I’ve been slowly slipping off the Beyoncé train ever since she became Sasha Fierce. She didn’t do anything wrong I just tired of the hype. I thought she’d lost me for good after the self-titled, surprise release audio-visual album “Beyonce”. It was at that point that I began to agree with my brother-in-law's suspicions that Beyonce could sneeze into a microphone and her fans would still throw money at her and call it her "best work yet". Then “Lemonade” happened.
I did everything I could not to like “Lemonade”; and then I listened to it.
Personally, I don’t think she’s the best singer out there right now and I don’t appreciate her using domestic violence for entertainment purposes ("eat the cake Anna-May"? Really? See, What’s Love Got To Do With It if you don’t get the reference) but most of all I have issues with what I call the cult of Beyoncé and what social media calls the Bey-Hive. No human should be worshipped and the worship of any human-being makes me uncomfortable.
But here’s the thing about Beyonce; whether you like her or not, whether you enjoy her music or not, she is making a stand. It’s bizarre but, even though I have personally fallen out of favour with the superstar (and I’m sure it keeps her up at night that I have) I still feel the need to defend her when white people speak out against her. Beyoncé to me is like an annoying sibling or like England to the English: I can insult her all I want but once a white person does then suddenly I’m the biggest member of the Bey-Hive. When my sister told me that it happens to her too I began to wonder why?
For one thing she is an incredible performer and she has worked very hard to get where she is. The girl knows how to put on a show. But I think it’s more about what Beyoncé stands for. She is a strong black woman who has made it in this world. She is not the only strong black woman but she is probably the most famous right now. She broke the mould, she broke into mainstream, people of all races and nations love her, and she's black. Beyonce is a symbol to young, black girls everywhere (myself included, although maybe the “young” is debateable) that we can make it, so when you put Beyonce down, however valid or not, I feel like you’re putting me down.
And then there's “Lemonade”.
If we can just get past discovering the identity of Becky-with-the-good-hair (a commentary in itself on black culture) we can see and hear a woman fighting for a better future for her daughter. I didn't see the mother-Beyoncé in "Beyoncé" and was unconvinced when she claimed to be a feminist during that season in her life. In "lemonade" I'm meeting the mother-Beyoncé, the wife-Beyoncé and the activist-Beyoncé, and I like her.
I will never be a worshipper of "queen Bey" and I am gladly not a member of her “Bey-Hive” but the woman is drawing back my respect one performance at a time. First there was the "Formation" video in which she reminded every single one of her fans that she is black, she is proud to be black, and she intends to stay black. Then there was the “black panther” superbowl performance that had white people in arms because Beyonce was once again celebrating her African American culture. Then there are her moments of silence at her Formation tour concerts in which she displays the names of every single black person in the past year that has died as a result of police brutality.
Beyonce created a platform for herself after years and years of hard-work and dedication and now she is using that platform to speak up against injustice and to fight for human rights despite the loss to her fandom and the backlash from people who still misunderstand the #blacklivesmatter movement. I can respect and appreciate and stand behind that. Not to mention that the album is also kind of good too. It almost, I repeat, almost makes me want to get in formation.