The Global Citizen Festival typically takes place in September, but I gather they added a date in Johannesburg this year to celebrate what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday. And who better to give it some oomph than Beyonce? (There was some weird kerfuffle about how “only” 25 minutes of it was streamed globally, and “only fans who bought a ticket and attended got to see their full performance,” to which I say: IT’S FOR CHARITY, and we are not entitled to a free livestream of every show we want to see in our lives, so maybe be happy with 25 whole minutes of it, complainers?)

Above, Bey is wearing a custom Mary Katrantzou outfit, which… let’s face it, that’s more of a swimsuit with boots and a cape, the latter of which you can see better here:

That caption has great information about the design; mapping out the 54 African countries is a really cool choice. It’s very striking and I bet it looked fantastic on-stage; for cape drama, it at least partially rivals Jennifer Lopez’s stained-glass train.

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Some parts of the bodysuit and sleeves resemble a thermal map of Earth based on data collected from space, but the whole thing is for sure ROBUST and it’s the kind of ensemble that reminds me, except writ much larger, of what Queen Elizabeth does: making sure everyone can see you, even in the cheap seats. Ditto this one:

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That’s by Ashi Studio, and I gather she wore it to sing “Halo” and “Perfect” (although I don’t know what they did with the Ed Sheeran bits. I hope he FaceTimed). It’s very romantically floaty for a slow ballad, and again creates a strong picture even from afar.

And there is more, like this custom Versace number she wore for “Who Run The World (Girls)”:

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She’s the one in yellow, by the way. I guess when you are Beyonce, you get the most safety pins. Maybe they’re like medals that way — count them to determine status.

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Those earrings appear to be the same ones she had on with the Katrantzou, and I do not know how she left them on for so long, unless they are secretly made of the very lightest polymers. The dress is Balmain, and per Vogue a lot of the outfits were attempts to incorporate elements of Afrocentric art; this one was said to use Egyptian motifs. Using her clothes to tell a story, or send a message, or evoke a feeling or a culture, is something Beyonce does very well. Unfortunately she also looks like she’s having trouble resisting picking the shorts out of her crotch.

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That’s ALL beading, right? No wonder it’s so short. They probably couldn’t have kept going due to extreme hand cramps.

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This is more of a Disney Princess bathing suit situation, and yes, Jay Z was also present and here is something he wore. He at least seems to understand and accept that he is beside the story.

Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100, Show, Johannesberg, South Africa - 02 Dec 2018

Beyonce’s theatricality is A Lot, and it gives me giggles sometimes, but it’s certainly perfect for her industry and she also harnesses it to make a lot of broader artistic statements. Jay-Z, though, for some reason, just looks like he’s blissing out on himself (in, for the record, Calvin Klein). I haven’t seen them live, though, so maybe he’s charisma on legs and I just can’t tell in photos. I don’t know, y’all — for some reason I just laugh every time I see Jay-Z, and I don’t get the impression I am laughing with him.

[Photos: Rex/Shutterstock, Getty]