Date TimeAugust 10, 2018
VoiceHow many ways do we love Queen Bey? A superfan explains how Beyoncé gives her followers permission to take control
The meaning of Beyoncé: a dispatch from inside the Beyhive
Through a fog of food-truck smoke, a sea of Ivy Park and feminist slogan-clad fans move through the London stadium. To my left are groups of black girls in co-ordinated yellow or gold-hued outfits; to my right, yards of bee motifs. This was an experience, like many before it, that we’d all tell our grandchildren about. Now, for one night, and one night only, there was just me, the Beyhive and Beyoncé – even if her husband did happen to be there.
The Beyhive is perhaps the most dedicated group of superfans (or, as they often call themselves, “stans”) on the planet, and I consider myself one of them. Much catchier than its predecessor, the Beyontourage, the origins of which are unknown, the term Beyhive entered the mainstream consciousness around the 2011 release of 4, Beyoncé’s fourth studio album and her first project done independently of her father, Mathew Knowles. In a nod to the new direction her career was taking – a slightly more grown-up version of the women’s empowerment anthems for which she had become known – Beyonce’s already precise vocals seemed to improve. And her fans were one-upping themselves just as she was, taking on the detractors at every turn.
They were in full flow by 2015, which is when Kid Rock chose to criticise Beyoncé because, as if it were in any way relevant, he didn’t find her attractive; nor did he think she had “a fucking Purple Rain” in her discography. The Beyhive responded by posting endless comments on all his social media channels using only bee emojis. The rage goes on; every year fans commemorate the day he crossed Queen Bey, covering his social media profiles with – you guessed it – more bee emojis. Such battles – carried out with as much passion as if Beyhive members were defending their own family – have landed the fandom with a somewhat bad reputation.
But what lies at the heart of that protectiveness is an appreciation of Beyoncé’s efforts to, consciously or not, give black women a sense of freedom. Just as Beyoncé takes up space, in music, film, fashion, art and, in some respects, politics, she gives us permission to do the same, entirely on our own terms.
The meaning of Beyoncé: a dispatch from inside the Beyhive
While good old-fashioned celebrity adulation undoubtedly plays a part Beyoncé is also a trailblazer. The first solo artist to have their first six albums debut at number one, she is also the most Grammy-nominated woman in history and one of just two to win six in one night. Last year Forbes named her the most highly-paid female musician.
And, having been handed the reigns to the US Vogue September cover – rumoured to be Anna Wintour’s last as editor-in-chief – she created monumental change once again when she hired the first black photographer ever to shoot a US Vogue cover in its 126-year history. The portrait of Beyoncé, with no wigs or hair extensions and “little makeup”, was shot by 23-year-old Tyler Mitchell who, understandably, admitted that he “cried three times” on the morning of the release. It was so much more than just another glossy cover; the gorgeous photos, and her account of childbirth complications – an issue regularly sidelined for black women – and the abuse of power in relationships were signifiers of the boundlessness of Beyonce’s power.
Every Beyhive member can recall their own awakening. When Beyoncé’s self-titled 2013 album unexpectedly dropped, featuring an electrifying sample from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists TED talk, Smera Kumar, an arts and sciences student at University College London, was so inspired that she took it upon herself to establish the university’s first ever Yoncé Appreciation Society, or YAS for short.
“I felt that there wasn’t really a space on campus that brought people together to discuss race and feminism. And it felt as if she was creating a dialogue about these issues through music,” she says in reference to Flawless, the song that sees the words, “I look so good tonight” blend with the novelist’s: “We teach girls to shrink themselves.”
Beyoncé has also come to represent hard work and stubborn perfectionism. “She makes me want to work harder. My screensaver on my Mac is an amazing picture of Beyoncé, because I know, that as soon as I lift it up, I’ll be like, OK, I’m ready,” says Ria Chatterjee, ITV journalist and self-professed Beyoncé stan. She cites Beyoncé’s 2013 documentary Life Is But A Dream as an example of the star’s unrelenting work ethic. “There’s that one scene where she doesn’t like the lighting and she doesn’t show that she’s pissed off. She’s just like, ‘What is this? This isn’t right.’ And she won’t stand for anything less than perfection. Those scenes where she’s dancing in the corridor until 1am because she hasn’t got any space to rehearse – it just makes me want to scream with frustration. But then it makes me want to work harder,” she says.
There are clues to this work ethic that only the Beyhive are familiar with. During her almost year-long I Am... world tour in 2009, for example, a video of a live performance of Diva surfaced, in which Beyoncé, displeased by lighting errors in the live show, melodically weaves the phrase, “LIGHTS! Somebody’s getting fired, hey hey!” into the chorus. It instantly became a catchphrase for the hive, something you say when people fail to meet your high standards.
