From the moment Beyoncé removed the profile photos across her socials, those of us who are tapped into the fandom network instantly knew that it was time to get ready because she was coming.
Nearly six years after her last solo album, the award-winning performer announced Thursday that her next project, titled Renaissance, will arrive on July 29, sending fans into a frenzy.
Whether it's dropping an entire visual album in the dead of the night or choosing to exclusively host her art on a single platform, if there’s one thing the “Black Parade” singer does well, it’s redefining what the rollout of a project can look like.
The coordination around Renaissance is no different. With a month until the arrival of the project billed as "Act 1," the singer’s official site launched four mystery merchandise boxes, and fans did not waste any time securing their own.
Olivia Lapeyrolerie, a 29-year-old poet and political consultant from Brooklyn, woke up at 8:45 a.m. on Thursday and saw a post that alerted her to Beyoncé’s return.
“I rarely do anything before I have coffee — but this morning the ancestors told me to check IG, and I saw there was some new Beyoncé drop,” she told BuzzFeed News. “I went to her website and bought ‘box one’ with a swiftness that would’ve knocked a wig off.”
The website has four boxes labeled “Pose 1” to “Pose 4” for sale, retailing at $39.99.
A short description of the boxes indicates that fans will receive a T-shirt with a graphic print of Beyoncé, a physical copy of the album in the form of a CD in a four-panel soft pack, and a 28-page photo booklet, including a mini poster.
The T-shirts are inclusively sized, ranging from small to 5XL.
Lapeyrolerie shared that she had been a proud member of the Beyhive and felt like she absolutely needed whatever was in the box. She said she was acting “on pure instinct” when she made her early morning purchase.
“Once I floated back down to Earth lol, I was like, I guess I now have to procure a CD player to play the CD that comes in the box, but that'll be a purchase for another day,” she said.
According to Beyoncé’s website, the artwork and design for the T-shirts will be unveiled at a later date, and the boxes will be shipped starting July 29, upon the album’s release.
Despite the mystery around the final product, fans say they’re not worried about potentially being disappointed by what they get.
“If it was done by anybody else but Beyoncé, I would be. But she is a creative genius so I'm sure it'll be great,” Lapeyrolerie said. “I have more faith in Beyoncé than the US government; I know this won't be a redo of the COVID at-home test packages.”
Lapeyrolerie purchased the Pose 1 box, but said that she was now regretting not going with Pose 4 given the significance of the number to the Knowles-Carter family.
Hannah Audifferen, a legal clerk from Atlanta who bought the Beyoncé box after waking up in the middle of the night to get some water and check social media, similarly regretted not choosing the Pose 4 box.
“I’ve never bought Beyoncé merch before. She is so secretive in her creative process, I just kinda wanted a piece of this history,” Audifferen told BuzzFeed News.
“I chose box two and now I’m thinking I should’ve chosen box four since four is her favorite number,” she added.
Audifferen said she had no doubt that the merchandise would be amazing.
“I think Beyoncé is too meticulous and calculated to put out a sub-par product, whether it be music or merch,” she said. “She titled the album Renaissance, so I’m sure she’s going to deliver something amazing.”
Other Beyoncé megafans like Melanie, from Houston, went all in by purchasing all four mystery boxes a little after 7 a.m.
The 32-year-old, who only wished to be identified by her first name, said she wouldn’t dare miss out on an opportunity to own all the merchandise available to commemorate the moment Beyoncé announced new music.
“This is the first album we’ve had in years," she said. "A chance for her to give us ass-clapping music that pushes multiple genres forward again. How could I not buy it?”
Dejah, a 22-year-old student from Chicago, admitted her purchase was an impulse buy. She had been introduced to Beyoncé’s music as a young child by her mother.
“I think the Beyhive is so dedicated because we don’t wanna miss anything,” Dejah said. “We’re in a time where artists don’t really do promo anymore, and I think Beyoncé set the tone even more for that when she spontaneously dropped her self-titled [album] in 2013.”
Xavier, a 26-year-old publicist from Brooklyn, was getting ready for bed when he went for a final scroll of his Twitter timeline and saw the album announcement from Tidal. He said he proceeded to scream into his pillow with excitement.
“It was 1:30 a.m. I didn’t go to sleep until 3:30 a.m.,” he told BuzzFeed News.
Without hesitation, Xavier snapped up a box of the merchandise because, in his words, “better safe than sorry.”
His love for Beyoncé began as an 8-year-old boy dancing to "Crazy in Love" whenever it played on the television.
“Being a fan of hers for so long, I’ve learned that she always delivers high-quality things, merch included,” Xavier said. “One of the worst feelings is missing out on Beyoncé’s greatness. I have zero clue what to expect except for the CD and the shirt, but I’m secretly hoping one of my boxes has the FWT (Formation World Tour) DVD.”
As a fan who has previously purchased her merchandise, Xavier said that he had yet to be disappointed by what the singer offered.
Even in the midst of financial insecurity and the rising cost of living, the price of fandom was something that all her fans agreed that they were happy to pay.
“[Beyoncé’s] paid her dues,” Xavier said. "She’s been strategic with her artistry and has been able to mostly control how her art is put out to the world and the subjects she chooses to discuss. As fans, we respect that."