What makes a group of Beyoncé fans queue up for two months in front of the stadium where the pop phenomenon Queen B will give a concert? The two directors Paulo Cesar Toledo and Abigail Spindel try to answer the question in the film ‘Waiting for B’.
In small igloo tents on the paved road in front of Morumbi Stadium in São Paulo a group of charismatic and exuberant Beyoncé fans have set up camp. They live in small tents in the busy and hectic city – some of them far away from home. It might sound unappealing, but the group of Beyoncé fans are having a blast.
Marginalized Beyoncé fans
The majority of the residents in the temporary camp is marginalized for one reason or another. Many of them are gay, have dark skin and most come from the poorest parts of Brazil, explains one half of the director duo Paulo Cesar Toledo and continues:
“They (Beyoncé fans, editor’s note) are discriminated against and try to figure out which part of society they belong to. And they hope to get a little of the glamour that Beyoncé represents – the super feminine and the super successful. When the young men and women build the temporary camp in front of the Morumbi stadium, they are in a way also creating a universe – a place where they can express themselves freely.”
In ‘Waiting for B’ it is especially evident how the young gay men are harassed and ignored by their communities because of their sexuality. Alternately, they sit in the camp to ensure that it is not torn apart by passers-by who often harass them. This creates a unique unity among the campers, explains director Abigail Spindel. In the film we see how they, in spite of the pressure from society, party and ignore sexual taboos.
Lively and colorful
The camp in the Brazilian city quickly becomes a meeting place for young people who normally are faced with a wall of discrimination. By the Morumbi stadium they can realize themselves, even in drag, if that is what they want.
The film is in that sense a portrait of a (fan)culture, and you get an insight into the young people’s thoughts. We tag along into the small tents, when the subject of matter is racism, and discuss whether Beyoncé would have been a slave if she had lived 100 years ago. We also follow the young fans when they are partying and dancing – just like they want. When you normally are alone with being young, uncertain and gay, then a tent in the middle of a noisy city might be a party – as long as you are with your friends.
The young people’s skin colour and economic status are themes that are central in ‘Waiting for B’. We also follow Gabriela Electra, who, like most others, lives at home with her parents in a small apartment in a housing project. She talks about her hopes and dreams for the future, but at the same time her hopelessness is also reflected in the film. “We have no chance to meet Beyoncé with our means.”
Director Paulo Cesar Toledo who also comes from the poor part of Brazil, can recognise young people’s fascination with foreign music and the culture around it.
“I myself am from the outskirts of Sao Paolo. Beyoncé’s music is not necessarily something that speaks to me, but when I was a young guy, I also liked foreign music, so that way I identify myself with them. We have a lot in common, and I understand that part of their feelings.”
Unlike young people in ‘Waiting for B’, neither Paulo Cesar nor Abigail Spindel have done anything near to queuing the same way that Beyoncé fans did. It was also why they grew curious about what drives the young Brazilians.
More than a short documentary
The two directors saw in the Brazilian news that people had camped outside the front Morumbi Stadium two months before Beyoncé’s concert. It aroused their curiosity and they began to investigate why. They started to go down to the camp and talk to the young people. They had no thoughts of making a long documentary, but the more they took up, the more they were preoccupied with the lively and exuberant environment.
“The people in the queue were very charismatic, and we found out that there was an end in the form of the concert. We thought it could be many hours of footage that could potentially turn into a film.” says Abigail Spindel. And that was exactly what happened. After having filmed for two months, the two directors had enough material for a feature-lentgh documentary. You can see ‘Waiting for B’ and experience the sympathetic and colourful Beyoncé fans at this year’s CPH:DOX.
‘Waiting for B’ will be screened on
Wednesday November 11, at 21:45 at Bremen Teater
Sunday November 15, at 17:30 at Nordisk Film Palads