Shine Your Light: Reflections on ‘Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé’

Renaissance—Beyoncé Knowles-Carter’s fifth self-directed film—is about how to shine your light, how to give others shine, and how to sit in darkness until the light comes again.

In this season of light, we have a tremendous opportunity to observe a Black woman in her prime at 42 years old making art, working at her craft, raising her children, and surrounded by a strong network.

In the Summer of ‘Barbie’ and ‘Renaissance,’ Will All Women Finally Get the Recognition They Deserve?

Currently, three women—Barbie, Beyoncé, and Taylor Swift—seem to be running the world, or at least the economy judging by record-shattering tour and box office revenues. But, as in the case of Beyoncé and other female artists of color, this success does not translate to deserved recognition from prestigious institutions.  

“The message young women absorb is that unless you are a one-in-a-generation talent like Lauryn Hill or Whitney Houston, female artists of color can kiss goodbye any hope of wide-scale recognition by the Recording Academy.”

Southern Hip-Hop Feminists Got Something to Say: The Ms. Q&A on Hip-Hop’s Reverse Migration

Aisha Durham and Regina Bradley are both hip-hop feminist scholars who focus on the South. Both spoke with Ms. contributing editor Janell Hobson to discuss the upcoming 50th anniversary of hip-hop, the origins of Southern hip-hop, how women continue to shape the genre—and, of course, their favorite feminist hip-hop anthems. (This article is part of “Turning 50,” which recognizes the women who shaped hip-hop.)

“Hip-hop started in New York but it didn’t end there,” said Bradley. “You probably wouldn’t have a robust hip-hop scene today without the Southern sound.”

The Vibe Was Silver: Beyoncé Brings Afrofuturistic Feminism to the World Stage

Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour has been making waves across Europe for the last month. Many of us were unprepared for the power she would unleash. We had to be in our seats an hour before the show began, and the venue was buzzing in anticipation. When she finally appeared, in a metallic body suit with winged shoulder pads, it quickly became apparent that the vibe of the show was Afrofuturism. Her 2020 visual album Black Is King has already been analyzed through the lens of this cultural movement, and it seems Beyoncé is continuing these futuristic visuals on her world tour.

Afrofuturism is a trending movement in literature, music and the visual arts, seen as a way of understanding the African diaspora, not by looking back, but by looking forward. This gaze towards the future is a hopeful gesture that moves beyond the traumas of the past (and present). Characterized by elements of science-fiction, technology, cosmic exploration and alternate realities, it has been exploding in popular culture.

When Black Women’s ‘Excellence’ Isn’t Good Enough

There is a pattern here: Black women must ride on the coattails of protective manhood—a respected dad, a Hollywood white male “bodyguard”—to secure the top prize.

In a world that constantly tells women in general, and Black women specifically, that we just might be “imposters,” Beyoncé affirms us and allows us to luxuriate in a Black woman defiantly and truthfully announcing that “I’m the bar.” We revel in her excellence, even if some would try to diminish that greatness as “not good enough.”

The Ms. Top Feminists of 2022

With so many of our rights in jeopardy, social justice advocates have had to work even harder to stand up for the causes they believe in. Tackling voting rights, public health, reproductive justice and much more, here are Ms. magazine’s picks for our top feminists of 2022.

Beyoncé’s Ode to Black Joy: Merging Past and Future in ‘Renaissance’

Renaissance, Beyoncé’s seventh solo album, offers a much different vibe and one that also represents an intergenerational inheritance engulfed in the pleasures of Black dance music vibrating across the various subcultures of Black communities around the world.

Black women—across genders, sexualities and communities—have been the blueprint, and Beyoncé’s Renaissance proves that.