Alternative Title: Why I Adore Everything Queen Bey Does
Since Beyoncé surprise dropped her latest single last weekend, I’ve been thinking about why I love her so much. I’ve listened to her last album, Beyoncé, pretty much every week since it released (
sometimes usually repeatedly in one day). I grew up with Destiny’s Child. But I’ve never really sat and pondered why I like her as much as I do; it was just one of those things.
Beyoncé has been getting a lot of heat since her Super Bowl halftime performance last weekend. (I love the idea this article makes of hoping that the Anti-Beyoncé protest turns in to a massive dance party.) She is definitely making a statement, and the way she does it is powerful and different. Beyoncé hasn’t talked to the press in several years, but she uses her position to bring conversations about important issues to the forefront. As an impressionable teenager, I listened to “Jumpin’, Jumpin'” and “Bootylicious”, but I also jammed to “Survivor” and “Independent Women”. These songs taught my adolescent self that I am worth something and I don’t need a man to complete me. (I saw her perform in 2013 and she sang “Survivor” after flying through glitter and I died.) Beyoncé uses her catchy pop music to start conversations, and that is more than enough reason to love her fiercely. How many pop stars can you say do this as flawlessly as she does?
First and foremost, I love Beyoncébecause she’s a feminist. Have you listened to “Flawless”? If you haven’t, stop and do it now. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
In the song, she encourages women to be “in the world” and to aim to be successful outside of being a wife. Not only is it a wonderful song to dance to, but man is it empowering. She uses the TED talk by the wonderful Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in the song, which is a lovely clip talking about what a feminist is and how society raises boys and girls differently. Even the “eat the cake, Anna Mae” lyrics in “Drunk In Love” has sparked controversy but ultimately, I think, pushes feminism to a new level.
Beyoncé has been criticized for the way she dresses, which has often been stated as “oversexed” or “too sexy” and “why would a mother dress like that?” But Flawless, and many of her other songs, talk about how being a feminist means it’s ok and totally acceptable to embrace your sexuality. While I don’t choose to dress in glitzy leotards on a daily basis, I believe Beyoncé rocks it and it is her right as a woman to choose to dress that way. If you have a problem with how she dresses? Don’t watch her performances. It’s as simple as that. But Beyoncé used her latest album to bring feminist ideas to the masses and, most importantly, to young girls. I wonder how many high school ladies, who might now have been exposed to feminist values, are now aware of women’s rights issues because of Beyoncé’s music?
WHO RUN THE WORLD? Girls.
Bonus: This episode of my favorite podcast, Stuff Mom Never Told You, that breaks down Beyoncé as a feminist more eloquently than I ever could. (Thanks, sis in law, again, for introducing me to C&C).
Her latest single, “Formation”, has so many layers that I’m still breaking them apart. But she embraces her heritage and celebrates black women in a way that makes me want to DANCE. She laughs at her haters claiming she is part of the Illuminati, she states that SHE is a “black Bill Gates in the making”, and brings up the issues of a post hurricane Katrina New Orleans and police brutality against blacks in this country. While I will never know what it is like to be a black woman in America, her song makes me think about my culture, my privilege, and my views on what’s happening in the world today in a way that I never thought possible. It’s opened my eyes to the idea that my way is not the only way, and you know what? That’s perfectly ok. And even though I’m not a black woman, I can still stand by Beyoncé and fight the good fight with her. Because ladies, “we gon’ slay.”
To put it simply, “Formation” has caused me to open my eyes and relate to people who are different from me in a completely new way. Researching this post, I learned more about the Black Panthers and Malcolm X and the civil rights movement than I ever learned in history class. I also learned that Beyoncé was making a statement on LGBTQ issues by using a voiceover of Messy Mya in the song and Big Freedia’s footage. Did I tell you there were layers to this? SO MANY LAYERS. My head basically exploded when I learned about the New Orleans queer culture references she was making in this song.
Regardless of if you agree with her or even like her, you have to recognize that Beyoncé is using her high celebrity status to make America think and talk, and man. Everyone has to respect that on some level. Beyoncé does nothing without intention, and I believe her intentions are good. She is inviting America to witness her black heritage through “Formation”. She is fiercely loving her man with “Drunk In Love” and “Crazy In Love” and “Countdown” (one of my personal favorites). She is unashamed of her body in “Rocket” and “Flawless”. She encourages women to be brave and courageous in “Flawless” and “Run the World” and “Pretty Hurts”. She’s sending a message and quite frankly, I think we all need to listen.
Also, I’m gonna need a shirts that says “I got hot sauce in my bag, swag” stat.