She failed to take Album of the Year, but Beyoncé was the undisputed queen of the GRAMMYs last night, even evincing a tearful tribute from the evening’s big winner, Adele. After she surprised fans with the news that she’s expecting twins, Beyoncé showed up at the 59th annual GRAMMYs ready to celebrate motherhood. Before taking the stage for her much-anticipated performance, the superstar was introduced by her mom, Tina Knowles. “I’m blessed to have daughters, wonderful daughters, all of whom make me proud,” said the mom of her two GRAMMY winners (Solange nabbed her first GRAMMY, Best R&B Performance for “Cranes in the Sky” before the televised ceremony started).
She went on, “What makes me most proud, and why I’m here tonight to introduce Beyoncé, is the devotion and love I see in her for her daughter.” The nine-minute set started with pre-taped visuals of the pregnant star emerging from behind rippling saffron-coloured fabric to reveal her baby bump—v. reminiscent of Queen Bey’s ethereal pregnancy photoshoot. As coloured fabrics swirled around the singer in the footage, women and children appeared at her side and disappeared. Finally, an image of Beyoncé, Tina and Blue Ivy was mirrored on either side of the screen. While the flickering video played, the “Formation” singer’s pre-recorded voice was heard reciting select lines of poetry by Warsan Shire that are featured on Lemonade (“Your mother is a woman / And women like her cannot be contained”).
Unlike the Sasha Fierce persona that features on her world tours and epic turns at the Super Bowl, the GRAMMYs saw a more demure Bey. She slowly rose from within the stage, cradling her belly while dressed in head-to-toe gold. Her light-catching headdress—adorned in spires and roses—gave serious Madonna-with-child vibes. She sang “Love Drought” and “Sandcastles,” the slower tracks from the latter half of the album, while Tina, Jay Z and Blue Ivy rooted for her from the front row.
Bey moved through scenes surrounded by dancers in similar (albeit, much smaller) headdresses, while flower petals rained down on the stage. Her performance ended with Shire’s spoken-word again, booming over the speakers: “One thousand girls raise their arms. Now that reconciliation is possible, if we’re going to heal, let it be glorious.”
— Elizabeth Banks (@ElizabethBanks) February 13, 2017
I am crying. My bey. I cannot breathe
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) February 13, 2017
Motherhood and inspiring the next generation were also part of the singer’s message when she accepted the Best Urban Contemporary Album prize for Lemonade—which was surprisingly the only award she received during the show. After thanking “my wonderful husband, my beautiful daughter,” she mentioned “everyone who worked so hard to beautifully capture the profundity of deep southern culture,” on the movie that accompanied the album. “It’s important to me to show images to my children that reflect their beauty, so they can grow up in a world where they look in the mirror, first through their own families, as well as the news, the Super Bowl, the Olympics, the White House, and the GRAMMYs, and see themselves, and have no doubt that they’re beautiful, intelligent, and capable.” She continued, “This is something I want for every child of every race.”
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