How many ways do we love Queen Bey? A superfan explains how Beyoncé gives her followers permission to take control
Through a fog of food-truck smoke, a sea of Ivy Park and feminist slogan-clad fans move through the London stadium. To my left are groups of black girls in co-ordinated yellow or gold-hued outfits; to my right, yards of bee motifs. This was an experience, like many before it, that we’d all tell our grandchildren about. Now, for one night, and one night only, there was just me, the Beyhive and Beyoncé – even if her husband did happen to be there.
The Beyhive is perhaps the most dedicated group of superfans (or, as they often call themselves, “stans”) on the planet, and I consider myself one of them. Much catchier than its predecessor, the Beyontourage, the origins of which are unknown, the term Beyhive entered the mainstream consciousness around the 2011 release of 4, Beyoncé’s fourth studio album and her first project done independently of her father, Mathew Knowles. In a nod to the new direction her career was taking – a slightly more grown-up version of the women’s empowerment anthems for which she had become known – Beyoncé’s already precise vocals seemed to improve. And her fans were one-upping themselves just as she was, taking on the detractors at every turn.