The most nominated woman in Grammy history and arguably the hardest working woman in music, Beyonce chats with Elle Magazine to deliver a rare interview where she discusses her brand new clothing line Ivy Park and the thought provoking, debate causing “Formation” song and video. Beyonce also discusses her power and the influence her parents have had on her life. Peep some excepts below.
On the need for Ivy Park:
I think having a child and growing older made me get more into health and fitness. I realized that there wasn’t really an athletic brand for women like myself or my dancers or friends. Nothing aspirational for girls like my daughter. I thought of Ivy Park as an idyllic place for women like us…It’s really the essence: to celebrate every woman and the body she’s in while always striving to be better.
I called it IvyPark because a park is our commonality. We can all go there; we’re all welcomed. It’s anywhere we create for ourselves. For me, it’s the place that my drive comes from. I think we all have that place we go to when we need to fight through something, set our goals and accomplish them.
On what she has learned from Ivy Park:
I’ve learned that you have to be prepared. And when you visualize something, you have to commit and put in the work. We had countless meetings; we searched for and auditioned designers for months. I knew the engineering of the fabric and the fit had to be the first priority. We really took our time, developed custom technical fabrics, and tried to focus on pushing athleticwear further. And because I’ve spent my life training and rehearsing, I was very particular about what I wanted I’m sweating,I’m doing flips—so we designed a high-waist legging that’s flattering when you’re really moving around and pushing yourself.
On what power means to her:
To me, power is making things happen without asking for permission. It’s affecting the way people perceive themselves and the world around them. It’s making people stand up with pride…I discovered my power after the first Destiny’s Child album. The label didn’t really believe we were pop stars. They underestimated us, and because of that, they allowed us to write our own songs and write our own video treatments. It ended up being the best thing, because that’s when I became an artist and took control. It wasn’t a conscious thing.
It was because we had a vision for ourselves and nobody really cared to ask us what our vision was. So we created it on our own, and once it was successful, I realized that we had the power to create whatever vision we wanted for ourselves. We didn’t have to go through other writers or have the label create our launch plans—we had the power to create those things ourselves.
On lessons learned from her parents:
The gift of being generous and taking care of others. It has never left me. I’ve also learned that your time is the most valuable asset you own, and you have to use it wisely. My parents taught me how to work hard and smart. Both were entrepreneurs; I watched them struggle working 18-hour days. They taught me that nothing worth having comes easily. My father stressed discipline and was tough with me. He pushed me to be a leader and an independent thinker. My mother loved me unconditionally, so I felt safe enough to dream.
I learned the importance of honoring my word and commitments from her. One of the best things about my mother is her ability to sense when I am going through a tough time. She texts me the most powerful prayers, and they always come right when I need them. I know I’m tapped into her emotional Wi-Fi.
I’m not really sure people know or understand what a feminist is, but it’s very simple. It’s someone who believes in equal rights for men and women. I don’t understand the negative connotation of the word, or why it should exclude the opposite sex. If you are a man who believes your daughter should have the same opportunities and rights as your son, then you’re a feminist. We need men and women to understand the double standards that still exist in this world, and we need to have a real conversation so we can begin to make changes.
I don’t want calling myself a feminist to make it feel like that’s my one priority, over racism or sexism or anything else. I’m just exhausted by labels and tired of being boxed in. If you believe in equal rights, the same way society allows a man to express his darkness, to express his pain, to express his sexuality, to express his opinion—I feel that women have the same rights.
On the powerful message in her song and video “Formation:”
I’m an artist and I think the most powerful art is usually misunderstood. But anyone who perceives my message as anti-police is completely mistaken. I have so much admiration and respect for officers and the families of officers who sacrifice themselves to keep us safe. But let’s be clear: I am against police brutality and injustice. Those are two separate things. If celebrating my roots and culture during Black History Month made anyone uncomfortable, those feelings were there long before a video and long before me. I’m proud of what we created and I’m proud to be a part of a conversation that is pushing things forward in a positive way.
On the next phase of her career:
I hope I can create art that helps people heal. Art that makes people feel proud of their struggle. Everyone experiences pain, but sometimes you need to be uncomfortable to transform. Pain is not pretty, but I wasn’t able to hold my daughter in my arms until I experienced the pain of childbirth!