On Thursday, a day before the album is slated to drop, the 40-year-old published a letter on her website, sharing some personal insight into the inspiration behind her new music and thanking the support system that “held me down” during her creative process.
“This three act project was recorded over three years during the pandemic. A time to be still, but also a time I found to be the most creative,” she wrote. “Creating this album allowed me a place to dream and to find escape during a scary time for the world. It allowed me to feel free and adventurous in a time when little else was moving. My intention was to create a safe place, a place without judgment. A place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking. A place to scream, release, feel freedom. It was a beautiful journey of exploration.”
Beyoncé continued, “I want to give a special thank you to Rumi, Sir, and Blue for allowing me the space, creativity, and inspiration. And a special thanks to my beautiful husband and muse, who held me down during those late nights in the studio. A big thank you to my Uncle Jonny. He was my godmother and the first person to expose me to a lot of the music and culture that serve as inspiration for this album. Thank you to all of the pioneers who originate culture, to all of the fallen angels whose contributions have gone unrecognized for far too long. This is a celebration for you. Thank you to my Parkwood crew, my slab, Dream, and all of the talented producers involved. Mama, I luhhhh you. To my father, my O.G., my first teacher: you inspire me in every move that I make. I love you.”
She ended the note, “To all of my fans: I hope you find joy in this music. I hope it inspires you to release the wiggle. Ha! And to feel as unique, strong, and sexy as you are. Love y’all deep, B.”
The letter was published alongside two images, one featuring 10-year-old Blue Ivy and five-year-old twins Rumi and Sir sleeping in bed while snuggled up close to their mom, and the other showing a young Tina Lawson sitting beside Beyoncé’s “Uncle” Jonny. Jonny was Tina’s nephew, but Beyoncé and her sister, Solange, referred to him as their uncle.
Beyoncé has previously spoken about the close bond she shared with Jonny while accepting the Vanguard Award at the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in 2019. Standing onstage with her husband, the singer called Jonny “the most fabulous gay man” she had ever met.
“I want to dedicate this award to my Uncle Jonny, the most fabulous gay man I ever knew, who helped raise me and my sister,” she said in an emotional speech. “He lived his truth. He was brave and unapologetic during a time when this country wasn’t as accepting. And witnessing his battle with HIV was one of the most painful experiences I’ve ever lived. I’m hopeful that his struggle helped to open pathways for other young people to live more freely. LGBTQIA rights are human rights.”
Following Beyoncé’s speech, Tina posted a heartfelt message on Instagram about the loss of Jonny and the impact he had on their lives.
“My nephew Johnny was my best friend growing up,” she wrote. “We were inseparable, my mom always said when Johnny farts you got to be there to catch it. He was the best designer and best dresser, best gossiper [and the] best cook… He was my brother he was my best friend and I love and miss him still.”
Although Renaissance hasn’t been officially released, the Beyhive was abuzz after a French fan posted a photo of Beyoncé’s seventh studio album in CD format, causing fans to speculate that the album had been leaked.
Shortly after news of the apparent leak broke, Variety was able to obtain high-quality audio files that they say sound like tracks from the project. Songs titled “Alien Superstar”, “Church Girl” and “Cuff It”, all from Beyoncé’s previously teased tracklist, began to make their rounds on social media, sending loyal fans into an uproar.