“And the Grammy goes to…” Not Beyonce. Adele takes the stage. All fans are outraged. The Beyhive goes crazy. If you had to sum up the latest news in the BeyHive society, this would be the blurb. My personal opinion on whether or not 25 deserved the win over Lemonade will remain unexplored. However, I fall into what seems to be the minority of the population that are not utterly outraged when “Queen Bey” is not adorned with award statues, adoration and praise.
The mainstream world met Beyonce Knowles in 1998 as lead singer of the then quartet, Destiny’s Child. As the group journeyed through Top 10 hit singles to multiple platinum albums gaining worldwide success, we watched them grow from young women to sexy individuals. We also watched some members drop like flies for reasons still unknown but only rumored. What is known is that by the time the group reached their 4th studio album – by this time with a whole new roster – they decided to amicably call it quits, setting the stage for the main show aka Beyonce.
As the girls journeyed through the 90s into the 2000s putting in hard work, growing as artists – most of the time in Beyonce’s shadow – and building a fan base, it almost seemed like a grand plan. Let’s set up this girl group, put our daughter in the forefront, give everyone a piece of the action, and when the buzz is high enough yet solidified, separate the girls and let them go their separate ways. This is not a bad thing, it’s a business move. We see this all the time in other industries. Let’s take the beauty industry for example. As a new stylist one may not want to venture out on their own without proper backing or a clientele, so they solidify themselves as a fixture in the hair circle and community and later branch off to do their own thing. This is usually done by opening their own salon or being an independent stylist who travels. In some ways it’s natural progression. DC manager Mr. Knowles did what was in the best interest of the group, until it was more beneficial to do what was in the best interest of Beyonce, the superstar. She had a chance to perfect her craft, make her mistakes as an industry newbie and build a solid fanbase all while being atop the DC pyramid. Don’t forget it takes at very least three people for a pyramid, for it is nothing without its strong base.
With the foundation from years in the industry, the “Crazy In Love” singer went from one team to another through transitioning to a solo recording artist. First it was a girl group, then to an obviously experienced and expert image team who helped her brand herself as the singer, dancer and sex symbol the world now knows her to be. Her debut video was strong on visuals letting you know exactly what we would be getting from the proclaimed Queen – she gave body, she gave long blonde hair and of course she gave sexy dance moves. It has been argued that she borrowed some of her image from the “1 Thing” singer Amerie, which doesn’t seem to be too far off of an accusation, but no judgment or rumors passed here.
Fast forward more than a decade later and the pop sensation drops the surprise visual album Lemonade, which is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with. A 12 track album accompanied with a short film that wasn’t even promoted and still easily surpassed some of the most heavily marketed albums is dope. Anyone can see that. Credit given where credit is due. This credit is of course ignoring the speculation that the overall visual concept of the project was borrowed from a less popular short filmmaker. (If a tangent will be quickly allowed-Jean Michele Basquiat, George Suerat, Cezanne, van Gogh-all of the aforementioned artists have works also recognized as masterpieces. They hang in high esteem on the walls of some of the most respected museums, having been painted and crafted by their own two hands. Granted, while painters in some artistic periods may have opted to have creative partners, most of them worked alone making their work that much more genius) Tangent done. Back to the precious Beyonce.
There is no secret that Lemonade had a powerhouse team behind the execution, making the project as effective and hard hitting as it was. In 2017, just about everyone has a ghost writer; the stigma is gone, so that’s not the problem. The point being pushed here is that when someone invites you to a dinner party at their home, the aesthetics are on point, the food is great, the room is filled with good vibes and you have a great time, making it amazing. Whether or not the host cooks the food doesn’t completely ruin the experience, but knowing as a guest that the host put in a grand effort to show their cuisine expertise by slaving over a hot stove for hours for you makes you tip your high a bit more to them.
Everyone meet Beyonce, the host of a catered dinner party.
Compared to Tina Turner, she takes the stage (this is after her dinner party of course) and slays, “snatching edges” and hitting dance moves with precision without compromising any of her notes. That, my friends, is worth applause and $300+ concert tickets. Fans to blow her hair, background dancers and big screen visuals all aid in her mind blowing performances around the world. She is indeed a superstar. She’s an inspiration to many, an idol and a major fixture in the comparison game people like to play with women. In a whitewashed industry, it is refreshing to see a talented Black woman be held in such high esteem in the eyes of the greater population. We do in fact see Beyonce as a standard of beauty, but its worth questioning if society would still embrace her the same if she still looked as good but looked different. To keep this point a bit more straightforward in an effort to not have words misconstrued, it is worth pondering whether Bey would be proclaimed as beautiful by society if her skin were darker, her hair more gravity defying and a size 8 or 10 rather than the potential 6 she is now. Mrs. Carter has apparently just slipped into society’s acceptable beauty standard bracket. She’s just light enough, just thin enough and, up until recently, just quiet enough on certain issues that plague our community.
As a member of the NON-Beyhive, my relationship with her is synonymous to many people’s relationship with mayonnaise. For the people that eat it, they do just that. No one sits back and pines over how much they love the taste of mayo. They slap it on their sandwiches and enjoy the meal. With the amount of practice, training and overall backing, I’m sure there are many artists who could do the same thing. The fact is, though, there are limited spots at the top and with proper timing she claimed hers. Where there’s smoke there’s fire and the smolder of Beyonce borrowing concepts from the less popular is quite frankly asphyxiating. Nevertheless, the more you’re held to commercial standards the less authenticity you are able to display. The soul I prefer my artists to portray in their art is not present in entertainer Beyonce’s work. I dare not call her an “artist,” but do give her credit for the greatness she is.
The woman is clearly hardworking. She is clearly impactful and has platinum albums times over to prove her success. The BeyHive holds no punches and is relentless in their pursuit to destroy any and everyone who comes for their queen in any aspect of the term. What they fail to realize is, those who don’t “stan” for Beyonce are not always against her. It’s not that we don’t like Beyonce enough, but maybe you guys just like her too much. Being contrary is not the equivalent of hate, unless of course we’re speaking in terms of “the president.” If you all have the right to praise her for what you feel is exceptional artistry, then those of us who are on the opposition or indifferent have the right to state our case as well without being deemed “haters.” Get your stingers ready BeyHive, because this is how I feel. As your Queen says, sorry I ain’t sorry, I ain’t thinking ‘bout you!