PSA: Beyoncé is out-Beyoncéing herself again! For the first time in Vogue’s 126-year history, it was announced that the 36-year old entertainment mogul, entrepreneur, brand ambassador, and mother of three would be given complete and “unprecedented control over Vogue’s September issue.” All of the creative decisions, photographs, and editorial content surrounding her cover story, would come from Queen B herself. Although the magazine will not hit stands until next month, the digital issue launched on Vogue.com, gives us a glorious glimpse of what’s to come. Beyoncé chose to get real and raw, gracing the cover with very little makeup and natural hair, while opening up about motherhood, Coachella, and the legacy she hopes to leave.
Beyoncé’s choice of photographer for the cover is also making headlines. Tyler Mitchell is the first black person and youngest photographer ever to shoot the cover of American Vogue. Who is Mr. Mitchell? Aside from being a formidably talented 23-year old with a great Instagram aesthetic, Tyler Mitchell is also a filmmaker, an Atlanta native, and recent NYU graduate with a hefty resume under his belt. In his seemingly short professional career, he has already shot with Solange Knowles, Spike Lee, Amandla Stenberg, and for publications such as Office Magazine, i-D, and even Teen Vogue.
This decision, which was surely made on Queen B’s behalf, is revolutionary but, should not come as much of a surprise. Beyoncé has a track record of giving back outside of her music. Whether it is through her promotion of a healthy vegan lifestyle, her collaboration with Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” Campaign, or her #BeyGOOD initiative which funds college scholarship programs including the Homecoming Scholars Awards Program, Beyoncé acknowledges the importance of lifting up the generations of people that have supported her for so long.
We may not all have the platforms or power that Beyoncé possesses. In fact, her life is probably the exact opposite of mine. But, we all have the potential to make this world even a little bit of a better place. Here are some ideas of non-Beyoncé level ways we can give back:
Support Local Artists
Yes, I want On The Run II tickets. No, it would not be financially wise for me to purchase them. Instead, I prefer to give a few dollars at a nearby open mic night and spend the next day obsessively watching videos of OTRII on Twitter like everyone else. Supporting your friends and local talent is just as necessary as supporting your favorite but already-successful singer. If you’re not fortunate enough to live close to a music hall or café, research ways to contribute online. Keep your co-worker’s SoundCloud link on loop. Read and comment on your old classmate’s blog. Watch your college roommate’s short film. Ask the artists in your life if there is any way that you can support them and their work. When they blow up, you’ll be the one saying “you knew them when.”
Check-In On Your People
If Everything Is Love taught us anything, it’s that Beyoncé has a genuine group of friends and no one is allowed to mess with them. In “Friends,” she sings about her tight circle and just how much they uplift and check in on her. Charity begins at home and sometimes the people closest to you are the ones that need the most assistance. Pouring love into your friends can be as easy as sending a text.
Appreciate The Planet
Most people already understand the importance of conserving the environment. We know the value of recycling, supporting local farmers’ markets, and re-tweeting every new restaurant that declares a ban on plastic straws, but what else can we do to assure that we are preserving this planet for generations to come? Go beyond the norm! Unplug your appliances when you leave the house. Even when they are on standby, they continue to draw energy. Opt for candles at night when you need to maneuver around the house. They prevent you from using electricity and smell amazing! Shorten your showers by timing them with a few of your favorite songs. Once you’ve reached the end of the playlist, you’ll know it’s time to step out and won’t end up daydreaming about dinner for ten minutes (I’m not the only one who does that right....RIGHT?!?!).
Pay It Forward (Literally)
There are many ways to be charitable without breaking the bank. Sometimes this means giving away your old clothes and books, volunteering with an organization, sharing a GoFundMe page, or even donating blood!
Random Acts of Kindness
You may be surprised at just how much a random act of kindness can improve someone else’s day. Perhaps, a random act of kindness has happened to you, so you are not surprised at all. Try it out for yourself! Leave a kind note on a bar napkin or pay for the coffee of the person standing behind you in line. Small acts can go great lengths in making someone else’s day.
There are a number of celebrities who have made a mission out of uplifting, exposing, and employing the next generation of movers, thinkers, and shakers. Oprah Winfrey created her own network, which consistently debuts a diverse array of television shows. Lebron James just made headlines for opening The Promise School, a public school in Akron, Ohio dedicated to at-risk youth. Drake has repeatedly called upon 22-year old filmmaker Karena Evans to shoot the music videos to his best summer bops. The fact that we cannot yet provide for others on this level should not deter us, but motivate us to start implementing small positive change wherever possible. Even when we fear that we have very little to offer, we must ask ourselves, “what would Beyoncé do?”