Beyoncé on Power, Feminism, Formation and Transformation

beyonce-elle |photo credit: ELLE Magazine PHOTOGRAPHED BY PAOLA KUDACKI/STYLED BY SAMIRA NASR

Sometimes when you are overlooked and underestimated that can be the best thing for you. At least, that’s what Beyoncé believes as she shares in her interview with Elle magazine.

It gives you a chance to take a risk on yourself and do things on your own in order to prove yourself. She shared that she first discovered her power after the debut Destiny’s Child album, when the record label didn’t believe in them and left them to their own devices. This moment made her realize she didn’t need the label or other writers to create a launch plan that was successful.

The interview is the first time in a long time we have heard from Beyoncé at length outside of her music. Her responses are very matter of fact in a way that we also don’t often get a chance to experience. She shares her thoughts on a wide range of topics from power, to feminism to her response to the controversy over “Formation.” 

There’s plenty to pull from the interview. Below we share our favorite quotes that you can apply to your life even if you aren’t the most nominated woman in Grammy history.

On Preparation:

When she met with the chief executive of Top Shop’s parent company about the Ivy Park deal…

I think he was originally thinking I wanted to do an endorsement deal like they’d done with other celebrities, but I wanted a joint venture. I presented him with the idea, the mission statement, the purpose, the marketing strategy—all in the first meeting. I think he was pretty blown away, and he agreed to the 50-50 partnership.

I’ve learned that you have to be prepared. And when you visualize something, you have to commit and put in the work. We had countless meetings; we searched for and auditioned designers for months.

What Women Should Focus On:

It’s really about changing the conversation. It’s not about perfection. It’s about purpose. We have to care about our bodies and what we put in them. Women have to take the time to focus on our mental health—take time for self, for the spiritual, without feeling guilty or selfish. The world will see you the way you see you, and treat you the way you treat yourself.

On Power and Entrepreneurship:

It’s exciting, but having the power to make every final decision and being accountable for them is definitely a burden and a blessing. To me, power is making things happen without asking for permission. It’s affecting the way people perceive themselves and the world around them. It’s making people stand up with pride.

On Feminism:

I’m not really sure people know or [understand] what a feminist is, but it’s very simple. It’s someone who believes in equal rights for men and women. I don’t understand the negative connotation of the word, or why it should exclude the opposite sex. If you are a man who believes your daughter should have the same opportunities and rights as your son, then you’re a feminist.

On Labels:

Working to make those inequalities go away is being a feminist, but more importantly, it makes me a humanist. I don’t like or embrace any label. I don’t want calling myself a feminist to make it feel like that’s my one priority, over racism or sexism or anything else. I’m just exhausted by labels and tired of being boxed in. If you believe in equal rights, the same way society allows a man to express his darkness, to express his pain, to express his sexuality, to express his opinion—I feel that women have the same rights.

On Formation:

But anyone who perceives my message as anti-police is completely mistaken. I have so much admiration and respect for officers and the families of officers who sacrifice themselves to keep us safe. But let’s be clear: I am against police brutality and injustice. Those are two separate things. If celebrating my roots and culture during Black History Month made anyone uncomfortable, those feelings were there long before a video and long before me. I’m proud of what we created and I’m proud to be a part of a conversation that is pushing things forward in a positive way.

Using Your Pain To Transform:

I hope I can create art that helps people heal. Art that makes people feel proud of their struggle. Everyone experiences pain, but sometimes you need to be uncomfortable to transform. Pain is not pretty, but I wasn’t able to hold my daughter in my arms until I experienced the pain of childbirth!

This only scratches the surface of the incredible insight she shares with Elle. Read the full interview on Elle.com.

[Photo Credit: ELLE Magazine | PHOTOGRAPHED BY PAOLA KUDACKI/STYLED BY SAMIRA NASR]
Rhonesha Byng

About Rhonesha Byng

Rhonesha is the founder of HerAgenda.com. She resides in New York City and works as a journalist and an entrepreneur.
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