an epiphany:
The most important message Beyoncé sends through her music, performances, videos, etc. is one of self-love, self-acceptance, self-respect, self-honor, and self-discovery.
The concert, to me, served as a narrative of what I first thought was her relationship with her husband Jay-Z, but what turned out to be her journey of self-discovery. She seamlessly intertwined old songs and new songs to tell her story.
Kicking off the opening number (‘Formation’), Queen Bey says to the audience, “If you know exactly who you are and where you come from say ‘I slay,'” which is met with the exact response you’d imagine– an entire stadium of people screaming “I slay” in unison. Then she says, “If you are proud of who you are and where you come from say ‘I slay,'” which is again met with the same response.
Then the show really began. Bey (along with dancers, band, and techies- never to be forgotten) performed songs which perhaps depicted her attitude before relationships (‘Run The World’, ‘Bow Down’).
These songs transitioned into more relationship oriented songs like ‘Mine,’ ‘Hold Up,’ and ‘Countdown’ (personal fave), which, to me, represented her first relationship (or maybe the first try with Jay).
Next, she stood alone onstage and performed ‘Me, Myself, and I’ after telling the audience, “The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself.” After that, she sang ‘Runnin,’ a song by Naughty Boy which Bey is featured on (dope music video), which features the line, “if I lose myself, I lose it all.” To me, this represents her getting back to herself after a relationship ends, something that happens to us all after an important relationship is over.
I don’t want to give any more of the show away in case any of you are lucky enough to see the show, but the rest of the show basically continues this alternating pattern of falling hard in love and then that love ending and having to pick up the pieces of yourself afterwards. She ends the show by saying, “I’m just a girl from Houston, Texas,” with an adorable smile and laugh.
I think this tour is Beyoncé making the statement that she, just like anyone else, falls deep in love and sometimes loses herself in her relationship, but has learned with time and experience that the the most important thing in maintaining a successful relationship is to get to know yourself and to get to love yourself before you’re able to know and love someone else.
Beyoncé’s message is powerful and important. It is something beyond the political and societal statements that everyone seems to think are ruining her music. This statement is deeply personal and meant to be received by each and every one of your fans in the audience. Somehow, among all of those people, her message felt like advice from a friend.