Beyoncé Is Back — What A Time To Be Hive

Photo: Larry Busacca/PW/WireImage.
As a Black girl from Houston, Texas, liking Beyoncé has always been part of my culture. After all, she is one of us, born and bred in the same streets that we grew up in, no stranger to all things slow, loud, and banging. We watched her grow up with pride, sharing in her success because we were cut from the same cloth. She was ours, and we were proud of her. But on 13th December, 2013, my casual hometown support of Beyoncé turned into a full-blown love affair. That was the day I became part of the BeyHive.
When Twitter first alerted me to the unexpected new Beyoncé release on that fateful day, I was in my second year of college, “studying” for my linguistics final, praying that God would somehow let me absorb the concepts by osmosis. As I abandoned my last-minute studies to pore over every aspect of her new  project — I found that Beyoncé, the fifth studio album in her discography, was a masterpiece from start to finish, a sonic and visual journey that saw Beyoncé push the boundaries of what I thought was possible in music. I knew that I was smack dab in the middle of a culturally defining moment that you had to live in real time to truly understand. 
And I wasn’t alone; Beyoncé had the world utterly transfixed. The surprise drop quite literally broke the internet, and we were experiencing this new, evolved version of her together, bound by a collective sense of adoration and awe. For many people, the release only solidified their admiration of Beyoncé. For so many others, it was the surprise intake meeting for our official lifelong membership into the BeyHive. It sounds hyperbolic, but it’s true. We were forever changed. Years later, that passion has only intensified as Beyoncé has evolved as an artist. Self-titled was followed by projects like Lemonade, Everything Is Love, and The Gift, further stretching our understanding of what Beyoncé could do beyond what we’d imagined. She became limitless.
Every artist has their stans, but the BeyHive is just…different. So what makes being a Beyoncé fan so damn special? Ahead of the midnight release of her long-awaited seventh studio album Renaissance, I put out an open call on social media asking my fellow card-carrying Hive to wax poetic on why our membership to this inclusive but exclusive club will never expire, and the response was overwhelming.
This fandom stretches all over the globe, our genuine love and excitement for our favourite artist uniting us despite our differences. It’s not a stretch to say that liking Beyoncé is a green flag for relationships (and, subsequently, disliking her is an immediate nonstarter), and one of the perks of being in the BeyHive is the immediate camaraderie with each other. We are a family — an admittedly dysfunctional one at times — and we stick together. Until it’s time to rank our favourite albums. (B-Day supremacy. Argue with ya mama.) Beyoncé is a uniter of people, and she’s created an entire network of fans who feel more like friends and family. Whether it's live tweeting our reactions to Black is King online or bonding with our new forever friends at one of her live shows, being in the BeyHive is an automatic entry ticket into a close-knit community made up of millions. Amidst an ongoing stretch of sociopolitical, economic, and public health crises that seemingly have no end in sight, at the very least, we have each other and our shared love for our fave. 
A privilege of being members of Beyoncé’s extended family is our sacred yet irreverent relationship with her. We take Beyoncé and her art very seriously, but the BeyHive is simultaneously a notably unserious fandom, revelling in mutual playfulness. When Beyoncé got a baby fringe, no one trolled her harder than her own fans. When she does anything remotely funny, we rush to turn it into a photoshopped meme. (Remember her sheer confusion when she broke the Recording Academy's record for most total Grammys ever won by a female artist at the 2022 Grammys? Meme folder gold.) But when Blue Ivy’s natural hair and facial features became the butt of wicked “jokes” and trending topics, we were just as quick to defend our first-born niece from racists and texturists. When Renaissance was leaked right before its release, we formed an elite protection squad to suss out who could be responsible for the unforgivable violation. Like family, we take care of our own, and we roast them every now and then. It’s called balance.
The buildup to Renaissance has brought the Hive to peak form, calling forth the shenanigans and the chaos that we thrive in with every new project. To quote the late great André Leon Talley, we just barely survived a “famine of beauty,” and after three long Beyoncé-less years, our musical drought finally came to an end. We had no idea of what to expect, and the release of “Break My Soul” threw us for a loop, but we trusted her. We’re stans because we know that we can trust her. 
From her early days in Destiny’s Child to Beychella to The Lion King: The Gift, Beyoncé has consistently set and then reset the gold standard for music. And Renaissance, the spiritual descendant of the underrated classic that is “Blow” (Beyoncé), is another perfect example of why it always pays to bet on Beyoncé. A genre-spanning celebration of life and an effective middle finger to the malaise we’ve been battling for the last few years, the album is like nothing we’ve ever heard from her before. She interrupted our existential crisis and pit of hopefulness to remind us that life is, in fact, worth living — even if just to dance the night away to this album under the sparkle of a disco ball. Who else in the game is reading the room like this?
I’m so thankful to have experienced every single era of Beyoncé thus far and to have watched her evolve into the one of the most important artists of my lifetime. Her attention to detail, passion for her craft, and God-given talent is unmatched in her industry. It’s why she is the best of the best. But even beyond giving us undeniably quality music to enjoy album after album, Beyoncé has also given us a beautiful, one-of-a-kind community through the BeyHive. We’re strangers-turned-family who are united in our good taste, good vibes, and love for a good woman, and that’s a connection that can’t be broken. We’ll always have this. We’ll always have each other. And as we play Renaissance on a loop, that’s something to celebrate, too. 
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