In this article, I remember Beyoncé’s Renaissance beginning like yesterday. I, Dr. P. Ryan Grant, a growing bad bitch, was a disaster when June 2022 ended. I graduated from a situation broke and two months and one licensure exam away from being a psychologist. I continually doubted myself.
As I was going through a personal crisis, my favorite Beyoncé Knowles-Carter released “Break My Soul.” Seven years have passed since her explosive rock-and-country Lemonade album. In this song, Bey evoked Grace Jones, Robin S., and Crystal Waters’ house and disco styles.
With the single on repeat, I temporarily forgot about that failed relationship and moved carelessly as I ushered in this new Bey era, which reminded me of Saturday nights as a kid dancing in my room to house mixes on Philadelphia’s radio, uninhibited and anxiety-free. I forgot the escalating B.S. because of the soul-stirring mood. At that point, I knew I would accept whatever Bey offered.
Renaissance—a full-length dance CD reflecting all things Black and gay—followed. I was healed by this album. If you’re feeling like a passenger on the Hot Mess Express, grab some headphones, cancel your plans, and buckle up. If it sounds excessive, let me list a few ways Beyoncé’s Renaissance improved my mental health.
Beyoncé Houston-born Giselle Knowles was born on September 4, 1981. She formed an all-girls band with childhood friends at nine. The band was Girl’s Tyme. After some band members left and others joined, Beyoncé became the main singer.
The band joined with Columbia Records in 1997 as Destiny’s Child. Their first album was 1998’s Destiny’s Child. Beyoncé wrote and produced music. She co-wrote “Bootylicious” and “Independent Women.”
In the early 2000s, the band split. Beyoncé was involved in writing her 2003 solo album Dangerously in Love. The album topped the charts.
The Destiny’s Child band reunited in 2004. Their Destiny Fulfilled album was successful. In 2005, they announced their breakup during a world tour.
In 2008, Beyoncé released the double album I Am…Sasha Fierce. The album propelled Beyoncé to several 2010 Grammys. She won Song of the Year, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, and Contemporary R&B Album. Her career included several more Grammys. She had the most Grammys by 2023.
Beyoncé appeared in Dreamgirls (2006) and Cadillac Records (2008). She voiced a forest queen in Epic (2013). In 2019, Beyoncé voiced a character and sang on the soundtrack of Disney’s Lion King remake.
Beyoncé married Jay Z in 2008. They had twins Sir and Rumi in 2017 and a daughter Blue Ivy in 2012.
This Helped Me See Myself
Beyoncé assembled a Justice League of LGBTQIA+ creatives and influences (TS Madison, Syd, Big Freedia, and Moi “Miss Honey” Renee) to create a musical masterpiece that proudly saluted the queer community on a global, mainstream level during a time when politicians are preaching homophobia.
Renaissance, released at midnight on July 29, 2022, left me dumbfounded and filled with gratitude for Beyoncé for noticing me and other gay people (like her Uncle Johnny, who inspired the album) and allowing us our time to shine.
It Confirmed my Path
After sending the botched situation “to the left,” I lost some confidence. Unsure about myself and my choices.
Bey’s Renaissance told me to remember who I was. “Alien Superstar” tells me that I’m “one of one,” and if this man can’t recognize it, another will. Fear, nervousness, and doubt must “part like the Red Sea” as I enter any location, according to “Move” (via Grace Jones). “Thique” reminded me to look in the mirror and recall that I won this narrative.
The album provided me with the confidence to finish a chapter. Nothing would stop me from reaching greatness.
It Validated my Childhood Problems
Renaissance was there this summer when I found a relative who couldn’t handle my queerness. I was humiliated and went back to being a shy kid who cowered under bullying and peer rejection and felt like he had no community or space to exist without criticism. It was my fault.
My struggles with presence and confidence are typically driven by previous and present rejection or mistreatment related to my identity. Can’t we all relate? Many of our current relationship, mental, and emotional issues stem from childhood rejection, neglect, bullying, or emotional instability. I’ve seen it with clients.
According to TikTok girlies who talk about “healing your inner child” or “reparenting yourself,” acknowledging previous hurts and repairing them can help you today. Healing for me required listening to the Renaissance album’s positive lyrics.
It may seem too basic, but sometimes you just need a positive affirmation to get back on track.
Renaissance has and still challenges me to be audacious and not waste time with those who can’t love me. Instead of dimming my light, I remembered “Cozy” lyrics that pushed me to get “comfortable in my skin [and] cozy with who I am.” “Church Girl” reminded me that “I ain’t tryna hurt nobody” and “nobody can judge me but me.” Every time I listen to this album, “Break My Soul” inspires me to “release my mind” and “let go of the stress”—family, man, job, etc.
Hope Came From It
It felt like an eternity before Beyoncé began The Renaissance World Tour in Sweden on May 10, 2023. But knowing this tour would happen gave me hope when I was still recovering from the pandemic and trying to find normalcy. Imagine hanging out (or Zooming) with your friends, catching up, complaining about finances, or navigating the filthy dating scene, when someone adds, “Yeah, but that Renaissance Tour, though!” Everyone suddenly relaxed, belted, “Tip, tip, tip on hardwood floors!” and shared how Beyoncé and her Renaissance had made life easier.