On Saturday night, the winter solstice, Beyoncé—in a sheer body con mini dress with a black shattered glass-like design by Tom Ford—greeted 500 fans after a screening of her self-titled visual album to talk about the motivations behind it. “The amount of personal growth that I experienced during this project is unlike anything else I’ve ever done,” she told the crowd at the Theater of the School of Visual Arts in the heart of Chelsea in New York City. “I took all my insecurities, all my doubts and fears and everything I’ve learned—and motherhood and how it changes your perspective on life—I took all those things and I put them into this record. I’ve very proud of it. But more than the music, I’m proud of myself for taking a risk.”
For several minutes—and between soaring cheers from a crowd whose excitement prevented them from staying in their seats—the star answered fan questions submitted via Instagram. While she touched on many subjects, one of the major takeaways was revealed a few seconds into her talk: “The biggest message for me,” she said, “is owning your imperfections and all the things that make you interesting, because I refuse to allow anyone to put me in a box.”
Keep reading to hear what Beyoncé had to say about producing something no one believed in, why she got so personal on this album, and more.