Here we are in 2016, watching Beyoncé create her visual masterpieces makes me smile. In entertainment, she is what a powerful, young black woman looks like. Independent, dedicated, strong, smart, sophisticated, uplifting, at times defeated but never unwavering. Now no one is advocating for a black woman or any woman failures be celebrated, but we all have our low’s in life, no one is always happy. In defeat, strength is necessary just as it is in victory. She can be graceful when necessary, foolish, pompous, loving, prideful, broken, sexy, ugly, enlightened, etc. She is simply living her life although in the spotlight. All we ever ask from an artist is range and growth; share your story in its entirety so it may convey an emotion out of us. She worked hard with the proper people in her life who invested time, believing in her. The goal was to get her in a position of influence. Sometimes one must play the game long enough until the stage can be set on their own terms.
The beauty in Beyoncé goes far beyond her physical but rather a sincere appreciation for the artist that does what she can to meld entertainment, art, story, message and sound into one. Artistry is a difficult thing, it always changes for the beholder/ wielder. It has been said you don’t become great at something by thinking about it, you must do it, fully dedicate yourself to it. She has done just that with her music, her brand, her dance. Do not fault the artist for the fanatics. The beyhivé are filled with devotees. Ripping someone else in the name of unwavering loyalty has always been around. With social media now this frenetic tribalism is more palpable to anyone who is watching, typically masking proper judgment. Should Beyoncé tell her followers to cease? No, she owes no one nor holds anyone hands, other than her child and significant other.
Like someone who continues to ascend the mountaintop the fall becomes greater. Expectations on what she or anyone should do with their fame becomes a hot topic as groups of people break into camps of Beyoncé can do no wrong, or I’m ashamed at what Beyoncé has become, everyone now blindly follows her. Is there a gray area or a neutral zone for her? Can one enjoy and disapprove of an artist; that not all they do is golden but much of their work can be appreciated? Must everything be a with us or against us attitude?
Personally, am I a fan of all that she does? No, some songs may be questionable, but it doesn’t take away from the catalog she has built. There have been many influential black women in history, particularly American history, but in the visual-audio time, we live in today seeing someone youthfully grown express herself in such a powerful way is a treat at every turn. She is not on a platform utilizing sex as a mean to power but instead using Her sex as a means of power. Inspiring so many women, no matter the age range, that you are worth it. Yes, I have a body, but my body is not the end or beginning of me it is just a part of me. She is not a vibrant teen nor an old hag, her music like herself has grown with the times, with her experiences.
Her songs of sorrow are relatable because we know the person in question, as this is not made up or reality TV. This is her reality. Do I leave someone I love dearly, intrinsically with all of my heart? I know he has hurt me, but it only takes a memory to bring a smile to my face. It is a battle as she goes to war with her nature, it can be assured he is battling with his. The struggle of man and woman: understanding, blame, expectation and disappointment all woven in a way that many can relate to but so few are able to express openly. Her duality of love/ hate is real, as anyone knows marriage is not a straightforward endeavor, nor is divorce. It stands that it may be easier when both parties have substantial money, yes to part ways will be a setback, but financially they will survive. Divorce is divorce no matter the person unless love was never there from the beginning.
Even the most unexplainable of reasons has some form of rational behind it, we may just not agree with the logic. When she spoke of love, when she talked about bliss was everyone happy along with her? Did we associate her happiness to the very person she is now in a battle of heartache and forgiveness with? How many of those songs that she sang was actually directed towards him? Were those that paid attention noticing their bond growing. Was the couple’s inner circle in approval of their love? As they were doing their best not to interfere with each other’s career, did many just ignore the possibility of the two being a couple? Now that she speaks on these topics with a range of natural emotions when dealing with infidelity, do we condone or reject the notion that she is impervious to feel?
With that being said all things are not rosy with Beyoncé, their relationship, or her decision to sing on their marriage. It is a valid question that why would she go to public lengths to create a visual castration of her husband for all to see and hear? No matter the level of frustration what is there to gain (aside from money) in solving your marital woes in the open? Shouldn’t their problems be resolved in private? Easier to say harder to do when many are always looking for a story to sell. Thus It is also possible that they collectively decided to not only take control of what is being written about them but to profit off of it as well. Since our society is comprised of people who eat drama and gossip for breakfast, many unfortunately enjoy the notion of others suffering. Watching others “go through it” makes their lives easier. No one on this earth is devoid of sin, even the word sin itself is based on one’s paradigm of what is considered sin and what is not (that is another topic for another time). Bottom line we all have done things small or large that can come into question, except we have the benefit of our “dirty laundry” not being aired out by random people at all times. Although in today’s climate it can be argued that everyone thinks they’re a public personality, so nothing is kept private anymore.
It is unclear the motive or reasoning behind Beyoncé’s current project Lemonade, all one can hope is that it was done with the purity of art more so than profit. Even knowing though, “a girl has got to get paid.” Her expression is a range of emotion which she is entitled to. I’m sure if Jay-Z or any man attempted to explain their side of things infidelity or not, it would instantly become dissected or thrown away. Typically it’s par for the course to call men pigs lacking self-control (often times It’s a one-sided discussion/ conclusion). Beyoncé has been a champion for women rights for quite some time, she has been consistently showcasing that she is a multifaceted outspoken talent. As a woman should not be typecast into one thing. Women are beautiful complex humans, who should not be celebrated nor ignored, simply treated with respect: earned and given. Just as men are complex beings whom should be treated with respect both earned and given. Those from any gender that mistreats the other should be reprimanded for their actions.
All things considered, the Lemonade project like Beyoncé is not flawless. It is art and art invokes a variety of feelings from various people. It should not be a biased narrative, does she not have the right to use the word bitch? Does she not have a right to flaunt her wealth? Does she not have the right to her emotions, her complexity as we all do? The art is what matters, if her artwork comes from a place of sincerity, (which no one has the answer to) then that is what counts. A money grab or stealing headlines is more so the sign of the times as much as it may or may not be apart of this project.
Reality TV, that 10 seconds of fame our society celebrates created the monster of skepticism. Baseless critical analysis, where we are more concerned with being the first to say anything instead of being the one to say something worth digestion/ proper reasoning. The more flawed Beyoncé has become in all of her bravado is what makes her more beautiful than she has ever been before. For no one is one thing, with one emotion, one solution. There is gray in all of us, there is complexity in all of us, we should collectively allow that to be our light, not a thought process or embodiment of absolutes.
Beauty like art which is debatable is in the eye of the beholder but is also the wielder that has the right to justify or dismiss their own take on such beauty.