Lessons From Beyonce’s Homecoming: How To Become A Living Legend

April 30, 2019

When she’s in the mood, Beyonce Knowles Carter, first of her name, Queen of the Beyhive knows how to make the whole world stand still. She’s been doing so for years – with albums, magazine covers and even interviews. Today, the Queen is bigger than just her music; she has her own army of loyal followers aka the Beyhive and has become a template for becoming a cultural legend.

If you take a walk through history, every legend has a moment where they ascend to that fabled status. Beyonce has many, but her 2-hour long performance at the Coachella festival could well be the best. Two years after the fact, the Queen invited us into her world with the Netflix film: Homecoming.

Apart from chronicling Beyonce’s preparation for the Coachella performance, the film is an exercise in all the things that make Beyonce who she is. If you want your name in flashing lights like everyone else, these are the biggest lessons we learned from Beyonce’s Homecoming about becoming THAT person and doing it bigger and better than anyone else. And just so you know they work, we’ve brought some familiar (icons and) legends to the party.

  • Want It. And Work For It.

I think it was Malcolm Gladwell who, in his book “Outliers”, first suggested the 10,000-hour rule. The idea is that it takes 10,000 hours of work to attain expert status at anything. Let’s start here; It takes a level of desire to dedicate 10,000 hours to anything and even more desire to do those 10,000 hours over and over again. That’s why Beyonce is who she is. If “Homecoming” is anything to go by, every moment of Beyonce’s waking life is dedicated in some way to her craft. Her dedication makes 10,000 hours feel like a day’s worth of work.

Take the fact that in childbirth, she had high blood pressure and preeclampsia, a possibly deadly pregnancy complication that led to her babies being born by emergency C-section. Beyonce recalls being afraid she would never be able to reach previous levels again but she pushed herself or 8 whole months. Fadalud! That insane work ethic is at the centre of her success. Want another example of insane dedication to one’s craft? You may not agree that Wizkid is a legend, but there is one trait that, according to everyone who knows him, set him apart from the get-go. Zero marks if you guessed it’s his work ethic.

  • Stand For Something Important. And Own That Narrative.

One of the best things about “Homecoming” and a message Beyonce herself proudly emphasises is that she is totally, defiantly and loftily black. Given the opportunity to headline such an important festival, anyone in her position would be reluctant to speak their truth. Even her mother was sceptical about putting up such a black show in front of a majority-white audience.

But Beyonce persisted and put black excellence front and centre in her set. It makes sense that her performance, a hat-tip to centuries of black culture, is filled with references to other legends like Nina Simone, and Fela Kuti.

Fela, in particular, is a poignant allusion; today, he is most remembered as Nigeria’s legendary dissenter who fought for his beliefs – he encouraged African pride, called out despots and corruption and is still a global symbol of defiance.

It also reminds me of the classic “Wait For Me” by King Sunny Ade and Onyeka Onwenu. At a time where unguarded sexual liberation was inching its way through a popular disco-fueled subculture, the two made a song that pretty much preached abstinence. It was not what most frenzied fans would have wanted to hear from the two of the biggest pop acts of the time, but it was a just cause and in standing for it, over time, the two have come to represent an inimitable standard that a new generation can only aspire to.

In a world that’s plagued by groupthink, it’s important to stand for something powerful and to live that narrative to the hilt. It’s the only way to stand out and more importantly, inspire change.

  • Surround Yourself With Winners and Future Legends

You’re only as good as your team. Beyonce’s “Homecoming” showed us the scale of work, time and dedication that went into what would eventually become known as Beychella. And even though the film has been described as a display of Beyonce just the way she wants us to see her, you can’t ignore the number of people moving and making things happen behind the scenes.

Contrary to what you may have heard, Beyonce did not wake up like this. From the planning table to the main stage, it took nearly 200 talented, dedicated and driven people to make the show a success. It takes a huge team, it takes a village, and I think we all worked to our limit,” Beyoncé said in the Netflix film.

