A diverse chorus of voices praises the acclaimed songstress and cultural icon.
Chambers (The Go-Between, 2017, etc.), the editor of the New York Times archival storytelling team, who, in addition to her own books, has co-authored books by Michael Strahan, Timbaland, Robin Roberts, Eric Ripert, and Marcus Samuelsson, collects essays from distinguished professionals in entertainment, media, and social activism. In an introduction celebrating the “fire in her belly, the almost otherworldly level of focus and ambition in her eyes,” Chambers lauds Beyoncé’s “soundtrack of power and possibility,” which buoyed the editor through unexpected life changes. Nigerian author and speaker Luvvie Ajayi rhapsodizes over the singer’s immense cultural influence and celebrates her memorable, career-defining performance at the 2018 Coachella Festival. Data journalist Meredith Broussard’s graphic biography of “Bey” vividly combines art and geographical statistics. The perspectives Chambers assembles are delightfully manifold and aptly representative of Beyoncé as a veteran entertainer and an influential cultural icon transcending age and social status. YouTube sensation Kid Fury commends Beyoncé on how much her inclusive productions have consistently impacted the gay community. Other contributors examine Beyoncé’s referential, allusive artistry, her evolving feminism, her Instagram account, and career comparisons to the upper echelon of female rappers, and there are fair-minded criticisms of her “Formation” and “Lemonade” albums. Collectively, these well-balanced essays amplify the popularity and reach of Beyoncé’s music and persona across generations of women (and men). The anthology closes with award-winning journalist Caroline Clarke attesting that while perfectionism can be a common trap for girls, when it is applied to superstars like Beyoncé, it makes her “a pretty damn good role model for my daughter or anyone, including me.” With such a dynamic ensemble of opinions and reflections, the collection will be sweet reading not just for Beyoncé’s superfans, but also for activists, feminists, and budding vocalists.
An uplifting and resounding ovation.