Beyonce is all up in our faces in 2016. She started the year out with her controversial Superbowl Half-Time Show and now? Lemonade. Holy shit, Bey. This is too much. It’s only May and we can’t stop talking about you.
live under a rock, don’t give a shit, haven’t been paying attention, Beyonce’s album Lemonade is her personal journey through love, betrayal, and reconciliation as told through her music. She went to extraordinary lengths for all of us to see how scorned of a woman she really is by an intense hour-long visual, taking us from beginning to end of her album. Admittedly, I have not watched the entire movie, simply because I’m too cheap to subscribe to premium cable channels, but I certainly have the gist of the situation.
The internet’s metaphorical mind was exploding all over the place because of Lemonade’s content. We all now know what a “Becky” is and that wearing “Becky’s” skin is a possibility if she messes with Bey’s man. We get it. She means business.
It’s intense. It’s riveting. It’s deep. It’s gut-wrenching. It’s relatable for many of us.
She received accolades, calling her fierce, empowering, brave, and even that Lemonade is a Revolutionary Work of Black Feminism. On the flip side, she is receiving criticism for being vulgar, ugly, manipulative, and destructive. This criticism is also tearing down any previous notion that Beyonce is a role model for young women worldwide.
Here’s my truth in all of this: it’s all accurate. All of it. It is all of those things on both sides of the fence.
I, personally, label Lemonade as “relatable” because as a woman also scorned, I get it. I felt her words in my soul as I listened. I had chills as I watched her with a baseball bat destroy valuable goods. I empathize with that dead look in her eyes when she confronts the truth of being betrayed. I lived this and I, too, did all of those thing, minus the bat.
It is ugly, vulgar, and destructive. It sure is. But that is her truth. That’s her art for the content. And this is how she’s making millions of dollars. Because she can.
Yes, everyone, Beyonce is a brand and she is selling herself. So is every other celebrity. This is what Hollywood is, if you haven’t noticed. That’s how all of this works. You can buy it or you can leave it but if you’re talking about it, good or bad, you’re selling it for them.
And this notion of being a role model. No, I don’t consider Beyonce to be a role model for my young daughter. Why? Because I am my daughter’s role model, family members are her role models, business owners and successful women are her role models. Real,tangible people are her role models.
These brands of celebrities? They’re called entertainment. I am completely aware that young kids everywhere are idolizing these celebrities, absolutely, but isn’t it our duty as parents to explain reality and right and wrong to our children? When did we pass on this responsibility to these celebrities?
Recently, there was a horrific story of a love triangle that ended in a 16 year old losing her life at the hands of other teens in a high school bathroom. Some are bringing Beyonce’s Lemonade message into this suggesting that it’s mindsets such as Beyonce’s that influence our girls to react in such a way- to become murders. It’s awful and it’s tragic that this happened to this poor, young girl but, friends, this is not Beyonce’s fault. Beyonce is not making music specifically so young women follow in her footsteps. She’s making music…to make music. Shame on the parents for not teaching their girls that this is just that- entertainment. Beyonce shouldn’t feel as though she can’t speak her truth because of shitty parenting.
I want to also take a brief moment to talk about hip-hop music in general. Since the beginning of this musical genre, it has been violent, vulgar, and destructive, mostly by men, mostly against women. But where are the articles demonizing the male hip-hop artists for such content? Where is the outrage for poor role models? Where is the blame for drive-by shootings? Maybe if you scour the internet really, really good, you’ll find something speaking out against male hip-hop artists that are guilty of such music but I guarantee it isn’t to this magnitude of tearing Beyonce down…for writing a truthful album about her life.
I will admit that when Beyonce preformed at the Superbowl, I was confused. As a white girl, I didn’t get it. At all. But you know what? I didn’t have to. She was speaking her truth as a black woman. I viewed it as furthering the divide of races, some viewed it as a cultural metaphorical shout-out. Either way, it was her truth, her art. As is Lemonade. It isn’t her role to think of every.single.one. of today’s uber sensitive individual needs. That would be impossible.
So, no. Beyonce isn’t a role model for my daughter. She doesn’t have to be. I won’t even buy her album but when one of her songs comes on the radio, I might just dance, or cry, or sing in my car…because I relate. It’s music. It tells a story and we can listen or we can turn it away.
Parents of young women: we have a female running for president, we have female CEOs, we have female firefighters and law enforcement officers. Let’s focus on that discussion. Let’s make sure our daughters understand the importance of Hollywood versus reality.