Keeping it real

Beyoncé opens up about giving birth, body acceptance and diversity

A detail from Vogue's September 2018 cover, featuring Beyonce Knowles, photographed by Tyler Mitchell. (Twitter/Vogue Magazine)

In a candid interview to accompany the cover of Vogue’s prestigious September issue, Beyoncé Knowles gets deeply real about everything — from her emergency C-section, to being the descendant of a slave owner.

The singer, who was given unprecedented control of the issue, has not previously spoken about the birth of her twins, Rumi and Sir, by Caesarean section. “I was 218 pounds the day I gave birth to Rumi and Sir. I was swollen from toxemia and [having] been on bed rest for over a month.” On reflection, she describes that time in her life as being in “survival mode” and feels an instant bond with parents who have experienced similar challenges.

A significant aspect of her recovery process after that major surgery, she says, was adjusting to her changed physicality. “I accepted what my body wanted to be,” she says. “… I was patient with myself and enjoyed my fuller curves. My kids and husband did, too.

“I think it’s important for women and men to see and appreciate the beauty in their natural bodies.”

That’s also partly why she “stripped away the wigs and hair extensions and used little makeup” for her shoot by 23-year-old Tyler Mitchell — the first African-American cover photographer in the magazine’s 126-year history. “Until there is a mosaic of perspectives coming from different ethnicities behind the lens, we will continue to have a narrow approach and view of what the world actually looks like,” she says, recalling how when she started out, 21 years ago, she was told it was hard for her to book magazine covers “because black people did not sell.”

She also discusses her hopes for her children’s futures, the most important lesson we often fail to teach boys, and how the birth of her twins gave her hope for overcoming her family’s “generational curse” of “broken male-female relationships, abuse of power, and mistrust”  — including the recent discovery she is descended from a slave owner who fell in love with and married a slave.

Read the full interview at Vogue.

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