Beyoncé & Madonna’s “Break My Soul” Remix Honors A Group Of Black Icons

It’s called the “queens remix” for a reason.

Beyonce and Madonna released "Break My Soul (The Queens Remix)," which honors Black icons.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images; Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

The wonder that is Beyoncé’s Renaissance just keeps delivering. A week after the icon debuted her new album, she gave fans even more to adore with her EP of remixes. Among them is “Break My Soul (The Queens Remix),” which features none other than Madonna as it samples the pop legend’s 1990 classic “Vogue.” Of course, Bey gave the song a new spin, including changing the lyrics in Madonna’s spoken word section to honor a new set of queens.

In “Vogue,” Madonna pays homage to some of the icons of Old Hollywood — or “ladies with an attitude” and “fellas that were in the mood,” as the lyrics go. She shouts out the likes of Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth, Marlon Brando, and more as she goes. Reflecting the entertainment industry at the time, the list is pretty... white. Beyoncé’s update, on the other hand, largely celebrates Black women from multiple different eras and includes creators who haven’t always gotten the level of mainstream recognition they deserve.

“Queen mother Madonna, Aaliyah, Rosetta Tharpe, Santigold, Bessie Smith, Nina Simone,” Beyoncé sings. “Betty Davis, Solange Knowles, Badu, Lizzo, Kelly Rowl’, Lauryn Hill, Roberta Flack, Toni, Janet, Tierra Whack, Missy, Diana, Grace Jones, Aretha, Anita, Grace Jones, Helen Folasade Adu, Jilly from Philly.”

Later, she adds more famous figures: “Michelle, Chlöe, Halle, Aaliyah … Alicia, Whitney, Riri, Nicki.” Since Bey didn’t use first and last names for everyone, there was some debate among fans about exactly which icons she meant. For example, whether “Michelle” refers to Destiny’s Child alum Michelle Williams or former First Lady Michelle Obama was one point of contention on Twitter.

Despite any ambiguity, fans loved that the singer chose to refresh the “Vogue” list. “Not Beyoncé taking Madonna Song VOGUE then proceeded to name Black Icons!” one fan tweeted. Meanwhile, another described her decision to “[shout] out Black icons and her friends” on the remix as “so f*cking dope.” Tierra Whack, who was named herself, also showed her enthusiasm. The rapper shared several Instagram stories about the remix after it dropped, including one from the @AfricanArchives account that explains the impact of a fellow “Break My Soul” queen, Rosetta Tharpe, describing her as “the Godmother of Rock ‘N’ Roll.”

Ahead of Renaissance’s release, Beyoncé had teased that she’d be paying tribute to those who inspired her. “A big thank you to my Uncle Jonny. He was my godmother and the first person to expose me to a lot of the music and culture that serve as inspiration for this album,” she wrote, in part, in a message on her website. “Thank you to all of the pioneers who originate culture, to all of the fallen angels whose contributions have gone unrecognized for far too long. This is a celebration for you.”

And what a celebration it is.