Beyonce's historic September Vogue issue is here, and it is breaking a lot of ground. Not only does the publication's largest issue include photos shot by Tyler Mitchell – the magazine's first black photographer in its 126-year history – but inside the latest edition, Beyonce opens up about her life and legacy.
In the article, which is written from her perspective, but told to former Vibe Deputy Editor, Clover Hope, Bey talks about being a mother of three, navigating her own body image, tracing her ancestry, and more. In case you're running low on time, we've compiled five highlights from Beyonce's Vogue cover story below.
1. Beyonce had an emergency C-section to give birth to the twins.
While Beyonce left many fans in awe with dazzling photos from her pregnancy shoot, it turns out carrying twins wasn't that easy. The performer revealed that giving birth to her twins Rumi and Sir was pretty difficult and resulted in an emergency C-section. "I was swollen from toxemia and had been on bed rest for over a month. My health and my babies’ health were in danger, so I had an emergency C-section," she said.
After an intense birth, she was forced to spend weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), but luckily JAY-Z provided a lot of love and support to her and the twins. "My husband was a soldier and such a strong support system for me," she continued. "I am proud to have been a witness to his strength and evolution as a man, a best friend, and a father. I was in survival mode and did not grasp it all until months later. Today, I have a connection to any parent who has been through such an experience."
Thankfully, the twins and Beyonce were able to regain strength, but the singer noted that the C-section and pregnancy took a toll on her body. "It had been major surgery. Some of your organs are shifted temporarily, and in rare cases, removed temporarily during delivery. I am not sure everyone understands that I needed time to heal, to recover," she added.
Eventually, she found peace with her new shape. "During my recovery, I gave myself self-love and self-care, and I embraced being curvier. I accepted what my body wanted to be."
2. She selected photographer Tyler Mitchell to shoot her cover in order to open doors for young, black artists.
As previously noted, Beyonce personally selected Tyler Mitchell to shoot her Vogue cover, making him the first black photographer to do so at only 23 years old.
Her decision to hire Mitchell stemmed from her desire to pay it forward and highlight talented, young artists. "Until there is a mosaic of perspectives coming from different ethnicities behind the lens, we will continue to have a narrow approach and view of what the world actually looks like," she explained. "That is why I wanted to work with this brilliant 23-year-old photographer Tyler Mitchell."
She also touched on the roadblocks for black artists in creative industries. "It’s important to me that I help open doors for younger artists," she added. "There are so many cultural and societal barriers to entry that I'd like to do what I can to level the playing field, to present a different point of view for people who may feel like their voices don’t matter."
3. Bey's family tree is connected to a slave owner.
Beyonce revealed that she recently traced her ancestry and discovered that she is a descendant of "a slave owner who fell in love with and married a slave." She admitted that she was unsure how to process the new revelation at first. "I questioned what it meant and tried to put it into perspective," she recalled. "I now believe it’s why God blessed me with my twins. Male and female energy was able to coexist and grow in my blood for the first time. I pray that I am able to break the generational curses in my family and that my children will have less complicated lives."
4. The most memorable moment on the On the Run II Tour happened in Berlin.
It seems like every moment on the On the Run II Tour has been spectacular, but one, in particular, seems to stick out in Beyonce's mind. The singer recalled her performance in Berlin at the Olympiastadion, the site of the 1936 Olympics. "This is a site that was used to promote the rhetoric of hate, racism, and divisiveness, and it is the place where Jesse Owens won four gold medals, destroying the myth of white supremacy," she explained. "Less than 90 years later, two black people performed there to a packed, sold-out stadium. When Jay and I sang our final song, we saw everyone smiling, holding hands, kissing, and full of love. To see such human growth and connection—I live for those moments."
5. She has big dreams for herself and her family.
Beyonce wants to create a lasting legacy, not just for herself, but for her family. At the end of the story, she revealed that she hopes to teach her daughters about business, family, and life. "As the mother of two girls, it’s important to me that they see themselves too—in books, films, and on runways. It’s important to me that they see themselves as CEOs, as bosses, and that they know they can write the script for their own lives—that they can speak their minds and they have no ceiling," she said. "They don’t have to be a certain type or fit into a specific category. They don’t have to be politically correct, as long as they’re authentic, respectful, compassionate, and empathetic."
She would also like to pass lessons down to her son. "I hope to teach my son not to fall victim to what the internet says he should be or how he should love," she added. "I want to create better representations for him so he is allowed to reach his full potential as a man, and to teach him that the real magic he possesses in the world is the power to affirm his own existence."
Read the full Vogue cover story here.