Homecoming at Beychella
Tomorrow, Netflix will release a documentary called Homecoming that offers a behind the scenes look at the production of Beyonce’s 2018 Coachella performance. For context, Beyoncé took 2018’s festival by storm with stellar vocals, choreography, and most notably an unapologetically proud depiction of HBCU culture. While celebration of Black culture in her performance wasn’t new, this one felt different. She used her platform to celebrate HBCUs and Black Greek Life at a time when it was absolutely necessary.
Today, HBCUs face a variety of challenges, with perhaps the biggest challenge being that Black students are opting for more “mainstream” colleges. While the decision is an individual and personal choice, HBCUs are often ignorantly painted as “other” or “lesser,” when this is not the case. These are institutions rooted in the tradition of Black excellence in education, offering an inclusive experience that non-HBCUs frankly can’t offer many Black students. Nevertheless, many qualified students rob themselves of an excellent experience out of either fear of perception, or simply not understanding the experience and culture that an HBCU offers.
Ironically, some black college grads who chose not to attend an HBCU often regret their decision when looking back on their college career and things they missed. When discussing her decision to showcase HBCUs in her performance at a traditionally white dominated event, Beyonce stated ”...So that they could learn about the culture and black kids could feel good about black colleges, and if I get black kids to be interested in going to black colleges, then I’ve done my job. But it ain’t about pleasing people, it’s about doing what’s right.” Hopefully her documentary will re-inspire prospective college students to consider or attend an HBCU.