HRC Releases Beyonce Inspired ‘Queer Renaissance Syllabus’

HRC Releases Beyonce Inspired ‘Queer Renaissance Syllabus’
Image: via Instagram @beyonce

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has released a Beyonce Inspired ‘Queer Renaissance Syllabus’ in celebration of the queer community.  

On Monday, the HRC unveiled “Renaissance: A Queer Syllabus,” an extensive compilation of academic articles, essays, films, and other media deeply connected to Black queer and feminist studies. 

Each piece draws direct inspiration from every track on Beyoncé’s chart-topping dance album featured on the Billboard 200.

The HRC described the syllabus as a celebration of diversity and inclusion, drawing inspiration from Beyoncé’s acclaimed album, “Renaissance,” and the inclusivity of the LGBTQ+ community. 

The preview bio for the Queer Renaissance Syllabus reads, “Just as Beyoncé’s music celebrates diverse voices, this resource aims to delve into the rich spectrum of LGBTQ+ experiences and expressions”. 

Celebrating Diversity: The Queer Renaissance Syllabus

Curated by members of HRC’S HBCU program, Justin Calhoun, Leslie Hall, and Chauna Lawson, the syllabus is set to be distributed to around 30 historically Black colleges and universities. The universities include Howard University, North Carolina A&T University, Prairie View A&M University, and Shaw University.

Despite no direct collaboration with Beyoncé or Parkwood Entertainment, Hall described the creation process as seamless, noting the team’s deep knowledge and network within the academic community. 

“We knew amongst the team which authors and which folks to go to for certain things, I don’t think any of us did many Google searches,” said Hall. 

“We knew where to go to connect the right [resources] to one of her songs [and] build a course out of it. It is really a testament to well-read, well-learned people. I feel obligated to say that because we don’t talk about ourselves like that. We’re smart. It would take folks with Howard degrees to put something like this together,” Hall told Billboard

Beyonce A Long-time LGBTQ+ Ally 

Through her music and performances, Beyoncé has long been seen as a powerful symbol of empowerment and liberation and a queer icon. 

On her “Renaissance” album, Beyoncé collaborated with transgender activists and musical artists like Honey Dijon and Ts Madison on the track “Cozy.” This collaboration offered a significant platform for their voices and perspectives, marking a notable moment of inclusivity within the mainstream music industry.

According to Calhoun, the intentional mixing and sequencing of “Renaissance” mirrors the flow of a seamless DJ set. This creative choice enhances the syllabus’s resemblance to a comprehensive lesson plan.

There are 6 themes which form the foundation of the syllabus. These themes include: ‘Empowerment and Self-Acceptance’, ‘Intersectionality and Inclusivity’, ‘Social Justice and Activism’, ‘Resilience and Overcoming Diversity’, ‘Artistic Expression and Storytelling’, and ‘Legacy and History’. 

Calhoun expressed that the course they curated added to the “academic cannon of Black queer scholarship” which had not been explored previously.

“We’ve made a course that adds to scholarship about Black queer futures and specifically ballroom and uplifting history that’s not as popular in academia,” he said. 

 Empowering Scholarship and Advocacy

 The syllabus features a message addressed to universities that have received the document on page 7

“Inspired by the award-winning album Renaissance by Beyoncé and the resilience of the LGBTQ+ community, this syllabus aims to amplify diverse voices, empower communities pushed to the margins, and promote inclusivity and a sense of belonging within higher education.”

“In light of the recent declaration of a national state of emergency for members of the LGBTQ+ community by the Human Rights Campaign, this syllabus becomes even more significant. It serves as a powerful tool to navigate these challenging times and foster a deeper understanding of the experiences and contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals.” 

“Through our HBCU program, we work to empower leaders, eliminate stigma, and enrich the college experience for LGBTQ+ students and the entire student body.”




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