Entertainment 12 Black Queer Icons Who Inspired Beyonce on 'Renaissance'

12 Black Queer Icons Who Inspired Beyonce on ‘Renaissance’


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(CNN)Beyonce’s latest album, “Renaissance,” It’s a musical triumph that signals the next great phase of the superstar’s career — and she’s taking on the black queer icons who pioneered house music.

Like the righteous fury of “Lemonade” and the celebration of identity in “Black Is King,” Beyonce’s latest effort centers and uplifts black listeners. Now, she offers training focusing on black musicians and communities and asylum seekers LGBTQ-dominated views of home and ballroom culture.
The undeniable danceability, light shade, free sexuality and unbridled joy found in “Renaissance” is clearly influenced and indebted to the queer and trance pioneers who popularized house music, and artists from that genre are represented on almost every track.
    From trance icon TS Madison and fashion pioneer Telfer Clemens to the late queen of the downtown drag scene, Moi Rainey and Beyoncé’s own uncle, these are some of the influences, artists and collaborators who shaped Queen Bey’s latest and greatest new work.

      Big Freedia

      “Quit your job!” New Orleans’ own Big Freedia, credited with popularizing the bounce sound of hip-hop, spawned her now-iconic line. 2014 National Anthem“Explode,” which Beyonce covered for her single “Break My Soul.”
      Freedia features her signature voice, deep and vibrant, on several mainstream tracks, including Drake’s “Nice For What” and, of course, Beyoncé’s “Formation.”
        “I am forever indebted to Beyoncé and her team,” Freedia said Friday CBS Morning. “They always look after the Queen – it’s the time of my life right now [when] I just want to make people happy.”
        Freedia defies labels when it comes to her gender, and she encourages the same fluidity in her unruly music: “I’m your brother or your sister, whatever you want to call me,” she said on CBS. “When you’re comfortable with yourself and you know who you are, I think people have a better understanding of how to approach different situations.”


        Sidney Bennett, a solo indie R&B artist and lead singer of the group The Internet — better known as Syd — is credited with co-writing the fun, slow-down love song “Plastic of the Sofa.” Her quietly seductive lyrics and production — her signature — are evident throughout the track.
        Syd is one of the most prominent gay R&B artists and has “always made it a point to just be gay,” she said. said Parents last year. “I love the responsibility of providing representation. But I think I’ve always tried to do it in the most natural way possible.”

        Grace Jones

        Yes, that’s it, the only one Grace Jones — supermodel, disco innovator, Studio 54 staple and general icon — on “Move,” the 10th track on “Renaissance.” Her androgynous beauty, frequent appearances at gay clubs, and resistance to easy labels made her a queer icon.
        “To be messed with, to have some man inside me, I loved it,” she said wrote In her 2015 memoir of going to a gay club with her brother and her own masculinity. “I felt like I was on my own even though I was shunned.”

        Telfer Clemens

        Telfer Clemens popularized affordable, attainable luxury with his signature shopping bag.  "renaissance,"  Beyoncé says she prefers Telfer to Birkin.

        On the closing track, “Summer Renaissance,” Bey makes a definitive statement on luxury: “This Telfer bag imported; Birkins, they’re in storage.” A single Hermes Birkin bag, a symbol of outrageous wealth, can set you back thousands of dollars, Ms Knowles-Carter prefers. Telfer shopping bagMade with vegan leather.
        Clemens and his namesake brand totes cost no more than $300 and come in three sizes and nearly every shade on the color wheel. Their relative affordability and popularity earned them the nickname “Bushwick Birkins,” But Clemens rejects the idea of ​​the Telfer bag as a status symbol. His brand slogan? “Not for you — for everyone.”

        I’m Renee

        Moi Rainey was a drag performer and trained dancer who was the toast of New York’s underground gay club scene throughout the ’90s. The iconic song “Miss Honey” is considered one of the original “b*tch tracks”. older childrenA site dedicated to the history of Black and Latinx queer and trans performers.
        Moi Renee’s voice “Pure/Honey,” purring, “I know I hear you calling, Miss Honey!” is there footage A performer wearing a neon-green beehive wig and black cutout jumpsuit on a local gay talk show in the 90s. Rainey died in 1997, before being sampled on Beyoncé’s new track.

        Honey Dijon

        By DJ Honey Dijon "Renaissance" Co-wrote two songs on.

