shanghai renaissance beyonce

Beyonce’s ‘Renaissance’ Gets Red Carpet Treatment From Chinese Voguers

Voguing Shanghai held a listening party for Queen B’s new album, which pays homage to queer culture and the underground ballroom scene

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Beatrice Tamagno Headshot
12:21 PM HKT, Thu August 11, 2022 1 mins read

Unless you’ve just crawled out from under a rock, you must have already heard (or heard of) Renaissance, Beyonce’s seventh studio album — and her first in six years. In partnership with a popular Beyonce fanbase on Weibo, Voguing Shanghai held a listening party on the evening of the release on July 29.

A celebration of Shanghai’s LGBTQ+ community, the event was free to attend if you successfully answered a 10-question quiz about Queen B.

“Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the queer community has been hit the hardest. Under such disappointing circumstances, the energy and enthusiasm that erupted on the night [of release] was even more precious,” reads a post on the Weibo account.

Promotional posters of Beyoncé’s album have also popped up in Shanghai’s central district of Huangpu, and Beyonce’s Weibo account has urged fans to rush there to ‘daka’ (打卡, check-in).

beyonce renaissance shanghai china

A huge Renaissance poster in Shanghai’s Huangpu district. Image via Weibo

An ode to sweaty and emancipated club music, the 16-track album is replete with dance, techno, and all types of electronic beats.

The album also pays homage to queer culture and the underground ballroom scene. Pioneered by black and Latino members of New York’s queer community in the mid-1980s, ballroom culture provided marginalized communities with a safe space for self-expression.

Costumes, music, and dance performances at such balls served as a powerful and artistic commentary on gender, class, and race while birthing the subculture’s most known byproduct: voguing.

Ballroom culture’s influence upon pop culture has become more evident in recent years. American hit series Pose (2018), which won a Netflix Golden Globe Award, introduced the art to a wider audience.

Social media has also helped spread ballroom culture worldwide, and voguing communities have mushroomed in many countries, including China.

Founded in 2020, Shanghai Voguing is the beating heart of China’s ballroom scene. In addition to organizing voguing classes, the group has held some of the country’s first ballroom competitions, which were attended by as many as 2,000 participants.

The same organizers will hold another Renaissance listening party in Chengdu on August 13.

Cover image via Weibo

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