Episode 28: No Passengers On My Plane
In today’s episode, I share with you what I learned from Beyoncé’s Netflix Documentary, Homecoming.
On April 14, 2018, Beyoncé slayed my WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE.
I can remember it quite vividly. I watched Beychella on YouTube with the rest of the world. At the time, Lyric was 9 months old and she slept through the entire thing. I said, “Glory be to God,” because I got to watch the entire show uninterrupted. I was sleep deprived and I did not care.
Let’s talk numbers real quick: According to Wikipedia, Beyoncé's performance garnered 458,000 simultaneous viewers to become the festival's most viewed performance to date, and the entire festival had 41 million total viewers from around the world, making it the most watched live streamed event of all time
I remember feeling so very proud of her -- Texas’ own mother of three 36 year old strong black woman running the entire music game. It’s no secret -- I love Beyoncé. I can remember purchasing the Destiny’s Child CD single of NO, NO, NO back in 1997. Like King B says herself, “I been on,” honey. The love is real.
To my utter surprise and delight, this year on April 17th, she released Homecoming, a Netflix documentary that takes us behind the scenes of this iconic, once in a lifetime performance. Ya’ll know I had to check out the documentary and I had all sorts of tremendo a-ha moments as I watched.
In this modern day instaculture of selfies and Twitter fingers, Beyoncé is über private and has done a masterful job when it comes to crafting her brand message. She doesn’t respond to rumors and makes sure that the focus is on her talent, her music, her message.
As I’m watching Homecoming, I’m literally having epiphanies left and right. I’m going to share those with you right now. Here are six things I learned from Beyoncé’s Homecoming:
Even Beyoncé rehearses.
I recently had a jam session with one of my HBs who I absolutely adore. We were talking about how long Beyoncé’s been in the game and how there’s a temptation to look at the “end result” and think, “Well, it’s because she’s Beyoncé. I can’t do that because I’m not Beyoncé.”
Homecoming really pulled back the curtain and showed us that Beyoncé 2019 is putting in that work just like Beyoncé 1997 did. She absolutely embodies the lyrics of her 2009 song, Diva, where she sang, “Now Diva is a female version of a hustla.”
I want you to consider that she started rehearsing for Beychella eight months before showtime. Eight months of hard work getting her mind and body ready. As Big Freedia says, “She did not come to play with you.” She didn’t rely on her past success and reputation as Beyoncé. She didn’t just plan on showing up on the stage and walk around singing.
In other words, she takes what she’s doing so seriously that she shows up and shows out every single time.
As I watched Homecoming, I thought to myself, “What would happen in my life and my business if I showed up every single time the same way that Beyoncé does? What would happen if I took my life purpose, my worthiness, my brilliance that seriously?”
🤯 Insert exploding brain emoji here. 🤯
Don’t get it twisted: I’m not saying this so that you can get down on yourself. I know it’s easy to compare your life and your access to resources to that of Beyoncé’s. “Well, LaTisha, she has a personal chef, trainer, nannies, glam squad, Parkwood team, faithful fanbase, talent, etc. I don’t have any of that.”
Yes, you’re absolutely right. Beyoncé has a fantastic team behind her and all of that contributes to her massive success.
However, I want you to consider the mindset that was needed in order to build all of that to begin with. You see, back in the day, Beyoncé didn’t have that team. Mama Tina was hand sewing Destiny’s Child performance costumes. As her success grew, so did her team.
What really matters here is Beyoncé’s mindset, her dedication to her craft, her willingness to stay humble and rehearse.
She understands that the day you plant the seed may not be the same day that you eat the fruit. I think that’s what a lot of us aren’t understanding or remembering. Anything worthwhile takes time, effort, persistence and faith. We want the end result now, now, now. Even Beyoncé understands that rehearsal is important.
Perhaps “I woke up like this” has more to do with a mindset of excellence and a willingness to do what it takes to make your dreams come true. Maybe a more empowering way of interpreting those famous lyrics is that when you wake up in the morning, you already have everything you need inside of you to explore what your purpose is and then go out there and make it happen. It’s so much more than having picture perfect hair, make-up and clothing. It’s your commitment to yourself. It’s taking yourself seriously. It’s rehearsing even if you’re already at a Beyoncé level in your life.
2. Everyone has a chapter that they don’t read out loud.
For those of you who don’t keep up with Beyoncé, here’s a little bit of her timeline mixed in with mine: Beyoncé gave birth to twins, Sir and Rumi, on June 13, 2017, three weeks before my daughter, Lyric was born. Beychella took place in April of 2018. At the time, her twins had just turned 10 months and Lyric was 9 months old.
