The Bey-Day Phenomenon: Celebrating Beyoncé's Ever-Glowing Renaissance at 42

As the queen of pop turns 42, her commitment to artistic evolution, celebrating age, and uplifting the Black LGBTQ+ community resonates stronger than ever against the shimmering backdrop of her groundbreaking 'RENAISSANCE'.

September 4th is not technically a national holiday, but to all of us with taste, it may as well be because it is Beyoncé’s birthday.

A few weeks before her birthday, Beyoncé posted a request for fans attending the remaining shows on the American leg of her celebrated Renaissance World Tour.

"Virgo season is upon us," she wrote. "This tour has been such a joy and as we approach the last month, my birthday wish is to celebrate with you wearing your most fabulous silver fashions to the shows 8.2 – 9.22!"

She continued: "We'll surround ourselves in a shimmering human disco ball each night. Everybody mirroring each other's joy. Virgo season together in the house of chrome." Beyoncé signed her message: "Your B at RWT."

I never looked for silver fast enough after I read the story.

Thankfully, I already know how to mute myself.

As she turns 42 today, I think about what she said about turning 40 and how it can help more people get excited about the gift of getting older.

In the open letter, she said she's finally enjoying the fruits of her labor and shared how she "cried tears of joy" because this is "the best I’ve felt in my life."

“RENAISSANCE” is upon us.

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"This is the first year that I really understand what it means to be alive and to live in the moment. It’s the first time that I have an understanding of how fragile life truly is, how hard life can be at times, and therefore how important it is to stop and smell the roses during the good times. I thought I knew that at 21 or 30…but I didn’t."

"The more mature I become, the more I understand, and the deeper my joy grows,” she added. “There's a freedom and liberation knowing that I've made it to the other side of my sacrifice. I'm finally giving myself permission to enjoy the seeds I've worked so hard to plant my whole life."

The following year, she released RENAISSANCE, where you could hear that freedom she spoke of in the album she described as a “safe place, a place without judgment… a place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking.”

It is a breathtaking body of work that was a balm for the post-pandemic times.

As many of us struggled with the instability of the times, RENAISSANCE was a reminder of how important it is to let go, dance, and love.

Beyoncé reinvented herself once again, and at 40, the age at which society at large tends to start writing women artists off as creatives who still have something to offer, she released her most imaginative and challenging work yet –resulting in her seventh album being a critical and commercial smash that’s since spawned a record-breaking world tour. 

In her 40s, Beyoncé is releasing her best professional work, looking her best, and living her best life.

She continues to evolve artistically, and as a millennial from Houston only a few years shy of her, it is inspiring to see how she continues to be more inventive while being as Black and southern as ever.

And as a queer man, I love how much Beyoncé has used this album and supporting tour to elevate the Black LGBTQ community in a political climate increasingly hostile to our existence.

As we saw with the tragic death of O’Shae Sibley, the community that helped inspire Beyoncé’s greatest body of work is still threatened by simply being ourselves.

People want queer and trans people to hide, yet she keeps us front and center.

We need more allies like Beyoncé.

I hope Beyoncé has the most amazing birthday, and since I can’t give her the gift of calming down the Hive about the visuals, I want to at least thank her for bringing constant joy and hope to so many people with her art.

And for those of us who grew up with her, even more gratitude for showing us how good freedom will look in due time.

Michael Arceneaux is the New York Times bestselling author of I Can’t Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I’ve Put My Faith in Beyoncé, I Don’t Want To Die Poor, and the forthcoming I Finally Bought Some Jordans. 

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