Photo Via @beyonce.
Odera Igbokwe, Illustrator
What about Beyoncé inspires you?
The biggest inspiration is how she manages to center her work and craft. At the center of everything is the music, and it’s amazing to see how her dedication to her career has taken her to new heights. She dreams it, she works hard, she grinds till she owns it. I think seeing the trajectory of her career, and how all of these pieces have coalesced into such a unique and legendary space, is truly inspiring.
How long have you been a member of the BeyHive?
I’ve been a big fan since her debut with Destiny’s Child and “No, No, No.” I remember learning the choreography to “With Me” live at the Lady of Soul awards when I was eight, trying my best not to get tongue-tied, and trying to serve some multi-syllable melismatics with “No, No, No” sing-alongs.
Truly, her voice has been part of the soundtrack of my life since I was a child. And each new era brings a new element. It’s a blessing to be able to grow and watch her music grow along with [me].
What’s the wildest thing you’ve done for the Queen?
I have a concert ritual where if I can be in the front row, I will wait for as long as it takes. And I will make a painted illustration days before, even if it means staying up three days in a row. I’ve done this during the Mrs. Carter Show tour, and in 2011, I was lucky enough to give her a painting I made of her as she was singing “I Miss You” live at Roseland. I’ve also been lucky enough to do the same thing for Solange as well!
Have you ever lost faith in Bey? What keeps you excited?
I never lose faith. Time and time again, she outdoes herself, and I’ve learned to not take her potential for granted. I remember how huge “Single Ladies” was, and I thought Wow, this is a movement. How can she beat this? Then 4 happened with performances like “Run the World” at the Billboard Music Awards. Then Beyoncé happened, and then Lemonade happened. She is constantly pushing the envelope and snatching me by the edges whether I am ready or not. So now, I just know that she will slay no matter what; it’s just a matter of how she wants to determine said slay.
What’s your favorite Bey moment?
My favorite moments are anytime she goes into that trance state that performers can access, aka going off. Most recently, it’d have to be her dance break during “Formation” at the VMAs.
Where were you when “Formation” dropped?
I think I heard from the BeyHive that something special was dropping that day. And that Bey had been seen in the streets of New Orleans weeks before. So I stayed glued to my computer refreshing for news. Eventually, “Formation” dropped, and so did my chill. I remember walking outside in Brooklyn on Fulton Street and seeing black women, black femmes, black queers just enjoying their day. And I secretly wanted to interrupt their conversations to talk about “Formation.” Like, “Why are you outside? We should all be learning how to slay.”