Daniel Yeboah is one of four friends who regularly convene to discuss Beyoncé in a WhatsApp group called Queen B’s Angels. He says that Beyoncé’s latest project, Everything Is Love, her joint album with her husband Jay-Z, “magnifies her hard work and pro-blackness” by subverting what’s considered classic art. Their Apeshit music video was filmed in the Louvre, its all-black ensemble bringing a welcome change of air to the French museum. Beyoncé’s career trajectory as a whole, he adds, taught him “to work hard, break barriers and not limit myself to the glass ceiling the world puts us in”.
The meaning of Beyoncé: a dispatch from inside the Beyhive
For Jenessa Williams, a student, Beyoncé’s tirelessness was encapsulated by a scene at the Mrs Carter Show world tour in 2013. “I went to see her for my 19th birthday at Manchester Arena and the seats were so bad they were basically behind the stage. But the best thing was, you could actually see her preparing to come on and coming off.
“I have the most vivid image: she was in this full-on sparkly catsuit, ready to do the first number, and someone pushed a pram out to her, which would have had her daughter, Blue Ivy, in it. And she just rocked this pram for like 30 seconds, and then her dancers assembled, someone put the pram away, and off she went. We were the only people in the block who could see that, but that, to me, was a proper goosebumps moment that made me think, ‘She’s literally doing it all.’ She’s got this baby, she’s rocking her; and now she’s going to go take care of business.”
In so many ways, Beyoncé defies traditional expectations of a pop star. Her Black Panther-styled Super Bowl performance of Formation, for example, at the height of American protests against police brutality. Or the time she took the mothers of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin and Oscar Grant to the 2017 MTV video music awards.
With the threat of a Trump presidency on the horizon, the release of the album Lemonade was healing, particularly for Beyoncé’s black fans. Featuring cameos from myriad black women and girls, from a twerking Serena Williams, to Blue Ivy, to older women like Jay-Z’s grandmother, it led Jenessa Williams to examine her own identity as a mixed-race black woman. “I’d always felt like my story wasn’t quite as important as other people’s,” she recalls, “and Lemonade gave me the chance to acknowledge that, as long as it came from the right place, I could talk about that.”
The meaning of Beyoncé: a dispatch from inside the Beyhive
Beyoncé’s power is both economic and political: she has crashed iTunes, Topshop and the US Congress contact page respectively, with her surprise self-titled album, the release of her Ivy Park athleisure line, and a call for her fans to contact their representatives about police brutality.
I used to reject the feminist label, mostly because I felt excluded from what is sometimes called “white feminism”. But Beyoncé changed that, by proudly brandishing the term across stadium screens, on award shows, in her music videos and as part of her merchandise. I’m now proud to claim it for myself.
Now that Everything Is Love has been released, and tour tickets are sold out, we don’t know what will happen next. Part of the fun of being a certified Beyhive member is the endless speculation. Will she ditch her double-act routine with Jay-Z and embark on a solo tour in 2019? Will her friendship with the Obamas inspire her to run for Congress in 2020? If years of loving this woman with every inch of your being teaches you anything, it’s that attempts at forecasting Beyoncé’s future moves are usually futile. She will reveal all when she’s ready. And when she is, we’ll be waiting.

