After a short break BEYONCE’ is back with a new album, hit singles, sizzling videos and all the `Beyonceness’ that comes with this amazing singer/songwriter/actress who now also manages herself. Among her recent promotional appearances, Beyoncé sat with the ladies of `The View’, she posed on the cover of Essence Magazine and wrote her own cover story and last week popped in to buddy Kelly Rowland’s record release party at the Standard Hotel, downtown Manhattan. She also starred and directed a new promotional documentary, which revealed some of her work ethics and her feelings about life, vacation and the making of her spectacular `Run the World’ video.
There was a lot said of Beyoncé’ not having her father Matthew Knowles as her manager anymore. She reveals that he’ll always be her father, but there comes a time that you have to do what you have to do. “It was scary and empowering, but I wasn’t going to let fear stop me. It was very risqué for me to step out on my own being a young woman. I wanted to set the example for us to own our own business, sometimes we don’t reach for the stars, sometimes we are satisfied with what people tell us to be satisfied with and I’m just not going for that,” revealed Beyoncé. “I embrace mistakes I’ve made. I’ve never been afraid to fall. I don’t want people to think for me, I’ve never been that way and I don’t intend to be like that now. Its very difficult managing myself. I am one human being, I’m independent and it’s not easy, but as I said I’ve never been afraid to fall. I had fun, I booked the studio myself, paid for it myself. I just had fun and did what ever I wanted to do.’
TAKING TIME OFF
“After I finished the last tour I was overworked and exhausted. My life was about shows and tour buses and it goes by so fast. My mother was the person who preached to me and almost harassed me, after I was doing the last world tour to take some time off. She said `you really have to wake up and open your eyes. You don’t want to wake up with no memory of ever seeing the world.’ I never realized I needed a year off. I never realized that I don’t know HOW to take a year off. I went to the Great Wall of China; I went scuba diving in the Red Sea. I was in such a great peaceful state, it inspired purity. I was able to spend time with my family and pick my nephew up from school, it gave me time to reflect because as far back as I can remember I was a singer and a performer.”
“I am always happy when I’m surrounded by water. The ocean humbles you and grounds you. I feel like a mermaid, I feel like I used to be a mermaid…It makes me feel like I’ve been baptized or born again when ever I come out of the ocean.” Beyoncé further emphasized that her re-grouping and recreation after a break from her grueling schedule was necessary for her new thrust and renewed energy that she brought to her new CD 4. “I’m learning…I’m learning to drown out the constant noise in my life. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. I only have to follow my heart and concentrate on what I want to say to the world.”
THE MAKING OF 4
The name of her CD is 4 and Beyoncé shared the significance of that number. “4 was my favorite number since I was a kid, Its my birthday September 4th, its the birthday of my husband, my mother’s birthday is January 4th…my wedding anniversary is on the 4th.” Beyoncé put her heart and soul into making a great album. She put together a talented `glam squad’ for her photo shoots which included a session on a Paris rooftop wearing a heavy jeweled bustier as a crown and those memorable `heelless shoes.’ Her work ethic has been well documented, and everyone who has ever worked with her has praised how dedicated she is to every aspect of her craft. “I am a workaholic and I don’t believe in the word `no.’ when I am working I don’t believe in sleep, if I’m not sleeping – nobody is sleeping. My focus is not bigger, its quality and its something I’ll be proud of years from now.”
Beyoncé recalled that she’d seen a clip on You Tube of these three African dancers and was totally enthralled by it. “Something about that beat takes you back to Africa. I saw this You Tube clip and locked it away in my memory bank. I said for my up-tempo song, that’s how I wanted to dance. The guys had a groove that nobody can understand. It was very pedestrial. I had every dancer, every choreographer tried it but nobody could do the choreography. Nobody could do it like Tofo Tofo (the original dancers from Africa) I had to have those young guys come and choreograph and do the dance in the video.”
RUN THE WORLD VIDEO
“It took months to find those guys. Then we had to fly them to Los Angeles and seven days to learn the choreography that would hopefully change the world,” recalled Beyoncé. The result is a massive video featuring Tofo Tofo with Beyoncé’ and over one hundred dancers. The name Tofo Tofo means the body shaking technique. The three lithe dancers that make up the group are from Mozambique. “I love surrounding myself with that energy. They had no idea of what they were a part of in terms of the level of production. It was very ambitious and very risqué to achieve what we did. You want to feel pocessed, its about loosing control…I feel very vulnerable when I perform a song for the first time. I may not say it but I am terrified, I like that nervousness. You can’t be too comfortable and confident.”
“Working with Tofo Tofo made me feel like I was 15 years old and never wanting to leave my first video set. I can completely identify with the amount of love and passion that those guys felt. I saw them not wanting to go home, it made me cry…I’m a cornball,” she laughed between tears. “Its so nice…Forget the record sales, forget all the things to complete and trying to outdo yourself. You should be doing it just because you love it and that’s what those guys have and that’s what I want to have – Never wanting to loose it. Beyoncé’s pregnancy was revealed at the Video Music Awards in Los Angeles.
By Walter Greene | Published in Profiles98 Summer Issue 8 2011