Beyoncé fans are sharing the impact her artistry has had on their lives as the Renaissance World Tour arrives in Minneapolis today. From fierce drag kings to politicians, Beyoncé’s influence has empowered Minnesotans and others to embrace their identities.

Beyoncé’s concert at Huntington Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus follows her seventh studio album, “Renaissance.” The stadium’s gates open at 5 p.m., and the show is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

The album pays homage to Black queer dance music, skillfully blending elements of Chicago house, R&B, synth-pop, and ‘70s disco. With its diverse musical influences and impactful lyrics, “Renaissance” resonates deeply with a wide range of audiences, particularly Black women, queer individuals, and artists. 

Sahan Journal spoke with four Beyoncé fans who have been impacted by her music. 

Jam Leomi, former drag king

Jam in their sparkle braids and backup outfit for the Beyoncé concert. Credit: Elena Leomi

Jam Leomi, a former drag king based in Minneapolis, recalls their first CD purchase—the second studio album from Destiny’s Child, “The Writing’s on the Wall.” Raised in a family of entertainers, Leomi, now 35, followed Beyoncé throughout the years, and found inspiration in her solo career and her impact on pop culture as a Black woman. 

“To see a Black woman go to the levels she has is kind of amazing,” they said. “Beyonce is a household name. Like, everybody knows who she is and especially to see that from a Black woman—making paper and influence, and making pop culture change—is kind of huge.” 

Leomi, who identifies as queer, said that the modern music landscape has shifted towards shorter, more fragmented musical pieces to cater to platforms like Tiktok. In contrast, “Renaissance” stands out  as a cohesive project, embodying decades of queer and Black dance music. 

“Nobody’s making full albums anymore, right?” they said. “Beyonce came out with Renaissance and that in itself is a vibe, and also a love letter to house music in that era, and to the culture that was behind it which I’m partially a part of because: queer.”

Leomi braided their hair with a rainbow stencil and plans to wear Pride overalls to Thursday’s concert, as the Renaissance World Tour is all about “allowing queer people a space to just be and celebrate.”

Robin Wonsley, Minneapolis City Council Member

Minneapolis City Council Member Robin Wonsley. Credit: Photo courtesy of Robin Wonsley

Robin Wonsley, the Minneapolis City Council’s first Black Independent socialist, presented a Black Girl Magic Honorary resolution to Beyoncé’s team Tuesday, paying tribute to Black women in Minneapolis. 

Wonsley said Beyoncé has had a cultural impact on countless Black women. She hosted a Beyoncé dance party Tuesday evening at The Hook and Ladder Theater & Lounge.

“Beyoncé has offered a point of representation for Black women stepping into our power unapologetically,” she said. “She’s the queen. Her legacy is also rooted in the legacies of other Black women who’ve come before her.” 

Lahrhonda Marshall, poet

SouLah performing at the Spokenword Lounge.

Lahrhonda Marshall, a Chicago-based poet who traveled to Minneapolis for the concert, has been a dedicated Beyoncé fan since her pre-teen years when Beyoncé was with Destiny’s Child. Over time, Marshall found Beyoncé’s music becoming increasingly relatable, and formed a deeper connection with the artist’s evolving artistry and themes. 

“Once she started going on her own, her music still resonated with me and I think it has a lot to do with the fact that she’s a Virgo like me,” said Marshall, who is also known as SouLah. 

Beyoncé, born in September under the Virgo zodiac sign, paid tribute to her astrological sign on “Renaissance.” The album’s ninth track, “Virgo’s Groove,” is a six-minute disco funk song that exudes sensuality and celebrates the gentle yet powerful aspects of Black femininity. 

This isn’t the first time Beyoncé has referenced her zodiac sign in her music. In her debut album, “Dangerously in Love,” she included a track titled “Gift from Virgo” and  mentioned the sign in another song called “Signs.” 

“Beyoncé has a way of putting messages in her music that speaks to being a woman in a male-dominated world, and giving encouragement to young brown girls,” Marshall said. “Her music reaches the ears of those who need to hear it. Like, she’s not leaving anybody out.” 

Marshall traveled seven hours to Minneapolis for Beyoncé’s show because the tickets were more affordable. 

“One thing I do know is Beyoncé gives a great performance,” she said. “That’s why her tickets are so high, because it’s well worth the money. So, I get it.” 

Ja’Mon Kimbrough, Minneapolis-based DJ

Ja’Mon Kimbrough for Carbon Sound. Credit: Derrick Gichaba for Carbon Sound

Ja’Mon Kimbrough, also known as Dj Aries Firebomb, has been a fan of Beyoncé since watching Destiny’s Child’s perform “No, No, No” on BET at the age of 10. He saw Beyoncé perform live for the first time about 10 years ago at her fifth concert tour, the Mrs. Carter Show. 

“I’ve just always really loved Destiny’s Child and Beyoncé,” Kimbrough said. “Just seeing her artistry and her growth as a performer and as a singer over the past 25 years has been really great to witness, and it’s also inspired me to be more creative.” 

When Kimbrough first started his DJ career, he initially played mainstream top 40 pop hits, but he soon realized the significance of incorporating music that inspires him, including Beyoncé and Destiny’s Child house remixes. 

“I’ve always wanted to center what I play around Black music and how Blackness is in every genre,” he said. “People loved hearing that, and it just goes back to her artistry and who she is, and being able to craft something that’s still fresh but familiar, and completely different from her contemporaries.” 

Kimbrough will attend Beyoncé’s show with his husband to celebrate one month of marriage. 

“I think ‘Renaissance,’ in particular, is such a love letter to Black women, Black queer folks, and I love it,” he said. “Honestly, I may sound biased, but there’s no skips on that album. It deserves all the accolades, and I’m so excited to see it live and get re-inspired to do more stuff as well.”

Myah Goff is an intern at Sahan Journal, currently pursuing a journalism degree at the University of Minnesota.