Elon Musk and Tesla sued over 'fraudulent scheme' to go private
House of Fraser dodges administration as Mike Ashley seals £90m deal
MacBook Air 2018 release - everything Apple needs to upgrade to please laptop fans
Dele Alli gets Tottenham off to a winning start against Newcastle
'Our women are FREE!' Lebanon mayor hires policewomen in HOT PANTS to boost tourism
NASA delays launch of probe to 'touch the sun'
F-15 fighter planes give chase after twin-propellor Q400 barges on to runway at Seattle-Tacoma airport and takes off
'RHONY' star Bethenny Frankel's ex-boyfriend Dennis Shields found dead in Trump Tower
Nicki Minaj ruthlessly blasts Drake, DJ Khaled, Meek Mill and more in 'Barbie Dreams' lyrics
All the Crazy Details from Kylie Jenner’s 21st Birthday Party
Tour de France champion Jan Ullrich arrested on suspicion of assaulting a prostitute in Frankfurt
Omarosa says Trump is a racist who uses N-word – and claims there's tape to prove it
Ivanka Trump shows off thrifty side wearing striking dress she first debuted last year
Amal Clooney: George Clooney's connection to Princess Eugenie REVEALED ahead of wedding
When Does Nicki Minaj's New Album Drop? The 'Queen' Release Date Is Sooner Than You Think
Trump Hits Turkey When It's Down, Doubling Tariffs
Ryanair cancels 400 flights as pilots strike
Fredericton shooting: Four dead including two police in Canada
Samsung launches Fortnite for Android exclusive
Andrew Luck makes return as Colts beat Seahawks 19-17
Prescott throws for TD before 49ers rally past Cowboys 24-21
James Bond: Idris Elba to replace Daniel Craig? OVERTAKES bookies' favourites as odds cut
Fortnite's 'Season 5' Snobby Shores Treasure Map: Where To Find The Treasure
The sexy style Meghan Markle has abandoned since marrying Prince Harry
France holiday HORROR: Helicopters rescue 750 campers from FLASH FLOODS - one missing
Parker Solar Probe cleared for Saturday launch to 'touch the sun'
Kylie Jenner Shares New Photos of 'Most Special Gift' Stormi's Face in Honor of 21st Birthday
Justin Bieber Explains Why He Was Crying Next to Hailey Baldwin
Kanye West Jokes He Worried About Kim Kardashian Around Trump: 'He's a Player'
Tesla's board may reportedly tell Elon Musk to recuse himself from talks about taking the company private
Michael Avenatti Says He’s In Iowa To Explore A Run For President
Judge Threatens Sessions With Contempt Over Deported Asylum Seekers
Everton sign Barcelona’s Yerry Mina and Andre Gomes plus Shakhtar’s Bernard
Laura Ingraham's 'demographic changes' monologue is a rallying cry to Trump's base
Mike Pence launches plans for Space Force as new military service
Nasa's daring mission to 'touch the sun' explained
From Rihanna's eyebrows to slip dresses: should we embrace the 90s revival?
Interest rates will stay low for 20 years – Bank of England expert
Samsung set to unveil next flagship Note smartphone
Emilia Clarke boyfriend: Is the Game of Thrones star single? Who has she dated?
Cristiano Ronaldo: Juventus star’s girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez nearly spills out of top
Egypt's second sphinx FOUND: Ancient statue discovered during ROAD WORKS
You know aging in Hollywood is rough when Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt get Photoshopped
Weird, 570-Million-Year-Old 'Leaf' Fossil Is Actually from an Animal
Melania Trump's parents are now US citizens
Assange 'considering' testifying in Russia meddling probe
Lombok earthquake: new quake hits as death toll from earlier tremor tops 300
Police warn Drake fans against doing 'Shiggy' dance on road
Chelsea announce agreement to sign Mateo Kovacic on season-long loan
Carrie Underwood is pregnant, tells fans she is 'over the moon'
Professional golfer Jarrod Lyle dies at age 36 after battling leukemia
Tweet threatens to ‘waste’ everyone at town hall event for Devin Nunes’ opponent
Prince William and Theresa May join ex-soldiers to celebrate Battle of Amiens which signalled beginning of end of WW1
Argentina holds historic abortion vote as 1m women rally to demand change
US confirms Russia DID order Salisbury nerve agent attack and promise REVENGE sanctions
Gaining control of Portugal wildfire will take days, prime minister says
Brad Pitt says he loaned $8 million to Angelina Jolie, paid $1.3 million in child support
NASA's newest spacecraft will fly through the Sun's scorching hot atmosphere
Chelsea sets $91m record for goalkeeper
'Dear Ivanka': Celebrities target Trump's daughter on Instagram
Indonesian earthquake: Death toll rises to 347 after powerful jolt to resort island
Oscars: Academy to add achievement in popular film category
CW Network Casts Ruby Rose as Lesbian Batwoman
From Kong to Kirby: Smash Bros' Masahiro Sakurai on mashing up 35 years of gaming history
