Beyoncé is the flawless face of Vogue’s September 2018 issue, and in the rawest tell-all interview since the revelation of infidelity in her now-reconciled marriage with Jay-Z, the birth of her twins, and the release of the Carter family’s Everything Is Love album, she’s the most transparent and candid than we’ve ever seen her.
For the Queen Bey’s 2018 Vogue arrival, the Beyoncé in Her Own Words: Her Life, Her Body, Her Heritage is anything but ordinary.
Clover Hope, who wrote the feature, assorts Bey’s revelatory subject matters into eight meaningful pieces of dialogue including her patience with self-love and body acceptance, the health challenges she faced in the birth of her twins, the impact on the next generation of music artists of color, the realities of her quest as a Black woman in the unrelenting world of music, and the healing power of the gems she dug up in her bloodline.
In perhaps one of Bey’s most enlightening discoveries, she also reveals how those ancestral gems ultimately helped her restore her marriage and shape the blessing of her beautiful twins, 1-year-old Sir and Rumi Carter.
“Only when I saw that clearly was I able to resolve those conflicts in my own relationship.” The Lemonade songstress shared her belief that uniting with heritage “makes us both bruised and beautiful,” and recalled how she learned of her own genealogical origin. “I researched my ancestry recently and learned that I come from a slave owner who fell in love with and married a slave,” she said. This was a piece of her heritage that Bey needed time to process, she admitted, especially as she worked to place its significance into the perspective of her own life.
“Male and female energy was able to coexist and grow in my blood for the first time.” Beyoncé’s faith now holds that she will be the savior progeny to “break the generational curses” for the lives of her children and all posterity.
Bey believes that we will remain stagnant in what the world looks like “until there is a mosaic of perspective coming from different ethnicities behind the lens.” This thinking influenced her decision to work with 23-year-old Tyler Mitchell, whom Bey handpicked to shoot the ethereally striking photos for the Vogue feature.
“When I first started, 21 years ago, I was told that it was hard for me to get onto covers of magazines because black people did not sell,” she revealed. “Clearly that has been proven a myth. Not only is an African American on the cover of the most important month for Vogue, this is the first ever Vogue cover shot by an African American photographer.”
In acknowledging her importance to break the glass ceiling for younger creatives, Bey pays respect to those who did the same for her as well. “Imagine if someone hadn’t given a chance to the brilliant women who came before me: Josephine Baker, Nina Simone, Eartha Kitt, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, and the list goes on,” she said. “They opened the doors for me, and I pray that I’m doing all I can to open doors for the next generation of talents.”
Bey’s word on Hollywood’s struggle into real diversity is a sermon, too, declaring that those in powerful positions will always fail to understand life and experiences beyond their own if they continue to only grant opportunities to the familiar: those who “look like them, sound like them, come from the same neighborhoods they grew up in.”
The “LOVEHAPPY” artist said that she's “grateful for every scar” that she’s gained. While some fans might believe her glamorous life of powerful mega-stardom is without its tribulations, Queen Bey shared that she, too, has “experienced betrayals and heartbreaks in many forms.” From business relationships to personal ones, Bey revealed that “they all left [her] feeling neglected, lost and vulnerable.”
Upon picking out her own silver lining, she’s fortunately been able to grow through it all, however, and even reflects on her womanhood as a 20-something.
“I look at the woman I was in my 20s and I see a young lady growing into confidence but intent on pleasing everyone around her,” she said. Now, at 36, Bey is solid in the essence of her being. “I now feel so much more beautiful, so much sexier, so much more interesting,” she continued. “And so much more powerful.”
Tina Knowles-Lawson, Bey’s mother, is credited with her virtue of “not just being seen but of seeing [herself],” she said. Now that she’s a mother of two daughters, she prioritizes representation in all creative works in her parenting, including books, film and fashion. She wants young Blue Ivy and Rumi to always remember that they have no ceiling (word to Blue) and that they are the architects behind their own lives—not whatever boxes society has created for them.
“They don’t have to be politically correct, as long as they’re authentic, respectful, compassionate, and empathetic,” Bey said. “They can explore any religion, fall in love with any race, and love who they want to love.”
As for her son, Sir, Bey will imbue in him the dynamics of being both strong and brave, but sensitive and kind as well. “I want my son to have a high emotional IQ where he is free to be caring, truthful, and honest,” she shared. “It’s everything a woman wants in a man, and yet we don’t teach it to our boys.” Bey recognizes that her children will grow up in the internet era, so another pedagogical value she sees for Sir is never to fall victim to the internet’s dogma of love and selfhood.
“I’ve worked long and hard to be able to get to a place where I can choose to surround myself with what fulfills and inspires me,” Bey concluded.
Read her full dialogue in "Beyoncé in Her Own Words: Her Life, Her Body, Her Heritage" here.
(Photo: Larry Busacca/PW18/Getty Images for Parkwood Entertainment)