Adult Readers Advisory

Literary Works Referenced in Beyoncé’s Homecoming Available for Loan

Have you watched Beyoncé’s Homecoming on Netflix yet? Check out some of the source material from NPL next time you visit.

Homecoming expands on Beyoncé’s 2018 landmark 2018 Coachella performance. In crafting the film, she deliberately drew on the works of several African-American literary icons. We’ve gathered quotes from the documentary and paired them with their sources, all of which are available for loan. We’ve also suggested other works by the author for further reading. Thank you for the inspiration, Beyoncé!

“If You Surrender To The Air, You Can Ride It” — Toni Morrison

Appearing on one of the title cards in Homecoming, this Toni Morrison quote is from Song of Solomon, published in 1977. Song of Solomon is one of several Morrison works we have available for loan. In April, the library acquired a collection of Morrison’s recent essays entitled The Source of Self-Regard, also available on audiobook.

“Education Must Not Simply Teach Work — It Must Teach Life” —W.E.B. DuBois

This quote by Civil rights activist and abolitionist W.E.B DuBois is from the 1903 article “The Talented Tenth” in which DuBois argues for the right for Black Americans to pursue higher education in the United States. This and other DuBois articles are discussed in a chapter of Stamped From the Beginning by Historian Ibram X. Kendi, which won the National Book Award, and is available for loan.

“Our Mothers And Grandmothers… Moving To Music Not Yet Written” — Alice Walker

Alice Walker wrote these words in a 1983 collection of prose called In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens, available for loan. In addition to this collection of essays on feminism and black identity, we have numerous works of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction by Walker including her seminal The Color Purple.

“Without Community There Is No Liberation” — Audre Lorde

Homecoming quotes author and feminist activist Lorde’s most well-known speech, “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House,” which she gave in 1979 at an international conference on feminism.  The transcript of the speech has been studied and published in numerous anthologies and texts, including A Burst of Light. In addition to this nonfiction work, we also have Lorde’s collection of poems available for loan. Earlier this month, Lorde was one of several Librarians as Poets displayed in our fiction room display.

“What I Really Want To Do Is Be A Representative Of My Race… I Have A Chance To Show How Kind We Can Be” — Maya Angelou

This Angelou quote from the Homecoming trailer is from a 2013 interview. Maya Angelou is a prolific writer of memoir and children’s books. Other writers write children’s books about her, too.

“Feminist: A Person Who Believes In The Social, Political, And Economic Equality Of The Sexes” — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Beyoncé fans likely recognize Adichie’s voice from the Coachella performance of “Flawless,” which is also featured in the studio recording. The clip comes from Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s 2012 TEDx Talk titled, “We Should All Be Feminists.” The TEDx Talk was later published as a slim volume of the same title, available for loan. We also have both of her highly-praised novels, Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun,available for circulation.