What Beyoncé’s Grammy performance can teach us about self-love, just in time for Valentine’s day.
In case you missed it, Beyoncé stole the show at the Grammys award ceremony on Sunday with an incredible performance which was amongst other things a homage to Oshun, the Yoruba goddess of fertility. She may or may not have realised it (although I’m personally of the opinion that Beyoncé does nothing by accident) but her goddess-like celebration of womanhood and fertility is just in time for Valentine’s day.
Well, some scholars have proposed that long before we had over-priced restaurants and tacky cards, Valentine’s day was an ancient Roman festival called Lupercalia, a pagan celebration of fertility and motherhood as the spring approached. This can remind us that the customs and holidays we celebrate pre-date capitalism by thousands of years and once upon a time served a spiritual purpose.
What’s love got to do with it?
Well, actually, a lot. The love on display in Beyoncé’s performance was deep and all-encompassing. As well as paying respect to her mother, and her mother’s mother, and her mother’s mother’s mother, the love that was being paraded was really just a goddamn beautiful celebration of Beyoncé herself and her power as a (really, really famous) cis-woman. She performed two songs from her Lemonade album – Sandcastles and Love Drought – and evoked goddess’ from various different religions using costume and choreography.
The performance opens with a hologram of the singer on stage, dressed in gold with billowing yellow fabric around her, a reference to Oshun – who is often depicted wearing yellow and gold and surrounded by water. Later on in the performance she channels the Virgin Mary as well as the Kali, the Hindu goddess of death, sexuality and motherly love when she appears to have many arms. The flowers on stage represent Venus, Roman goddess of fertility.
Rather than emphasising her sexuality (not that there’s anything wrong with that), she chose to remind women, specifically black women, of the deep connections they have with nature, humanity and mythology.
So this Valentine’s day why not channel your inner goddess by taking a leaf out of Beyoncé’s book and going crazy in love for yourself (and call your mum), it’s what Beyoncé would want.