Beyoncé’s performance at Budweiser’s Made in America Festival on Saturday (5th September) was carefully orchestrated to include messages of female empowerment. The 34-year-old singer, who had celebrated her birthday the evening before, headlined the first day at the Festival held at Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia.

BeyonceBeyonce at the Vanity Fair Oscars party in L.A., February 2015.

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Beyoncé’s performance has been highly praised by critics and the audience but it was the strong feminist overtones which have been widely commented on. Between songs, Beyoncé included extracts from a poem and a speech. The poem ‘Phenomenal Woman’, written by the late Maya Angelou, was recited as a dancer performed to it. 

The poem features a strong positive body image vibe which was echoed by the audio of a speech Beyoncé included in order to pay tribute to its author, Ronda Rousey. Rousey is a UFC champion who launched a body positive campaign earlier this year. Footage of a short speech she made went viral and has been viewed, to date, by over 2.9 million people. Part of her speech reads:

“I have this one term for the kind of woman that my mother raised me to not be. I call it a ‘do nothing b**ch’. The kind of chick that just tries to be pretty and be taken care of by someone else. That’s why I think it’s hilarious if my body looks masculine or something like that. Listen, just because my body was developed for a purpose other than f***ing millionaires doesn’t mean it’s masculine.” 

Beyoncé also gave a shout out to her fellow members of Destiny’s Child, the group which helped launch her career. She gave a performance of ‘Survivor’ and towards the end gave a special mention to Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams.

“Shout-out to my girl Kelly, I love you,” Beyoncé said, as Yahoo reports. “My girl Michelle, I love you.”

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