While I was so proud of her and inspired by her performance, I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t also have a moment where I was super hard on myself. I found myself thinking, “Beyoncé and I are pretty close in age and our kids are close in age. She had twins and I only had one baby. Here she is kicking Coachella’s ass and I’m having a really tough time navigating this chapter of my life as a new mom. You can’t even tell that she just had twins. I, on the other hand, still look pregnant. Uggggghhh.” I was being really hard on myself.
What I didn’t know at the time was everything Beyoncé had gone through during her pregnancy, labor + delivery and postpartum:
In Homecoming she shares,
When I was pregnant with Lyric, I didn’t get the glow. I was sick pretty much the entire pregnancy and I struggled a lot both personally and physically. At the time, having a c-section never crossed my mind. I didn’t even research it, to be honest, because I was so certain that I’d have a natural, vaginal delivery.
I will tell you that there is nothing scarier than a slew of strangers rushing into your room, prepping you for an emergency c-section because your baby’s heart rate has dropped drastically.
For those of you who know some of my story, I prayed for Lyric 3.5 years before she was born. Needless to say, I was terrified and would have done anything to make sure that she was born healthy. I had the c-section. The complications didn’t stop there. My incision didn’t heal properly and there was a chance that they’d actually have to go in and re-open to fix it. For the next eight weeks, I saw my doctor every single week so that he could monitor my progress.
What I didn’t know at the time was that a c-section is major surgery -- I recently learned that when you have a c-section they actually cut through six layers of stuff before they get the baby out.
Afterwards I felt like I had been hit by a bus. Oh, and not to mention, I now have this beautiful baby who is up every 1-3 hours and who can only communicate with me by crying. To say that I felt exhausted and overwhelmed is a gross understatement. I didn’t think that my body would ever feel normal again. For me, it took a full year to feel “normal.”
When I watched Homecoming, I had a moment where I broke down well, 1) because I cry easily and 2) because I could totally resonate with her. I thought back to when I first watched Beychella on YouTube and how hard I had been on myself. I sent compassion to that younger version of me judging herself harshly as she watched one of her favorite entertainers kill it on stage. I wish she would have known that she and Beyoncé, the Beyoncé, had so much in common. I know she would’ve had compassion on herself.
I learned that even Beyoncé has struggles. Although I wish I could’ve known this real time, I am grateful that she included this in Homecoming.
I hope that all the mothers out there, juggling a new baby, a blooming career and feeling some semblance of normalcy in their bodies will see this documentary and have some compassion on themselves.
3. Celebrate who you are.
Coachella is a music and arts festival that has a certain Bohemian flower crown, peace signs in the air vibe. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. I’m all about people being true to what they love and if you love that, rock on with your bad self.
What I love about Beychella is that Beyoncé didn’t come with flower crown vibes. Had she, I’m sure she totally rocked it. Instead of conforming to Coachella, she said, “Nah, we gon’ do this differently. I’m gon’ bring some HBCU flavor to you.”
I didn’t have the HBCU experience. I went to a women’s college in Atlanta. However, my high school experience was very much influenced by the HBCU culture. I remember watching our football team get in a circle and chant “We ready, we ready” and hype themselves into a frenzy. I loved watching the step team perform at the Black History Show and the Black National Anthem still brings me to tears. In Homecoming, she shares quotes from prominent black figures such as Nina Simone, Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison.
What a beautiful lesson in staying true to who you are. Oftentimes it feels easier to just go with the flow and do what everybody else is doing. It’s easy, right? Many of us do this daily because we don’t want to risk the vulnerability and often negative consequences of being different.
I’ll tell you this, though: it’s the things that make you different, the things that make you unique that ultimately make you unforgettable.
I love how Beyoncé created a homage to her culture, her roots, her experience as a black woman. She wanted her people to be able to see themselves represented on that stage. I am so hopeful when I think of all the young people who will watch this documentary and see their greatness reflected back to them. I pray that they are empowered to stand in their power, both individually and collectively.
Here’s the thing: by standing in her power and celebrating her blackness, she created something that spoke to not only the black community but to everybody. While this performance was primarily crafted as tribute to black excellence and HBCU culture within the black community, it also allows people from other cultures to gain an appreciation of black excellence.
I hope that you’ll remember this as you navigate your life, HB.
You are here to be the most authentic version of you, not a watered down attempt at being someone else. You are once in a lifetime and you are a celebration of life itself, just as you are. When you do this, you show others the way to embracing who they are. That’s truly magical.
4. Be open to collaboration.
Another thing that struck me about Homecoming is Beyoncé’s approach to creating Beychella. Ego wants everything to be about me, me, me. However, I think it’s more powerful when we approach life with we, we, we.
Case in point: look at the performance.
All of these talented dancers, singers and musicians that graced the stage and absolutely killed it. It showed me that together we are more powerful than when we are doing things alone.
