Before you get excited about me doing an illustration of Beyoncé, you should know I wasn’t always a fan of hers. I didn’t hate her, though my husband and I loooooved making fun of “The 13 Most Ridiculous Things About I Am Yours” (which sadly, is no longer on Youtube) and we so felt like the SNL sketch, “The Beygency” was the story of our lives (watch it here). I grew up on Destiny’s Child and “I loved Single Ladies”, but I was kind of whatever about her (I’m for real looking over my shoulder for any signs of The Beygancy as I write this). I know. I’m the worst. You probably can’t comprehend how anyone could feel complacent about the Queen. I did keep all the issues of Vogue that she was graced the covers of. So am I redeemable?!
So what changed my mind about her? Maybe it was when she shared her story of her pregnancy and the struggle to have her twins. Perhaps it was watching Jay-Z on David Letterman’s “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction" and hearing him talk about her and how he made the biggest mistake of his life and how he fought for their marriage. Beyoncé became relatable to me. When The Carters’ Ape Shit video came out, I cried! It’s was beautifully filmed and seeing the husband and wife work together was just beautiful to me (am I sounding so sentimental and cheesy?!?!). So as I learned more about Beyoncé, she became a person who I found inspiring and powerful! I want to channel her goodness and strength! I’m so crazy in love (yes, I did it) with her that I even preached the good word of Beyoncé to the Young Women I teach at church . . . and yes, in a Sunday lesson (mic drop)!
I’ve read Beyoncé’s September Vogue interview over and over again, highlighting her words that spoke to me and gushing over the beautiful photos that Tyler Mitchell took of her. Here are my favorite quotes from her interview. Also, can we laugh at how this portrait started out looking like Solange?!?!
PREGNANCY & BODY ACCEPTANCE
I think it’s important for women and men to see and appreciate the beauty in their natural bodies.
To this day my arms, shoulders, breast, and thighs are fuller. I have a little mommy pouch, and I’m in no rush to get rid of it.
. . . right now, my little FUPA (Fat Upper Pubic Area) and I feel like we are meant to be.
When I first started, 21 years ago, I was told that it was hard for me to get onto covers of magazines because black people did not sell.
It’s important to me that I help open doors fro younger artist. There are so many cultural and societal barriers to entry that I like to do what I can to level the playing field, to present a different point of view for people who may feel like their voices don’t matter.
Connecting to the past and knowing our history makes us both bruised and beautiful.
. . . I come from a slave owner who fell in love with and married a slave. I had to process that revelation over time. . .I now believe it’s why God blessed me with my twins. Male and female energy was able to coexist and grow in my blood for the first time.
I’ve been through hell and back, and I’m grateful for every scar.
I’m not alive unless I am creating something. I’m not happy if I’m not creating, if I’m not dreaming, if I’m not creating a dream and making it into something real.
It was a celebration of all the people who sacrificed more than we could ever imagine, who moved the world forward so that it could welcome a woman of color to headline such a festival.
Less than 90 years later, two black people performed [at the Berlin Olympia-stadion] to a packed, sold-out stadium.
As a mother of two girls, it’s important to me that they see themselves too . . . as long as they’re authentic, respectful, compassionate, and empathetic.
I want [my son] to know that he can be strong and brave but that he can also be sensitive and kind.
I’m in a place of gratitude right now . . . I am accepting of who I am. I will continue to explore every inch of my soul and every part of my artistry. I want to learn more, teach more, and live in full.