2018 was the year Beyoncé claimed Coachella for black culture and we happily surrendered it. In fact, we insisted she take it, because that 2 hour spectacle — a stunning performance, a cultural movement, and an ode to Historically Black Colleges and Universities — was more than we could ever hope to deserve. Beyoncé can run me over with a car and I’d be ok with it.
But her statement didn’t end that night; people have been talking about it ever since and on April 17th 2019, a year after her #Beychella debut, Beyoncé dropped a documentary on Netflix titled Homecoming, that chronicled the performance from its conception to its final display on an international stage. In conjunction with this she also released an album titled HOMECOMING: THE LIVE ALBUM which contains all 40 songs from Beychella. One might argue that this documentary — released during the height of Coachella 2019 — distracted from the actual ongoing festival and transported us back to a performance some of us would kill to relive. But who’s complaining? According to Variety, this deal (which is rumoured to be the first in a three-part series) is worth a hefty 60 million dollars. Netflix declined to comment and has not released any official statistics on the show, but we can be certain that it has been streamed countless of times. I’m not ashamed to say I watched it thrice back to back.
Can we talk about how two strong, intelligent, admirable African American women whom, at various points of their own, have stopped the world (a #FeelingMyself reference) and made us listen are now making headlines together? Michelle Obama has never come out in such a fashion to laud and praise a pop star but Beyoncé is undoubtedly deserving.
The #Beychella hashtag will not die. Let’s take a look at how it’s been used since it’s conception in April 2018 till now.
While the hashtag has clearly been in use since Coachella 2018, the two important numbers to look at are from April and December, which represent the two peaks in use last year. 266K doesn’t appear like a high number in relation to the total reach of 101M, but we have to bear in mind that this was the first time Coachella audiences were privy to ‘Beychella’. In fact, apart from being used during a voiceover by DJ Khaled during a rendition of Top Off, the term was not officially used as a hashtag — Beyoncé herself didn’t use it on her Instagram posts.
The hashtag spread modestly amongst fans and the black community who used it to express their awe and gratitude, seeing their people represented so fearlessly on stage. So to have reached an audience of 266K in an unofficial manner is quite a feat.
This number witnessed an immense jump in December 2018 and January 2019, reaching an audience of 101M. What are the reasons?
- The Carters win the Grammy Award for Best Urban Contemporary Album for their first collaborative studio album titled EVERYTHING IS LOVE.
- The Carters win the BET Hip Hop Award for Best Album of the Year.
- EVERYTHING IS LOVE makes it to the US Billboard 200 Year-End Chart.
- Kennedy Holmes brings Beychella to ‘The Voice’ Finale.
- The audio tracks for Beychella are released on YouTube and SoundCloud.
- Forbes and Vogue Magazine named Beyonce’s Coachella performance a top-defining moment in music and pop culture history.
- Beyoncé announces her collaboration with Netflix.
This was more than enough reason for the #Beychella hashtag to start trending again, stronger than it was the first time, especially after Homecoming.
Note that these numbers don’t include the audience reached by Beyoncé’s own posts (considering she hardly uses captions, let alone hashtags), nor the other posts that talked about Beychella without using the hashtags #Beychella and #BeyonceHomecoming. So just imagine how much higher these numbers actually are.
While we identified peaks on the 8th and 13th April respectively, the most notable increase was on 17th April, which is when the hashtag reached an audience of 71M people on this day alone. Beyoncé was the first person to announce the release of her documentary, followed by media moguls Rolling Stone, Cosmopolitan, Teen Vogue and many others, which accounts [contributed] for this peak.
The #Beychella concept has also been reused quite a number of times, post-Coachella. Consider the Fab Five’s performance on Lip Sync Battle in January where they valiantly tried to recreate her iconic set, down to the Balmain hoodie and Louboutin boots.
This is Tan’s second most liked post this year.
The Queer Eye performance went viral and was a testament to how much people continued to talk about Beychella, long after the fact. Coachella themselves hasn’t been able to let go of their first African American headliner (about time!). Just a month after the festival, they posted a ‘Throwback Thursday’ video of Beychella and this year, they have preserved Beyoncé’s pyramid stage as a part of the Coachella exhibits.
This was @coachella’s most viewed video in 2018.
#Beychella is not easily forgotten, and rightfully so. Her legacy persists despite the fact that she was not formally or physically a part of the festival this year. While those present at Beychella are eternally #blessed, Homecoming makes Beyoncé’s essential tribute to HBCU institutions, people of colour, women, mothers, and a beautiful culture, language, & reality as a whole an experience that the world can encounter, as many times as they like.
This is the 2nd in a series of 4 articles about Coachella. Read about the important metrics from Coachella 2019, and look out for our next article on a comparison of names, brands, and influencers across Coachella 2018 and 2019.