Harnessing the creative genius of a group is what it’s all about. There’s no one alive today that is good at every single thing. It’s when we take the approach of leveraging each other’s strengths that we can create something that is truly exceptional.
Beychella is the prime example of that.
Another thing that I want to point out is how at the beginning they gave themselves permission to explore, experiment and vibe. They had moments where everyone just danced and then they started crafting the show from there.
Oftentimes, we don’t do that for ourselves. We want to rush the process to get to the end result and that’s just not how beautiful things are made. I have worked with many clients who tell me, “LaTisha, I don’t know what I want. I don’t know where to begin.”
To which I say, just begin.
You are standing in front of a blank canvas. Give yourself permission to paint and paint without thinking of the end result. Paint because it feels good and because you are letting yourself feel free and see what comes up. Let the creation flow from you without having to be in control or having a set agenda. Let the process organically evolve.
Micromanaging creativity usually doesn’t birth brilliance. Surrendering to the uncertainty and allowing something beautiful to bloom is what it’s all about.
If you make a mistake, that’s okay. You pivot from there. It’s like all those Bob Ross videos from the 80s, where he would narrate what he was doing, “We’re gonna paint a tree here and a little bird there.”
5. It’s absolutely okay for you to have hard conversations, advocate for yourself and set boundaries.
I loved watching Beyoncé in meetings with her creative team where she delivered her notes. I’m certain that it wasn’t the most comfortable of conversations for anyone there.
Not once did she shrink herself and play small. Not once did she worry that she was stepping on other people’s toes. Not once did she apologize for her attention to detail. Not once did she doubt herself and not raise her hand to give her opinion.
I know you’re thinking, “Duh, LaTisha. She’s in charge. She’s the boss. Of course, she’s gonna do that.”
I want you to consider that you’re in charge, too. You are the CEO of My Life, Inc.
You deserve to take up space, to have your voice heard, to contribute your opinions and ideas, to advocate for yourself and to set boundaries that honor and nourish you. I want you to consider that the way you treat yourself sets the tone for how others treat you.
If you carry yourself like a boss, you will be treated like one.
Don’t get it twisted: I’m not saying to take the approach of being nasty to others and saying, “My way or the highway.” Not at all. I’m saying that it’s important for you to listen to others AND listen to yourself. You are just as important as anyone else and you deserve a seat at the table. Or if you wanna build your own table, you glow, girl.
I know she was joking when she said, “I gotta go home to my fifty-eleven children,” but that’s a real thing. She is saying, “Hey, my time is important. I gotta handle my business. Okay, bye-bye.”
How many of us don’t do that and just let people walk all over us for the sake of people pleasing and not wanting to feel guilty and selfish for taking care of ourselves? Then we feel like we are spread thin and just spent.
Nah, boo. It is absolutely okay for you to show up for yourself and take care of yourself.
6. Trust the divine timing of your life.
Originally Beyoncé was supposed to perform at the 2017 Coachella, but she found out that she was pregnant. She decided to come back in 2018 and Lady Gaga took her place in the 2017 line-up.
I think that for most of us, we’ve created this perfect timeline for our lives and we get so set on it. Graduate, career, marriage, babies, etc. We set this in stone and recite it back to ourselves subconsciously as we go through our lives. Then we get thrown off when things don’t go according to plan. Maybe things showed up out of order or didn’t show up at all. We feel down and defeated because we failed to meet an expectation that we set for ourselves.
I’m certain that, had she performed in 2017, it would have been just as magical. I mean, c’mon, it’s Beyoncé, right? However, I’d like to think that God knew what he was doing and Beyoncé received blessings that she maybe didn’t even see coming … AND she shut Coachella all the way down in 2018.
I hope you’ll remember this when you are getting down on yourself because things aren’t happening as fast as you’d like or because life has thrown in a detour or exit that you didn’t anticipate.
Trust that, no matter what, God’s got your back and allow the unfolding to bring blessings that you couldn’t even begin to fathom to you. You are right where you’re supposed to be. You’re not being left behind. You’re not off schedule.
Keep rehearsing. Celebrate who you are. Collaborate with others. Know that we all have a chapter we don’t read aloud. Keep the faith that everything is working out in your favor.
HB, you are the Beyoncé of your own life.
You are here for a purpose, even if, at this time, you aren’t really sure what that purpose is. When you stand in your power, when you celebrate who you are, when you advocate for your self-care, when you rehearse and when you trust the timing of your life, you open the floodgates of God’s grace to pour into your life and do more than you could ever possibly imagine.
You are just as precious to God as Beyoncé is. Never forget that.
Trust that with all your heart. You can do great things, things that seem impossible for you. You are that powerful.
Now it’s your turn. Leave a comment below and let me know what you learned from Homecoming. How can you take what you learned and apply it to your own life?
I’m cheering for you. Like you woke up like this.