Behind most major artists are passionate fandoms. Rihanna has the Navy; BTS has the Army; Nicki Minaj has the Barbz; and of course, Beyoncé has the Beyhive. Celebrity fandoms go way back, but over the last decade they have become a social phenomenon. For every fandom, there are many social media accounts that dish out the latest news and updates about their favorite artist, with some of them attracting hundreds of thousands of followers.
Beyoncé Legion is one of the biggest and most influential celebrity fan accounts active today. It currently asserts itself as “Beyoncé’s biggest fansite” with more than 350,000 followers on Twitter. And over the course of 10 years, Beyoncé Legion has become the go-to site for exclusive Beyoncé content. Similar to Beyoncé herself, the Legion is clouded by mystery. While the site has appeared in many roundups, and the founder did a few interviews years ago, it’s still unclear exactly how it operates or how it amassed such a large following. In hopes of understanding how one of the biggest celebrity fan accounts works, Complex reached out to the founder of Beyoncé Legion, who agreed to speak to Complex only on the condition of complete anonymity.
Beyoncé Legion began as a Tumblr blog during the peak of the platform’s popularity in 2011. This was before stan culture had taken over the internet, and before the Beyhive fully formed into the powerhouse it is today.
“It was during the huge Tumblr wave, before stans were even a thing,” the founder recalls. “They were beginning to form and still learning how to act as a unified fandom. Looking back, I remember we had way less followers and a lot more freedom.”
In 2012, the Legion moved to Twitter. It was right around the time Beyoncé returned to live performances after the birth of her first child, Blue Ivy. By 2013, the Legion started to gain considerable momentum when they launched their website and began sharing exclusive content. In December 2013, Beyoncé Legion was the first to tweet the link to Beyoncé’s self-titled album, and things took off from there. BL confesses that at times, the creative freedom they originally had in its early days started to “feel a bit more strict and reserved once you realize there are too many people watching,” but they also express excitement for how far they have come in terms of their daily operation.
Beyoncé Legion is highly organized and strategic when it comes to posting. While it primarily lives on social media platforms, the Legion functions similarly to a multimedia business. For Beyoncé’s most recent Adidas Icy Park collection, which dropped in mid-February, Beyoncé Legion unveiled an elaborate promotional campaign in celebration of its launch. On Jan. 24, they were one of the first to share a 22-second snippet of a promo video to announce the upcoming collection. In the weeks following, the platform dropped behind-the-scenes images of Beyoncé, Gucci Mane, Hailey Bieber, and more rocking the new Adidas x Ivy Park line that ranged from outerwear to bodysuits and sneakers. Each post was carefully thought-out.
BL says their attention to detail came from seeing how disorganized other fan accounts were. “When we first started the fansite, I wasn’t really satisfied with the way other fan sites were presenting content,” they explain. “I thought in order to be taken seriously, we should treat it more professionally. I wanted to create our own methods and have our own way of doing things, and I wanted to establish a strategy of how we were gonna do it in real time. It wasn’t much in the beginning, but we’ve learned a lot, and to see so many accounts and websites relying on us and using our same format is very rewarding.”
Every rollout plan has a “specific template,” BL says. “Posting content on such a huge platform can’t be done randomly. You need to be highly organized and consistent. For me, it’s become second nature. A lot of times I have to curate captions on the spot as clearly and as promptly as possible.”
The last two months have been particularly busy for Beyoncé Legion. Over our email correspondence, BL mentions preparing for Icy Park and the release of Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment artists Chloe x Halle’s “Ungodly Hour” music video. BL says sharing breaking news like this calls for a lot of discipline and focus: “If there’s a big announcement coming, the fans will go into panic mode, in which case we need to stay focused amid the chaos and get all the info and the material needed out.” To say the Icy Park collection caused a frenzy on social media is an understatement. Soon after the first promo material went live online, the hashtag was trending as fans plotted their next purchase. BL reveals that the pressure to deliver doesn’t necessarily bother them. “I’m surprisingly calm and collected when it comes to things like this,” they say. “I might be really nervous and freaking out on the inside, but I can still get the job done.”
On the days when Beyoncé Legion isn’t overwhelmed with music releases and fashion campaigns, they are still working to fulfill fans’ Beyoncé needs. BL suggests there is no such thing as a “typical day within the realm of the Beyhive,” but on slow days, they might resort to throwback photos of Beyoncé as a child or in the early stages of her career. Other times, they might pull out unseen content from their archives like a two-minute clip of the original studio sessions from the making of Beyoncé’s 2013 self-titled album.