GOP Rep. Chris Collins charged with insider trading
Tlaib wins Conyers' seat; Congress to get 1st Muslim woman
Kim, Khloé shade Younes Bendjima after breakup with Kourtney
Key takeaways from Ohio special election and primaries in four other states
Kansas GOP governor primary too close to call; Kobach, Colyer send supporters home
Jarvis Landry delivers epic speech in season premiere of HBO's 'Hard Knocks' with Browns
Manchester United turn down Barcelona offer for Paul Pogba
International Cat Day: 15 facts about moggies
Indian political icon Muthuvel Karunanidhi dies at 94
Dina Asher-Smith and Zharnel Hughes storm to 100m Euro gold
Blackhawks legend, Hockey Hall of Famer Stan Mikita dies at 78
Theresa May calls on Boris Johnson to say sorry for burqa remarks
Elon Musk Might Take Tesla Private in a Move That Values the Company at $82 Billion
'Bachelorette' Becca Kufrin Explains Why Arie Luyendyk Jr. Was Cut From Finale (Exclusive)
Shaun Weiss: 5 Things To Know About 'The Mighty Ducks' Star, 39, Who Was Arrested
Wilbur Ross alleged to have siphoned more than $120 million from associates, Forbes reports
Kathleen Turner discusses Trump's 'gross' handshake, Elizabeth Taylor's 'awful' voice in tell-all interview
Chelsea to pay £71.6m for Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga
Ruby Rose cast as The CW's Batwoman
Ohio special election, Different point of view
Google honours Muslim philosopher Ibn Sina
Margot Robbie's scary good Sharon Tate transformation for 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'
Britney Spears will keep her fans dancing 'til the world ends - Brighton Pride review
Man City transfer news LIVE Pep Guardiola's hunt for midfielder and latest on Joe Hart's Burnley transfer
Trabuco Canyon brush fire: Fast-moving blaze burns 4000 acres, prompts evacuations
Don’t you dare let Paul Pogba leave, Rio Ferdinand tells United
Diamondbacks OF David Peralta's shoulder injury not a major concern
Later this year, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch its biggest batch of satellites yet
Director of Trayvon Martin documentary says teen’s shooting was ‘turning point’ for U.S
Bachelorette Becca Kufrin picks her man and Bachelor Nation does not approve
Sweep of Yankees shows Red Sox can do 'damage,' too
Hothouse Earth: Runaway global warming threatens 'habitability of the planet for humans'
Stan Kroenke makes £600m offer to buy ‘100% ownership’ of Arsenal
Robert Redford confirms retirement from acting
Bernard to have Everton medical with club set to win battle for Brazil winger
Facebook, Apple, YouTube and Spotify ban Infowars' Alex Jones
Paul Manafort's 'right-hand man' Rick Gates to testify in fraud trial
Actress Charlotte Rae dies
Beyoncé reveals she is 'descended from a slaveowner'
Indonesia earthquake: Lombok hit by SECOND earthquake today - Bali rattled
SpaceX set to re-fly first Falcon 9 Block 5 booster Tuesday
Facebook to Banks: Give Us Your Data, We'll Give You Our Users
NFL's first male dancers will hit the sidelines this season
Trump re-imposes Iran sanctions 'to change, not topple Tehran'
Bologna EXPLOSION: Massive fireball rockets into sky near Italy airport – shock footage
Tiger Woods moves on to PGA Championship as Justin Thomas wins Bridgestone by four shots
Liz Peek: Obama stiffs Ocasio-Cortez as Democrats weigh whether she hurts or helps them in November
Hiroshima marks 73rd anniversary of atomic bombing in World War II
Apple removes podcasts by Infowars' Alex Jones
Man charged with murder of midwife Samantha Eastwood
France LOSES OUT on Brexit billions: Belgian and Dutch ports picked for new Irish route
Police chief orders use of force review after Portland protest
Saudis expel Canadian envoy, freeze new trade deals over tweets about rights activist
14 hours in Chicago: 44 shot, 5 killed
At least 317 killed in ongoing protests in Nicaragua
Hundreds crowd beach, await rescue after massive quake in Indonesia
Theresa May confident of reaching Brexit deal, sources say
Sublime Manchester City sweep Chelsea aside to lift Community Shield
Lady Gaga apologizes for calling Rick 'Zombie Boy' Genest's death a suicide
Hall wins Women's British Open for 1st major title
Kellyanne Conway: 'I don't believe journalists are the enemy of the people'
Patrick Stewart stuns fans with 'Star Trek' return
Radio telescope picks up new frequency in space
Old-time plane crashes in Swiss Alps, killing 20 on board
6.9-magnitude quake hits Indonesia
'The Americans' Wins Big at TV Critics Awards
Entertainer Barry Chuckle dies at 73
A flat tire started the deadly Carr Fire and days of devastation in California
UFC 227: TJ Dillashaw reveals strategy for second Garbrandt KO, declares himself BW GOAT
Randy Moss wears tie during Hall of Fame speech as tribute to slain African-Americans
