For its 19th year, Coachella enlisted its first black female headliner—Beyoncé to slay the stage and perform for over 100,000 music festival attendees and millions of streaming viewers. One year later, Beyoncé reminds us her work ethic is unmatched, dropping her new Netflix original, Homecoming, featuring her groundbreaking Coachella performance in addition to some behind-the-scenes clips. In these brief, but powerful moments, viewers get an authentic lens into Beyoncé’s life, thoughts, and challenges—as a woman, minority, mother, and professional. Her journey and determination are universally inspirational. However, as a woman of color, Homecoming served as a much-needed source of empowerment. Here are a few inspirational takeaways following Beyoncé’s Homecoming:
You Can Have It All
Throughout Homecoming, Beyoncé speaks to the tactful balance of work and motherhood. For many working moms, I can imagine a sense of camaraderie as she details her experience. In one behind-the-scenes clip, we see new mom Beyoncé as she tries to cope with her new body—covering her post-partum pooch while struggling to catch her breath during rehearsal. A strikingly different view compared to the picture-perfect mother we’re used to seeing. She acknowledged the challenges she had to overcome, working before she was mentally or physically ready. At one point she confesses, “My mind was not there. My mind wanted to be with my children.” Unfortunately, her words are not uncommon. As seen in our blog post on Women’s Day, only 12 percent of women in the private sector have access to any sort of paid maternity leave and 25 percent of women are forced to return to work within two weeks of giving birth to support their families. Nevertheless, Beyoncé exemplifies the phrase power through, as she still manages to successfully complete six months of rigorous rehearsals, abide by a strict low-calorie diet, manage over 200 dancers and performers—all while tending to her three young children. Beyoncé showed us that with #girlpower and ample determination, you can have it all.
Know Your Worth
Unfortunately, the pay discrepancy among men and women in the US is still prevalent. Those most affected by the pay gap are black and Hispanic women—earning 67% to 58% of what men earn. In a recent McKinsey report, data shows the promotion rate to manager is the lowest for black women compared to any race and gender. For every 100 men promoted to manager, just 60 black women are promoted. However, there is hope and reason to be inspired. Beyoncé, and her $500 million net-worth, provides a winning model for success as she reportedly walked away from her Coachella performance with an $8 million check. Wow! However, her brilliance shines through when evaluating the streams of income following the event. Attaining a $60 million partnership with Netflix, selling her live performance tracks to all major streaming platforms, and releasing new Homecoming-branded apparel, Beyoncé creates additional opportunities to pay herself. Ranked as the fastest growing subgroup of entrepreneurs in the US, it appears women of color are taking notes and taking action to create additional streams of revenue that may mitigate potential pay discrepancies. The quest to equal pay is still ongoing, but Beyoncé illustrates the importance of knowing your true worth, even if that means cultivating your own additional generators of revenue.
Stay True To Yourself
Beyoncé’s mother, Tina Knowles-Lawson, shared her initial concerns about her daughter’s Coachella performance—worried the audience would not “get” it. Following the controversy of the Super Bowl, her concerns were valid. Beyoncé responded, “I have worked very hard to get to the point where I have a true voice, and at this point in my life and my career, I have a responsibility to do what’s best for the world and not what is most popular.” Oftentimes, I see women of color undergo the unique experience of working in a space as both a race and gender minority. With women of color representing only 4% of C- level positions in the US (falling behind white men 68% and white women 19%), adapting and blending in majority white spaces is sometimes less intimidating than remaining individualist. However, Beyoncé embodies what is means to stay true to oneself by fueling confidence and empowerment for those who need it. Giving an unapologetic ode to black culture, body inclusivity, and female strength Beyoncé took a professional risk and remained steadfast in who she is and what she believes. Brava!