        Chicago native Honey Dijon — a DJ, producer, fashion designer and underground house legend — co-wrote two songs on “Renaissance”: “Cozy” and “Alien Superstar.” A trans woman, Dijon works to reintroduce the black, queer history of house music into her songs, to tell In The Guardian this year, she tries to “condemn this music constantly for forgetting where it came from”.
        On Instagram, she thanked Beyoncé and her collaborators, writing“To share my Chicago house music roots and black queer and trans culture with you and the world is profound and emotional.”

        Kevin Aviance

        Avians, a performance artist and musician, has been a staple of New York’s downtown club scene since the 90s. The penultimate song “Pure/Honey” samples his unprintable name, but Bey is hardly the first major female singer to discover his talents: Avians has featured Whitney Houston, Cher, Mary J. Blige and Janet Jackson are counted among his collaborators.

        TS Madison

        TS Madison, known for her short-form comedy videos, is her prototype "Renaissance"

        Madison, a transgender comedian, actress and lawyer, first went viral in the 2010s on the now-defunct video platform Vine and her successful YouTube channel. Bey was an obvious choice to sample Madison’s natural wit on “Renaissance”: lines from Madison’s video “B*tch I’m black,” Released in June 2020 amid protests following the killing of George Floyd “Warm,” Another track.
        Not that Madison was surprised that she eventually appeared on a Beyoncé track — she was Tweeted “My voice is iconic!!” The day before the album was officially released.


        DJ MikeQ is part of today’s ballroom scene, spinning gay clubs and putting his own spin on the beloved genre: The New York Times in 2012 said He and his contemporaries “put a hip-hop spin on ballroom sounds and slang while respecting tradition.” He is credited on “Pure/Honey”, which samples his song “Feels Like”. Now, you can find him as the resident DJ on the HBO Max Ballroom Competition, “mythological.”

        Labeja’s house

        In this scene "Paris Burning"  Competing at a Performer's Ball -- an event for queer and trans performers to showcase their beauty and talent.

        “Tip, tip, tip on hardwood floors
        Ten, ten, ten across the board
        Give me face, face, face, face, face
        Never reject your face card, my god!”
        Yes, any of these lines from Beyoncé’s “Heated” would fit the New Yorker veteran’s ball. Crystal LaBeija and the House of Labeja. Labeja was fed up with the racism she experienced at drag contests run by white gay men — a complaint that provided the most memorable scene. 1968 Documentary “The Queen” Created her own balls For black and brown queer and trans performers. At these balls, queer and trans New Yorkers competed, danced, and created rivalries over the years between Houses (meaning “found families” of LGBTQ people competing together).
        The House of LaBeija — whose members included emcee Junior LaBeija, who popularized phrases like “.opulence — You own everything!” — also inspired other queer artists, including RuPaul and “Chi LGBTQ artistspose,” whose characters are based on real-life ballroom figures.

        Donna Summer

        Beyoncé borrows heavily from disco queen Summer’s “I Feel Love” on the last track, “Summer Renaissance.” There’s at least another time Bey has pulled from Summer: “Notty Girl,” from Beyoncé’s solo debut, is Summer’s “Love to Love You,” another gay nightclub anthem.
        Although her relationship with her gay fans was short-lived — summer was the accused Her music was endeared to LGBTQ listeners “for its serenity, gravitas, and open sexual content” — for making homophobic comments about homosexuals suffering from AIDS. wrote Paul Flynn, journalist and historian of gay culture, in a 2012 Guardian piece.
        “She acquired a divine inability to understand how it should sound at 3 a.m. under a mirror-ball in a metropolitan gay nightclub,” Flynn wrote. “‘I feel love’ is still there.”

        uncle johnny

        inside Note on her website, Beyoncé thanked her family, including her children and her “muse,” Jay-Z. But the most meaningful praise was reserved for her late Uncle Johnny, whom she called “the godmother and the first person to expose me to a lot of the music and culture that inspired this album.”
        “Thank you to all the originators of culture, to all those fallen angels whose contributions have gone unrecognized for too long,” Bay wrote. “It’s a celebration for you.”
        she Honored her uncle too In a 2019 speech accepting a GLAAD award: “He lived his truth. He was brave and forgiving in a time when this country was not accepting.”
          Tina Knowles-Lawson, Bey’s mother, shared On Instagram, Johnny helped her raise young Beyoncé and her sister Solange, and the girls “adored him.” Johnny also made Beyoncé’s prom dress, Knowles-Lawson said.
          Bey honored him with one of the biggest lines on the album: “Uncle Johnny made my dress,” she sings on “Heated.” “That cheap spandex, she looks messed up!”

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