I got home early enough on Friday afternoon to take a nap before working out and heading to dinner with friends. Sleeping is my superpower – I can nap anywhere, anytime, and for a long ass period of time. I often wake up from a nap to find out that it’s the next day, which is why I set an alarm when I have plans. On Friday though, not exaggerating, I woke up from my nap before the alarm went off. There was an energy change in the universe, the kind of rumble in The Force that could only come from Beyoncé, and I felt it 20 minutes after she sent out the signal: a new “Break My Soul” remix, this one for the Queens…
“Break My Soul” (The Queen’s Remix) combines B’s lead single from RENAISSANCE with a Madonna classic, “Vogue”. And just in time for the weekend. This is no accident. “Beyoncé moves with intention”, remember? There had been four “Break My Soul” remixes releasees up to that point. The Queen’s remix came out on a Friday afternoon, as many of us were getting our disco naps in before the weekend. It was meant to light up the club on the weekend. It was meant for us to tell the work week to f-ck off, to dance it all off, to unload all our problems through the power of Beyoncé. As she says on the track:
“Release, repressed, suppressed, regressed, redirect all that anger (To me)
Give it to me (To me), give it to me
I'm built for this, I can take it
I can take it, you can do it”
This is Beyoncé’s intention: as the undisputed Sovereign of the Culture, she has assumed the responsibility of being our stress receptor and transforming it into joy. Like the new suit that Shuri made for T’Challa in Black Panther – able to defensively absorb the blows of enemies and send it back out as offence.
But that’s not the only purpose behind Beyoncé’s repurposing of “Vogue”. She’s rewritten the rap, the “Grace Kelly, Harlow Jean, picture of a beauty queen” section of the original and it’s now a tribute to Madonna herself and also:
Rosetta Tharpe, Bessie Smith, Nina Simone, Solange, Erykah Badu, Lizzo, Kelly Rowland, Lauryn Hill,Roberta Flack, Toni Braxton, Janet Jackson, Tierra Whack, Missy Elliott, Diana Ross, Grace Jones (twice), Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, Helen Folasade Adu, Jill Scott, Michelle Williams (and possibly Obama), Chloë and Halle Bailey, Aaliyah, Alicia Keys, Whitney Houston, Rihanna, and Nicki Minaj.
Here’s how Lizzo reacted to being namechecked:
BITCH BEYONCÃ‰ SAID MY NAME— FOLLOW @YITTY (@lizzo) August 6, 2022
I ALWAYS BELIEVED IN ME NOW BEYONCÃ‰ BELIEVE IN ME TOOðŸ¤˜ðŸ¾ðŸ˜« pic.twitter.com/58785OOHAT— FOLLOW @YITTY (@lizzo) August 6, 2022
I mean, wouldn’t you?
And now it’s official. RENAISSANCE has topped the album charts:
Thing with Beyoncé though is that she has redefined her definition of success. As she told British Vogue two years ago:
“Being number one does not mean better quality. And commercial success certainly doesn’t equate to being impactful. Cultural currency is invaluable.”
Topping the charts matters less to her than being the one who shifts and shapes culture. And that is undeniably Beyoncé’s superpower. She is now 40 years old. As she told Harper’s Bazaar last year:
“I have paid my dues and followed every rule for decades, so now I can break the rules that need to be broken. My wish for the future is to continue to do everything everyone thinks I can’t do.”
It was also in that same Harper’s Bazaar issue that she said that “I feel a renaissance emerging” – so, again, there’s always intention where Beyoncé is concerned. In my post about that magazine feature, which came out just before her 40th birthday, I called it her Ruby Jubilee. The RENAISSANCE began during the Ruby Jubilee.
So looking ahead to her birthday on September 4th, also known as our biggest cultural holiday, what could be coming to cap it all off?
Will Saturday September 4th be the day we see some RENAISSANCE visuals?