How Beyoncé Made History With Her Coachella Performance

By the spring of 2018, Beyoncé Knowles was no doubt one of the most famous pop culture figures on the planet — a 23-time Grammy-winning artist who had already graced the world’s biggest stages, like the Super Bowl half-time show in 2016.

Meanwhile, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival had started in 1999 as an “anti-Woodstock” to make artists accessible to music goers but had turned into such an influential event that it attracted the likes of Clint Eastwood, Snoop Dogg and Cameron Diaz.

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Then on April 14, 2018, both the singer and the music festival reached new levels of fame with Beyoncé’s two-hour performance which combined performers from HBCUs, surprise reunions and her greatest hits. Not only did Beyoncé impress with her performance and vocal chops, but as the first Black woman to headline Coachella, she also seized the opportunity to showcase African American culture in a way it had never been done before.

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Beyoncé had a history of surprise Coachella performances

Beyoncé long had family ties to the festival held in the desert in Indio, California. When her husband, rapper Jay-Z, headlined in 2010, she popped out to join him in a duet of “Young Forever,” shocking the audience. Four years later, she again surprised the crowd when she joined her sister, singer Solange Knowles, on stage in a choreographed routine to “Losing You.”

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