Beyoncé documentary is a triumphant celebration

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The Netflix film, featuring rehearsal and live footage of her 2018 Coachella performance, is one of the all-time great concert docs

Throughout Homecoming, the new Netflix documentary chronicling Beyoncé’s monumental performance at the 2018 Coachella music festival, quotes from distinguished black creatives and intellectuals appear at various points, serving as interstitial title cards between footage of the concert and its tireless gestation. They include WEB DuBois, Nina Simone, Toni Morrison and Reginald Lewis, suggesting not only Beyoncé’s reverence for her forerunners but her own by-now-unequivocal stature in the pantheon of black American greatness.

The most potent of these quotes, however, the one most illustrative of the resplendent and genuinely paradigm-shifting show Beyoncé put on in Indio, comes from Audre Lorde. “Without community,” Lorde said in a speech delivered exactly 40 years ago, “there is no liberation.” Beyoncé, joined on stage by more than 200 performers, turns that soundbite into triumphant roar, crafting an experience whose emphasis on the whole – the masterfully synchronized and color-coordinated corps of dancers, back-up singers, majorettes, trumpet players, et al – gives it the feeling of visual, aural communion.

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