With its awe-inspiring choreography, and uplifting tribute to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé set a new standard for concert movies.
The Netflix documentary — co-directed and produced by Beyoncé — chronicles the singer’s performance in 2018, as the first African-American woman to headline the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
The groundbreaking performance is a defining moment for the singer, and her family, particularly her mom Tina Knowles-Lawson.
“It was the proudest moment of my life,” Knowles-Lawson told Urban Hollywood 411 and other reporters on April 13, at the Black Design Collective’s first annual scholarship tribute gala in Los Angeles.
Knowles-Lawson was among dozens of fashionistas, including Gabrielle Union and Beverly Johnson, who gathered to talk fashion and film, as the collective honored Oscar-winning Black Panther costume designer Ruth E. Carter.
Knowles-Lawson, known for her House of Deréon and Miss Tina by Tina Knowles brands, said she watched clips of Homecoming with her daughter, but hadn’t yet seen the completed film.
“I have seen it in early stages at her house,” she explained. “I wanted to wait until it was finished to see it with everybody else.”
On April 17, Netflix released Homecoming, which pays homage to HBCUs and the step-dancing routines synonymous with homecoming on black college campuses.
Knowles-Lawson recalled initially having reservations about the theme of Beyoncé’s set, saying she was worried that the predominantly white audience at Coachella “might not understand” references to the black college experience.
“We were on a plane afterwards and I said, ‘you know, a lot of people didn’t understand it,’” the mother-of-two told reporters on the red carpet. “I’m used to hearing such crazy, roaring applause [during Beyoncé’s performances], and she did get applause, but it was confusing sometimes.”
The 65-year-old entrepreneur, whose other daughter Solange Knowles is also a performer, said Beyoncé told her the point of the performance was to celebrate black culture and to open minds.
“She said, ‘mom, let them go research it and figure it out. That’s why I did it, so that they could learn about the culture and black kids could feel good about black colleges,’” she recalled Beyoncé telling her.
At the end of the film, a message from the Grammy-winning singer appears on-screen explaining why she admires HBCUs.
“So many people who are culturally aware and intellectually sound are graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, including my father. There is something incredibly important about the HBCU experience that must be celebrated and protected,” the message says.
Knowles-Lawson noted that Beyoncé told her the performance wasn’t “about pleasing people,” but rather doing “what’s right.”
“I was ashamed,” she said about her initial reaction to her daughter’s performance, adding that she later stood “corrected.”