NME People Of The Year 2016: Beyoncé

For her political awakening

Who: One half of music’s ultimate power couple and arguably the world’s biggest solo artist

Why: Beyoncé had an incredible year even by her own lofty standards. In February she surprise-released ‘Formation’, a stunning single and music video whose politically charged imagery took days to unpack but which firmly aligned her with the Black Lives Matter movement. BLM co-founder Alicia Garza hailed Beyoncé as “an expert at encouraging some of us black women to love on ourselves, exactly as we are, just a little bit more”. Then, in April, Beyoncé surprised us again with ‘Lemonade’, a career-best album accompanied by an Emmy-nominated HBO film. Its songs tackled the emotional fallout from marital infidelity while proving traditional genre boundaries just don’t apply to Queen Bey. ‘Don’t Hurt Yourself’ has blistering rock riffs from Jack White; ‘Daddy Lessons’ is so country she performed it with the Dixie Chicks at a Nashville awards bash. Beyoncé also dazzled us on The Formation World Tour, playing 49 sellout stadium shows across Europe and North America between April and November. Quite simply, it’s hard to put it better than Bey herself on ‘Formation’: “I’m a star cause I slay”.

 
What she says: “Please go out and vote this November…. Get in formation. Use our voices to do something great for our children.”
 
What people say about her: “Beyoncé is the sickest artist around in 
the whole entire world. It’s unbelievable. 
I’ve been listening to her for 17 years 
and she’s still making music that blows 
my mind” – Adele
 
How she made the world a better place: Beyoncé used her platform to highlight the issues that matter to her, becoming a beacon of hope in the process.

See more of the NME People Of The Year 2016 profiles

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Millie Bobby Brown

Pikachu

Skepta

Margot Robbie

Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Héloïse Letissier (Christine & The Queens)

Girls Against

Riz Ahmed

David Bowie

Kanye West