When you’re on the road to greatness, the only people you need by your side are the people who are headed in the same destination. It makes the success sweeter – “We all performed with all of our heart, and we performed with love and connection, and we did it together.” Beyonce said.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to find local examples; many of our greatest collectives or teams have broken off by factors ranging from greed to a desire to be in the spotlight, leaving talented artistes with rookies who can’t bring their dreams to life. You’re only as good as your team.

  • Make A Statement

Sure, it was the first time a black woman was headlining Coachella. Sure, it was barely months after she had twins. Sure, she personally selected each dancer, every light, the material on the steps, the height of the pyramid, the shape of the pyramid, according to Vanity Fair. But everything Beyonce did was directed towards a single purpose, making a statement.

After cancelling the previous year, staying out of the limelight to have her kids and not releasing any more music for a while, Beyonce could have shown up with a regular set and it would have been good enough for any regular artiste. Instead, she took it a step further and put on a show worthy of her status.

That single decision is reminiscent of Fela Kuti’s set at the Berlin Jazz stage in 1977. Fela, like Beyonce, had built up quite the following at the time. He had become the de-facto face of dissent against successive tyrants and for all his troubles, lost his mother and his freedom on several occasions. His performance at the Berlin Jazzstage was supposed to be a showcase of his music.

Instead, Fela turned it into a declaration of his origin and intent. From the beginning, every performer, down to the man holding the shekere was recognised by name, before Fela was introduced for a performance where he gave a few lessons in Pidgin, made a few jokes and brought the problems of post-colonial Africa for a former colonial master’s front door.

No-one can tell the future, but on the days when we discuss music, culture and the moments that cemented legacies, Beychella and Fela’s performance at the Zenith in Paris will be two of them and it will be just because these two legends decided ‘good’ just wasn’t good enough.

Segun Akande

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

December 9, 2020

For many people, music transcends sound and goes beyond the physical, and into the spiritual. Pharmacist turned musician, Kinsolo is one of those people. His recent release “Grooveland” is proof that you have to tap into the spirit to make good music. I spoke to him about his journey as a musician so far and […]


Now on Zikoko

Recommended Quizzes

April 9, 2020

At some point in life, we all learnt that someone can be very intelligent and still lack common sense. That’s the difference between being book smart and being street smart. If you’re not sure where on the spectrum you fall, well, that’s what this quiz is here to tell you. Take it:

how tall are you
March 11, 2020

Did your parents give you enough beans when you were growing up? If they did, then you’re probably around 6’0″ and above. Either way, we created a quiz that can guess your current height (pretty accurately, if we do say so ourselves). Take to see if we nailed it:

November 28, 2019

There are so many talented and stunning Nollywood actors that make it hard not to fall in love with them. So, while we all know the likelihood of us ending up with any of them is super low, it’s still fun to imagine a world where we actually stood a chance, and that’s why this […]

November 22, 2019

It can be very stressful when you’re trying to find the love of your life, but you only keep meeting people that are exactly like your yeye ex. To help you be more aware of that problem, we’ve created a quiz that lets you know the kind of people you are attracting. Take it to […]

What are you like in a relationship?
February 7, 2020

Your taste in music can say a lot about you, and this time, it’s going to reveal what you are like in a relationship. So, pick a few of your favourite Nigerian love songs, and we’ll let you know if you’re typically a distant, passionate or unbothered partner. Here you go:

More from Pop

September 14, 2021

It was yet another Thursday games night on the BBNaija Season 6 show with TECNO and it was a very creative one. As you know, TECNO has been on the Season 6 journey with the housemates since it began and they have not disappointed. With the TECNO Phantom X dolling out incredible pictures of the […]

September 14, 2021

Watching the BBNaija show comes with different stages. You may not notice it, but somehow you go through a complete metamorphosis from the first week you watch the show to the last week when the winner is finally announced. The viewer you were at the beginning of the show is dramatically different from the viewer […]


Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.