Beyonce’s stunning visual album Black Is King was rich in inspiration from various cultures across Africa and now her dance captain, Ashley Everett, has inspired hope that the singer will finally embark on an epic tour in the motherland.
Black Is King is a celebration of Blackness and features songs and music videos from Beyonce’s Afro-centric album The Lion King: The Gift, such as Brown Skin Girl, Already and Power.
Following the film’s release on Disney Plus, Beyonce’s fans in Africa united in their droves calling for the singer to announce shows across the continent given she has never properly toured there.
The Formation singer last performed in South Africa in 2018 when she appeared at the Global Citizen concert alongside husband Jay Z for a one-off performance.
Bey’s longtime dance captain Ashley was at the show and recalls fond memories, telling Metro.co.uk: ‘I love Africa, I would love to go back to Africa and tour. We did a concert there two years ago and it was just amazing to be there, I wanted to stay longer. I actually extended my trip and went to Cape Town.’
When asked if there was a possibility that Beyonce will be heading to Africa when the world gets back to normal, Ashley teased: ‘I would love that and could see that in the future.’
Ashley, 31, has been a member of Beyonce’s core group of dancers for more than a decade and rose to prominence after starring in the iconic Single Ladies video.
Yes, Ashley was one of the two dancers by Beyonce’s side in the black and white visuals and celebrated the video’s 12th anniversary just last week.
‘I can’t believe I’ve been dancing that long,’ she laughed while reflecting on the pop culture moment.
She recalled: ‘I remember that shoot was like a 22-hour shoot or something, almost a full day.
‘I remember specifically us trying to decide if we were going to wear tights or bare skin and we ended up going bare skin and putting a bunch of baby oil or shiny stuff on.
‘We were like, do we end up wearing shiny tights or oil up and make our skin look shiny? Also we had started shooting in different shoes and we shot a few [scenes] and then I think [Bey] decided she didn’t like the shoes, so we all had to change and start over because the first take couldn’t be with a different pair of shoes.’
Ashley revealed: ‘So we had to shoot again in the new shoes and also, at some point, while we were rehearsing and shooting during that week of prep for the video, every single one of us fell in that concret studio.
‘There’s a video in the BTS of Beyonce and you see her fall, I fell, the other girl fell, we all were falling. It was just a long shoot.
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‘Of course that video is all dancing from top to bottom so it was exhausting because a lot of dance videos have a dance section or moment, but this was the entire video so we were tired to say the least.’
Ashley’s time dancing with Beyonce has been eventful, to put it mildly,
In 2016, Ashley went viral after Beyonce interrupted their show in Missouri so her dance captain’s fiance could propose to her on-stage.
They were in the middle of the Single Ladies routine and Ashley, of course said yes. However, the couple split a couple of years later and went their separate ways.
It turned Ashley into a celebrity in her own right and she now admits looking back: ‘I am private when it comes to my life. Work stuff, I’m very public but I do keep very to myself and the engagement was huge, public and viral and then along with that came the break-up and so people obviously knew about that too.
‘It definitely was interesting and weird for that to be so public. It definitely was weird.’
She added: ‘I am like, it was part of my life, it happened and moving on from that. You live and you learn but I feel like if we were on the same page, it would have been a different engagement and proposal and story. But it all happened the way it did for a reason.’
During the pandemic, Ashley’s been keeping herself busy with various projects, including teaming up with Rebel Girls, a brand which has reached 10 million girls through their books and podcast and aims to shape young, feminist minds.
Ashley explained why it’s important for young girls to use their voices, stating: ‘Now is the time, it’s been such a crazy year but now is the time to speak up.
‘It might not have been as expected or as heard before but now people’s ears and eyes are open so it’s important to use our platforms to speak out about what we believe in. That’s all we have is our voice so we have to use them.
‘Just diving into that is really what Rebel Girls is trying to bring out in all these girls, individualism and letting your true star shine.’
But ultimately, Ashley really does miss being out on the road and doing what she does best on-stage.
‘That was the bittersweet thing of this year, it forced me to stay at home and not travel and not move which was nice for once because I am constantly on the go and living out of a suitcase, on an airplane or a tour bus,’ she explained.
‘I got to settle into my house and decorate but, of course, there were days where I thought, what am I doing? I need to move, I’m not as busy as it used to be and I feel crazy.’
On when she’ll be reuniting with Beyonce on the stage, Ashley said: ‘There’s that little bit of worry in the back of mind. I definitely think we’re going to get back to live shows because what is life without live shows? Come on! That’s just part of life.
‘But of course I worry about when we get back there because even as the world is slowly opening back up, it still is one of the last things that will probably come back around. It is scary and terrifying. Luckily television and film have opened up again and people are going back to work.’
She added: ‘I want to do shows with audiences again.
‘But it’s not Beyonce telling us not to work so people haven’t been too crazy with the bombarding.’
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