Beyonce Navigates the Ocean + the Perils of Managing Her Career in ‘Year of 4′ Doc
Beyonce lets us take a peak into several days in the life of a newly self-managed diva in the 21-minute documentary called 'Year of 4.' The doc is shot mostly in black and white, lending an arty air to the project. While it could have drifted into self-indulgent territory, she never goes there.
One of the most interesting elements of the doc -- and there are many -- is that we get to see the Queen B in all her divadom. While we've always called her a diva because she is a glamazon, Type A celebrity vocalist, Bey always emanates warmth and light like the diva next door. In this video, we see a serious diva come out.
The video opens with Beyonce at the beach, musing that the ocean makes her feel small and puts her life into perspective with its massiveness and that she often feels baptized and born again when she spends time in the water. That's the metaphor for her fourth solo album, '4.'
Beyonce reveals that the time she took off to enjoy nature (scuba diving in the Red Sea, tobogganing) and to enjoy her family (taking her nephew to school with 'Uncle Jay,' whose silhouette is seen but once in this doc) because she felt overworked at the end of her last album cycle. Her mother Tina urged her daughter to live her life since "you don't want to wake up with no memories."
When Beyonce got back to work, she has a clear vision of the message she wanted to deliver with her art, including sending a message of empowerment to other women, which forced her to make the tough decision of splitting with her longtime manager, dad Matthew. She candidly touches on their professional split, saying "Real change meant separating from him. it was scary, but I wasn't going to let fear stop me. It was risky for me to step out on my own."
Risky and difficult, no doubt. Beyonce is now managing herself, and we see her navigating those new administrative waters, having creative meetings, booking and paying for her own studio and proclaiming, "I'm a workaholic and I don't believe in sleep. If I am not sleeping, nobody is sleeping! Independence is not easy." Tell that to her assistant.
The Queen B also proves the rumor that she flew 200 dancers in from Africa for the video for 'Run the World (Girls)' to be true. The beat "takes you back to Africa," so Beyonce brought Africa to the video shoot. A diva gets what a diva wants.
We also witness her haggling with her team about her album cover, and while she wants the proper representation of her vision, she wants her people to suss it out somewhere else so she can concentrate on the million other things she has going on. That's when we see her in full effect.
At this point, Bey confesses that managing herself is difficult but "but I am learning so much, I am making mistakes and I am learning from them."
The clip ends with Beyonce swimming in the ocean that puts her life in perspective and her saying "I don't have to prove anything to anyone. I only have to follow my heart." The credits roll, listing Beyonce as the executive producer and director.
Girls don't run the world. Beyonce does.
Watch the 'Year of 4' Video