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Beyoncé headlined the iconic Indio, California music festival Coachella, the first-ever black woman to headline the festival. Her performance was such a spectacle that it received its own portmanteau, “Beychella,” and ranked on Forbes’ list of pop culture moments that defined 2018 and Vogue’s list of the best music from 2018. Now, a Beychella documentary is coming to Netflix — and her fans figured this out before any official announcement arrived.
On April 7th, the official Netflix Twitter (and many of its subchannels, such as Strong Black Lead) posted a picture that got Beyoncé fans speculating. A simple yellow image with the word “Homecoming” and a date of April 17th, this image might seem innocuous without any context. However, the color and Greek character-infused font of this image matched the branding of Beyoncé’s 2018 merch line, not to mention her Beychella branding and wardrobe. Furthermore, last year, Beyoncé also founded a scholarship program focused on historically-black institutions of higher education that she named the Homecoming Scholars Award Program, and April 17th is just over a year after the first weekend of Coachella 2018.
Fans were thus quick to piece together that Netflix may premiere a documentary about Beychella titled Homecoming on April 17th. Neither Netflix nor anyone on Beyoncé’s team confirmed fan suspicions until the day after these tweets, which came just days after reports that Beyoncé and Netflix are collaborating on a documentary about the genesis, planning, and execution of Beychella, with extra performance footage to boot. On April 8th, all parties involved confirmed that Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé will indeed hit Netflix on April 17th.
Beyoncé is no stranger to marketing tactics that rely on the strong levels of mystery employed on April 7th, and in the past, these tactics have preceded Beyoncé releasing new music. In late 2013, she practically invented the now-abundant surprise album drop when she released her game-changing, critically adored self-titled fifth album with no promotion or marketing leading up to its arrival on iTunes. Not only did the album come out with absolutely no warning, but it was also released in December, a month when the music industry all but halts the release of new music.
Following her self-titled album, Beyoncé branched more solidly into visual media in 2016 with the help of HBO. In the time shortly before April 23rd — notably a Saturday, whereas much new music is released on weekdays — Beyoncé promoted a mysterious HBO special known only as Lemonade. In this Beyoncé-helmed film, she debuted new songs with music videos and interludes built from the poetry of Warsan Shire. Her sixth album, also titled Lemonade, dropped simultaneously and went on to receive even more critical acclaim than Beyoncé did.
It thus makes perfect sense that Beyoncé would go on to work with Netflix for her next big solo statement (she and her husband, the influential rapper and media mogul Jay-Z, released a collaborative album in 2018). The question that remains to be seen is, will the arrival of Homecoming on Netflix also bless fans with new music? No matter what happens, fans will be thrilled for new content to arrive from a musical icon who had already made history many times before Beychella.