One of the biggest mysteries of Beyoncé Legion is how they obtain their exclusive content. It’s a staple of the platform’s brand and a reason why they continue to be one of the most influential fan accounts in the game. Asked whether they have any communication with Beyoncé and her team regarding big announcements and other exclusive information, BL remains as tight-lipped as their fierce leader. “I’d like to think by now that I’m nearly just as secretive [as Beyoncé], and I’ll attempt to prove it by not answering this question,” they say, referring to their tools for staying on top of Beyoncé news as their “secret recipes.” Still, they suggest they receive a lot of their content earlier than the general public. “Getting material [early] usually helps us prepare and gear up for what’s to come, so we’re able to post things on time. This also helps us tease the fans a bit beforehand, which is always fun and gets people really excited.”
Despite the secrecy on how they acquire early release dates and exclusive material, they reveal some of their more simple posts are gathered from social media and Google alerts: “[They] are probably the best tools to stay up to date on your favorite artist. If you want to start a fan account, you can always count on those, as well as keeping track of the people on their team. That way, you’ll be able to get some behind-the-scenes content as well.”
Managing such a big platform comes with its own set of challenges, particularly when it comes to finding a work-life balance. From the beginning, BL made the decision to conceal their identity in order to preserve their personal life. “The more time has passed, the more I’ve learned that choosing to remain anonymous throughout all of this was the best decision we could’ve made,” they continue. “You get to post a few tweets and interact with the fans, share a few thoughts and make a few jokes, and it ends there. You get to resume your life without having to worry about the internet’s craziness catching up to you in real life.”
Today, you can expect every major recording artist to have a fan account. Beyoncé has more than a dozen on Twitter alone, but Beyoncé Legion is in a league of its own. According to BL, a lot of the platform’s success is owed to their dedication to Beyoncé and the Beyhive. “We’re very dedicated and feel responsible toward the people that depend on us to keep up with the biggest artist in the world.”
One of the biggest things that differentiates Beyoncé Legion from the other fan accounts is their commitment to only sharing confirmed news, instead of gossip or rumors. For the most part, Beyoncé has managed to keep her personal life out of headlines. Over the years, there have been instances in which news has leaked, such as the 2014 incident where Beyoncé’s sister Solange was caught on camera hitting Jay-Z in an elevator during the Met Gala. But Beyoncé Legion has made a conscious decision not to focus on situations like this.
“Beyoncé Legion has never been about any kind of negativity. Never about competition or pitting women against each other,” they say. “We’ve always made sure to follow Bey’s lead and parallel what we stand for.
“In the day and age when literally anyone could post anything and make it seem as if it’s absolutely indisputable, I felt like it was important to establish a reliable source where the fans could get their real info from, away from all the gossip and the drama that people on the internet usually gravitate towards,” they add. “Especially for an artist like Beyoncé, who somehow managed to keep her privacy throughout an enormous 22-plus-year career, and only allowing people to get a glimpse into her personal life every now and then, keeping all of that in mind and in respect of the way she prefers to communicate through her art, it was only right for us to stay in that same lane. I feel like even if certain news or pictures become available somewhere else, people still come to us for quality and for credibility.”
It’s been more than 10 years since Beyoncé Legion first launched and it continues to grow its following on all platforms. Now, the Legion has its original Tumblr account and two Twitter accounts. The secondary Twitter feed, @Bey_Legion, which was formed in November 2017, has more than 75,000 followers and serves as an additional source of Beyoncé news.
The Beyoncé Legion founder is still in awe of what they created over a decade ago. Looking back, they say their goals have not changed. “Our goal for Legion at its very core has always been to build a platform that would represent and promote the artist who inspires and motivates us the most, and share her art with people everywhere in the best and most efficient way possible,” they say. “My hope is that we can turn this into a blueprint for every fan platform to follow while staying on the path of growing and spreading the joy of music that never fails to unite us, especially in the current trying times.”
Like everything they have done thus far, they do it all for Beyoncé. “She is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of artist, with a one-of-a-kind musicality and an immense amount of talent and work ethic. There is a reason why she’s had this kind of longevity. There is a reason why her message resonates with so many of us. She comes through when the world most needs her. She empowers people when they’re most vulnerable, lifts them up when they’re feeling hopeless, and encourages them to become the best, most unassailable version of themselves.”