Beyoncé: The gift that keeps on giving. Queen Bey covers the September issue of Vogue, a historic moment for the magazine given the star's choice in photographer: 23-year-old Tyler Mitchell, who becomes the first African-American to shoot a Vogue cover in the pub's 126-year history—and for the most important month in the world of fashion editorial, no less.
There's been a bit of a back-and-forth related to the level of creative control Beyoncé was able to leverage for this issue—namely, debate over whether or not said control was "unprecedented" given Vogue EIC Anna Wintour's reportedly imminent retirement. Rumors swirled that Bey used "her power and influence" specifically to tap Mitchell, but Condé Nast officials—Wintour included—pushed back in the press, citing Vogue's contractual obligation to give the star cover control.
No matter the exact level of influence, it's clear working with Mitchell was an important, intentional choice: Beyoncé says so herself just five paragraphs into the cover story, which appears in her own words as told to Clover Hope. "Until there is a mosaic of perspectives coming from different ethnicities behind the lens, we will continue to have a narrow approach and view of what the world actually looks like," Beyonceé says in a section titled "Opening Doors." "That is why I wanted to work with this brilliant 23-year-old photographer Tyler Mitchell."
She goes on to drop more knowledge about topics like owning her changing body and finding meaning in a dark and difficult past. Revelations range from funny ("my little FUPA") to poignant ("connecting to the past and knowing our history makes us both bruised and beautiful") and prove what everyone, especially her fellow Houstonians, knew all along: There's nobody quite like Mrs. Carter.
1. She endured a difficult pregnancy.
I was 218 pounds the day I gave birth to Rumi and Sir. I was swollen from toxemia and had been on bed rest for over a month. My health and my babies’ health were in danger, so I had an emergency C-section. We spent many weeks in the NICU.
2. She embraces the FUPA.
To this day my arms, shoulders, breasts, and thighs are fuller. I have a little mommy pouch, and I’m in no rush to get rid of it. I think it’s real. Whenever I’m ready to get a six-pack, I will go into beast zone and work my ass off until I have it. But right now, my little FUPA and I feel like we are meant to be.
3. She's the descendent of a slave and slave owner.
I researched my ancestry recently and learned that I come from a slave owner who fell in love with and married a slave. I had to process that revelation over time. I questioned what it meant and tried to put it into perspective. I now believe it’s why God blessed me with my twins. Male and female energy was able to coexist and grow in my blood for the first time. I pray that I am able to break the generational curses in my family and that my children will have less complicated lives.
4. She knew Beychella was going to blow up.
I had a clear vision for Coachella. I was so specific because I’d seen it, I’d heard it, and it was already written inside of me. ... I swear I felt pure joy shining down on us. I know that most of the young people on the stage and in the audience did not know the history of the black national anthem before Coachella. But they understood the feeling it gave them.
5. Her Berlin concert with Jay Z was especially meaningful.
One of the most memorable moments for me on the On the Run II tour was the Berlin show at Olympiastadion, the site of the 1936 Olympics. This is a site that was used to promote the rhetoric of hate, racism, and divisiveness, and it is the place where Jesse Owens won four gold medals, destroying the myth of white supremacy. Less than 90 years later, two black people performed there to a packed, sold-out stadium.