Up Close and Personal with Beyoncé

Rap-Up had the chance to get up close and personal with Beyoncé last Monday in New York, while attending a small Q&A session for only a select few journalists. Read on to find out what went down.

When Beyoncé Knowles walks into Sony Studios where she recorded her upcoming album B’Day, the handful of journalists in the room and even her publicist are starstruck. The reverence is palpable as each question is asked in respectful hushed tones while her publicist looks on, completely starry eyed. The thing is, in person – even in a marvelous black gown, a bit of lace peeking beneath the hem, and fabulous, stacked heel patent loafers – Beyoncé does not command the presence she demands on stage or in front of the camera.

What we’ve all seen on the magazine covers and on TV is the “in person” version. The russet-gold bun that crowns her dewy face in the opening shot of her “Deja Vu” video falls in waves for this interview, inches of dark root showing. Her smooth skin does not glow perfectly in the dim lighting of the studio’s dark wood décor as it always seems to do when the cameras catch her on a boat, soaking up the sun with her boyfriend, or on a walk in Miami. And after slimming down for her upcoming role in the eagerly anticipated Dreamgirls, the independent woman is not particularly bootylicious.

But Beyoncé will be the first to tell you she’s not the person the hype machine has pumped her up to be. The singer says she created her famous stage persona, Sasha, “Because I don’t know if it would be as entertaining on stage if it was just me. I’ve created this other person so I can keep them separate and still maintain all the qualities that make me who I am.” In her alone time, Beyoncé replays what we’ve heard her say before, “I don’t like to wear makeup as much – I mean, I like to dress up… but there’s a time and a place for it. I love to sleep late. I love to just relax and play with my nephew, and eat food – bad food. I’m just like any other woman.”

Beyoncé admits, “B’Day is really strong – a lot stronger than I am, actually. I write songs that I need to hear. There are certain things that I say in the record that I would be too afraid to say, but it’s great to have those records that you play on the way to wherever you’re going.”

Beyoncé continues to share girlie things like how the maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice fast really worked to help her drop the weight she wanted to lose to transform into Dreamgirls’ Deena, while keeping her guard up – “If it’s my family or my friends, then I’ll be open. If it’s someone that I don’t know, then I’ll treat it like an interview.” It becomes clear what it is every one of us in the room is enamored with. It’s not only that the girl knows how to write, sing, and perform the hell out of a song, but she’s comfortable just being herself. And who can hate on that?

Reported by Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond in New York