8 Reasons to Celebrate Beyoncé’s Activism

Beyonce activism

Beyoncé is more than just a decorated and beloved singer and performer, she’s doing her part to make sure the world is a safer, more just, and equitable place. Whether she’s using her massive platform to promote a vegan diet or advocate for social justice, the “Run the World” songstress understands the importance of supporting others, as well as protecting our planet. She’s now even a beekeeper!

From highlighting the issues facing communities of color to fighting hunger and food insecurity, here are eight times the singer used her platform for good.

She follows a vegan diet for the environment

The “Countdown” singer doesn’t follow a vegan diet all the time, but she’ll typically eat plant-based to get in shape. She reportedly went vegan in 2013, and then again in 2018 ahead of her Coachella headline performance. Beyoncé is also well aware that a meat-free diet is better for the environment.

“The information is hard to ignore. The benefits of a single plant-based meal a day can have such a profound impact on our health and the environment,” Beyoncé and her husband Jay-Z said in a statement in January 2019. 

At the time, the pair were encouraging others to go vegan with help from a vegan meal planning service called 22 DAYS NUTRITION, which the singers co-own with vegan exercise physiologist Marco Borges. Borges was also launching a plant-based movement titled “The Greenprint,” which Bey and Jay supported.

The pair have also invested in a handful of vegan brands.

She donates to vegan businesses 

Beyoncé does her part to support vegan businesses. In November 2020, the singer’s BeyGOOD Foundation and the NAACP gave a $10,000 grant to a vegan bakery in Memphis called The Pink Bakery.

BeyGOOD, which Beyoncé launched in 2013 during her Mrs. Carter World Tour, has a dedicated Black Business Fund designed to support Black-owned businesses. 

In January 2021, BeyGOOD teamed up with the NAACP once more to give another $10,000 grant to a vegan company in South Carolina called Herban-Eats. The woman-owned entity provides services such as vegan catering, meal preparation, community outreach, and plant-based education.

She’s a social justice advocate

Beyoncé has millions of fans around the world, which makes it all the more impactful that she frequently uses her platform to speak out against systemic racism and promote social justice. In May 2020, the Texas native took to her Instagram to speak out following the murder of George Floyd—an unarmed Black man who was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer.

“No more seeing people of color as less than human. We can no longer look away. George is all of our family in humanity. He’s our family because he’s a fellow American,” Beyoncé told her 200 million followers. She then called on them to sign a petition seeking justice for Floyd.

Beyoncé also encouraged her millions of fans to sign a petition asking for justice for Breonna Taylor—a Black woman who was shot and killed during a botched police raid while she slept in her own home in March 2020.

Additionally, the mother of three has supported the Black Lives Matter (BLM) Movement in a myriad of ways. While accepting the humanitarian award at the BET Awards in June 2020, Beyoncé dedicated it to BLM activists. She also used her speech as an opportunity to call for continued efforts to support the Black community and the importance of voting.

“Your voices are being heard and you’re proving to our ancestors that their struggles were not in vain,” she said at the time. 

Beyoncé also showed her support for the BLM movement during her highly anticipated 2016 halftime show. For the performance, the singer’s back-up dancers were dressed in all black with black berets and afros. (Reminiscent of the way members of the Black Panther Party dressed in the 1960s.)

She uplifts communities of color

The Grammy winner has been steadfast in her support of communities of color. In April 2020, Beyoncé teamed up with Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s relief fund, #startsmall, to give $6 million to the National Alliance in Mental Health, University of California Los Angeles, and several local community-based organizations working to improve mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The singer also donated more than $82,000 to the United Way of Genesee County in 2016 in support of victims of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. According to a press release shared at the time, the donation covered “filtration pitchers, faucet mount filters, replacement cartridges and truckloads of water.” Bey then paid the college costs for 14 lucky high school students, and gave them tickets to her Detroit concert.

