this talk was part of the arts + humanities festival held at king's college london in october 2015.
We’re in a Beyoncé moment. Nearly no other pop singer is as relevant, generates as much cultural fury or enjoys as dedicated a fan base as Beyoncé. In the age of Instagram, selfies and constant internet connectivity Beyoncé has more fans, more fame, and more cultural influence than ever. Her live shows sell out almost instantly, she has broken countless sales records, and in December 2013 she nearly broke the internet with the surprise release of her fifth studio record.
But what makes her so iconic? What can Beyoncé teach us about the music industry, about the production and consumption of celebrities, or about being “fierce”? How does Beyoncé’s performance practice tie into broader histories of race and black female bodies in visual culture? How to Be Beyoncé isn’t a biography, a tell-all or a self-help guide. As part of the Festival theme of fabrication, it offers a serious meditation on Beyonce’s presence in popular culture and how she has used stage presence to fabricate her ultimate sense of self. Through the talk, we’ll learn a great deal about celebrity culture and ourselves, and we’ll see what we can learn from her image and work-ethic to help us reach our own creative potential.