Emilia Clarke: Game Of Thrones star flashes the flesh as she gives fans insight into break
Man Utd boss Jose Mourinho plots £80m deadline-busting raid for Harry Maguire
Trump may want a ‘Space Force’ but the Pentagon has a different idea
Venezuela's Maduro: Drone attack was attempt to kill him
Convicted child rapist escapes from Kansas prison three days after arrival
Melania Trump contradicts her husband on LeBron James
Meghan Markle dazzles in navy as she arrives for wedding of Prince Harry's close friend
18 killed after Russian helicopter crashes in Siberia, airline says
Urban Meyer says he knew about and reported 2015 incident of alleged abuse by assistant
Astronomers discover a free-range planet with incredible magnetism
Facebook Dating will be a feature, not an app; here's a peek
Barack Obama Day: Former president's political home state of Illinois kicks off holiday
Mission Possible: How To Hike Pulpit Rock Like Tom Cruise Onscreen
Cristiano Ronaldo: Juventus star thought Real Madrid exit was humiliating for one reason
Weekend Box Office: 'Mission: Impossible 6' Making More Honey Than 'Christopher Robin'
Europe's record temperature of 48C could be beaten this weekend
First woman fined in Denmark for wearing full-face veil
President Trump bashes LeBron James over CNN interview: Don Lemon made him 'look smart'
Melania Trump shows of incredible figure in tight white jeans with husband Donald
'Zombie Boy' Rick Genest, tattooed muse to Lady Gaga, dies aged 32
More than 100 goats invade Boise neighbourhood, chew on everything they could find
May and Macron hold 'informal' Brexit talks in France
These 9 Astronauts Will Fly the 1st Flights on SpaceX and Boeing Spaceships
Judge Denies Larry Nassar’s Appeal For New Sentence
Ella Mai: ‘If it were up to England, Boo’d Up definitely wouldn’t be where it is now’
Travis Scott will drop new album this week
Barcelona complete signing of Arturo Vidal for £27m from Bayern Munich
My son, Osama: the al-Qaida leader’s mother speaks for the first time
Donald Trump hits back at criticism: 'DISGUSTING! I was EARLY and waiting for the QUEEN!'
Boeing and SpaceX delay first crucial test flights of new passenger spacecraft again
Colbert Mocks Paul Manafort’s Wardrobe: Looks Like ‘A Blind Pimp Got 100 Wishes’
Black pastors see Trump bringing 'new hope' -- but still need to convince their flocks
395 people sickened in McDonald's salad outbreak
Suspected Russian spy caught working inside US embassy in Moscow
Urban Meyer placed on leave as Ohio State investigates what he knew about alleged abuse
Virat Kohli’s brilliant century frustrates England in India fightback
Trump received letter from North Korea's Kim on August 1: White House
Ivanka Trump: Migrant separations a ‘low point’ and journalists are not ‘enemy of the people’
May prepares for talks with Macron that could make or break Brexit plan
Stonehenge mystery SOLVED: Who built Stonehenge? Latest study on stone formation REVEALED
Naomi Campbell, 48, stuns in two bikini photos, shuts down pregnancy rumors
Iran deploys 50 small boats to Strait of Hormuz for large-scale 'swarming' exercise
Thousands march in Jerusalem Gay Pride amid surrogacy uproar
Elon Musk Shares Image of Reusable Falcon 9 Blazing a Trail in the Night
Kim Kardashian Disses Kourtney As 'Least Exciting To Look At' In Brutal Fight
Papa John's founder says he has 'no confidence' in current management team, including CEO Steve Ritchie
Apple is now worth $1,000,000,000,000
There's a very simple reason Trump wants to sit down with Mueller
NASA says we can't terraform Mars. Elon Musk disagrees
Giant hands lift new Vietnam bridge toward heavens
Bank of England poised to raise interest rates
Mount Olympus: Google doodle celebrates Greece's Mount Olympus and its heroic climbers
BREXIT LIVE: Remainers turn AGAINST EU and warn 'don't offer May Brexit FUDGE'
Life Needs Sunlight — and That Could Change Where We Look for Aliens
Reddit hacked, despite SMS two-factor authentication
Tesla Doubles Loss, but Burns Less Cash Than Expected
Colbert Finds A Way He Could Actually Vote For Trump
Madonna Reveals She Fled To Portugal To Escape Trump
US threatens raising tariffs to 25% on $200 billion of Chinese goods
Ex-wife of Ohio State assistant fired for abuse says Urban Meyer knew of case
Protests in Denmark as 'burqa ban' comes into effect
Manafort put himself 'above the law' to fund his expensive tastes, court hears
LONDON BLOODBATH: One man dead and two injured after triple stabbing in Camberwell
3 Russian journalists killed while filming documentary on private Russian security group in Africa
Bermuda Triangle mystery 'solved,' scientists claim
If We Ever Want to Walk on Mars, We'd Better Get Serious About Planetary Protection