Beyonce and Jay-Z
Beyoncé makes music with a purpose. | Getty Images

She makes music with a purpose

As any Beyoncé fan knows, she often uses her music (and the accompanying music videos) to make a statement about various social issues. She is not afraid of using her award-winning art to really shine a light on social justice issues facing the world today, and she is a staunch supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement as well as communities of color.

 “We are sick and tired of the killings of young men and women in our communities,” she wrote on her website in 2016 in response to a rash of killings of unarmed Black people. “It is up to us to take a stand and demand that they stop killing us.”

The phrase “stop killing us” appeared as graffiti in Bey’s 2016 “Formation” music video. It was cut between shots of a young Black boy dancing in front of a line of police in riot gear who later raise their hands up—a likely reference to the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown. The video was shot in New Orleans and includes references to Hurricane Katrina.

Two years later, Beyoncé’s much talked-about Coachella performances in 2018 paid tribute to the culture of historically Black colleges and universities. Each performance featured a full marching band and majorette dancers, as well as many aspects of Black Greek life.

In 2020, Beyoncé directed, wrote, and produced a musical film and visual album called Black Is King. The work is a visual companion to the 2019 album, The Lion King: The Gift. It tells the story of a young African prince who is exiled from his kingdom after his father’s death. Black Is King also acts as an allegory for the African diaspora’s journey of discovering, reclaiming and celebrating their culture and heritage.

She supports climate change awareness

In the wake of natural disasters in India, Mexico, the Caribbean Islands, and the United States in 2017, Beyoncé used the opportunity to speak out about climate change. During the “Hand in Hand” telethon, which supported hurricane relief efforts across the Gulf Coast and in the Caribbean, she said: “The effects of climate change are playing out around the world everyday. We have to be prepared for what comes next.”

The “Halo” songstress added: “Natural disasters don’t discriminate. They don’t see if you’re an immigrant, Black or White, Hispanic or Asian, Jewish or Muslim, wealthy, or poor. We’re all in this together.”

Beyonce activism
The singer helped open the Beyoncé Cosmetology Center at Phoenix House Career Academy in Brooklyn. | Getty Images

She gives to drug rehabilitation programs

Though certainly not all of Beyoncé’s charitable donations are known, one of the singer’s most impactful acts of kindness came in 2010 when she gave her entire Cadillac Records salary to a drug rehabilitation center called Phoenix House.

The $4 million donation came after Beyoncé spent two weeks at Phoenix Hose, which runs rehab centers all over the country, in order to do research for her role as Etta James. During her time there she heard personal stories from patients, including how rehab helped them. James, who died in 2012, battled her own addictions during her career. 

“Through their stories, I realized that all of us have our personal struggles and we all have something to overcome,” the singer said at the opening of Beyoncé Cosmetology Center at Phoenix House Career Academy in Brooklyn in 2010. “Drug addiction… has a stigma that must be removed. Addiction is a disease and these beautiful women I met did not choose to become addicts, but they have chosen to get better.”

She fights food insecurity

Beyoncé has sought to fight food insecurity and injustice through a steady series of donations dating back several years to organizations such as Feeding America, The Houston Food Bank. and The Global Food Banking Network.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic in December 2020, Bey encouraged her fans to help others dealing with food insecurity and vowed to do the same. “This holiday season Beyoncé and team Parkwood are committed to helping families who are facing food shortages, due to the impact of the pandemic caused by COVID-19,” a statement on her website explained.

The statement also noted that, at the time, an estimated 1 in 6 Americans were facing food insecurity. “We have to band together to help. We have seen food lines in small towns and large cities all over the country,” the statement continued. “As a team we are coming together to give non-perishable food donations. Additionally, we are giving financially to food banks and pantries in various local communities.”

Below that powerful note, Beyoncé’s team included links to more than a dozen organizations working to fight hunger, including the Mississippi Food Network, Giving Hope New Orleans Food Pantry, and more.