Beyoncé, or Queen Bey, as she’s affectionately dubbed by her devoted Bey-Hive, had quite an exhilarating 2023. The 32-time Grammy Award winner went on a six-month-long world tour, aptly named “Renaissance” to promote her seventh studio album.
Beyond promoting the album, The House Mother also took on the extra mile by directing the concert documentary titled Renaissance; A Film by Beyoncé. The nearly three-hour cinematic masterpiece highlights her 56 tour stops, offering fans a close-up of the rehearsals, tour planning, and even glimpses into her personal life.
The Making of the ‘Renaissance’ Documentary
While Beyoncé’s 2023 Renaissance Tour feels like a blissful, choreographed spectacle, it took quite a long time than any of us might have thought.
In one of the clips, Bey disclosed that the tour’s preparations began pre-pandemic. Ultimately, it took four years to plan for the tour, and so did the film. Check out the blood and sweat poured into this undertaking:
The Creative Process
As with most of her concert documentaries, Beyoncé took the helm as the director and producer for the Renaissance film, creatively coordinating a three-hour masterpiece that seamlessly blends confidence, Black history, her vocal prowess, and glimpses into her personal life.
The film captures the magic on stage and the meticulous planning that shaped every tour aspect. While most artists of her caliber delegate planning to their teams, Queen Bey was highly involved, scrutinizing every detail, from choreography to the placement of every lighting fixture.
She also highlighted the collaborative effort it takes to pull off even a single tour. She put her crew in reflective suits to underscore their efforts and ensure their visibility in the film.
Not a Smooth Ride
Despite Beyoncé’s wealth of expertise, organizing tours and shooting films is no easy feat. The Renaissance Tour took countless stagehands, not to mention the numerous dancers, caterers, costumers, makeup artists, and crew members on the team. It took three stages and 160 vehicles to pull off the tour.
As one of the stages was set up at a venue, she ensured that two other stages were simultaneously being moved and set up in the next venue. Still, the tour wasn’t smooth sailing, as the production team experienced unexpected glitches and power outages.
Beyond typical set production challenges, the Queen Mother also had to deal with the additional struggle of being a Black woman in an industry dominated by men. She encounters much resistance to her creative choices, illustrated by an incident where an expert claims the camera she needs doesn’t exist. It’s only after she counters his arguments with her research affirming its existence that he reluctantly agrees to look into it. This is one of the many incidents where she had to fight to be heard. Simply put, Renaissance: A Film by Beyonce reveals the stark reality that even for artists of her stature, being an entertainer, not to mention a Black female one, is far from a smooth ride.
The Renaissance Tour and Film Is All About Perfect Imperfection
Renaissance isn’t Bey’s first foray into directing and producing concert films. The “Pretty Hurts” singer boasts five other documentary concert movies.
While her past concert movies did well, Renaissance had an overwhelmingly warm reception, so much so that it’s the fifth highest-grossing concert film of all time. So, what’s so special about Renaissance? It unveils a layer of vulnerability the Bey-hive, and the world isn’t used to.
Beyoncé uses the film to highlight the challenges, mistakes, and sacrifices she experiences as one of the greatest vocalists of our century. While the world deifies her, Renaissance; A Film by Beyoncé proves she is as human as any of us.