News Alert: Beyonce Was Always Black; Women Have Bodies

14 Feb

Last night, Saturday Night Live nailed a parody film trailer for The Day Beyonce Turned Black, poking fun at some of the ridiculous reactions to Beyonce’s SuperBowl 50 halftime performance last Sunday.  Here is the sketch:

What is ultimately so amazing about this parody is that it is hardly a parody at all.  If you were on Facebook or Twitter last Sunday, you know that people were pissed.  Not just any people – white people.  It’s astonishing to me that a woman who has always been black is receiving backlash for releasing a song and video that embraces her heritage.  People are outraged over a good pop song with the video that goes with it.  These are the times we live in, and I am terrified.

The video for “Formation” is not something that should terrify people in 2016.  I’m not sure exactly of how to explain this, but I feel that as time goes on, our culture is becoming more afraid of otherness, and less welcoming to diversity.  Look at the types of shows that are popular now.  Shows like Undateable, anything in the Chuck Lorre canon, or my personal non-favorite, 2 Broke Girls, the last of which that many could deem racist.  These shows are meant to be fluffy and filled with inoffensive humor, but compared to the shows that were popular almost forty years ago – All in the Family, Sanford & Son, The Jeffersons – they are weak in subject matter.  The mastermind behind the shows of the 1970s that attacked issues of race, class, gender, and more was Norman Lear.  Judging from the content of today’s television and entertainment, the next Norman Lear is not yet here.

Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance was exactly what one would expect from the superstar – it featured high-powered dance moves and the queen herself flanked by dozens of black-beret-wearing dancers.  Beyonce wore a black and gold military jacket in tribute to Michael Jackson, who made the look famous on his Dangerous tour.  Many who decried this performance accused Beyonce of imitating the Black Panthers.  However, anyone with half a brain would know that this was a work of art – a performance crafted by Beyonce and her choreographers, in perfect pop style.

Beyonce also came under fire for having a female body – with, god forbid – thighs that move when she dances.  I even saw one girl make a comment on Facebook saying that “Beyonce looked fat as hell”.  Let’s dissect that for a moment.  BeyonceLooked. Fat. As. Hell.  If Beyonce is fat, then I am the marshmallow Stay Puft man from Ghostbusters II in woman form.  Beyonce is not fat.  She is an other-worldly creature who has a body that women envy and a figure about which men fantasize.  She is almost not human.

The song Beyonce performed – her new single “Formation,” is nothing more than a celebration of black culture and heritage.  This apparently shocked many people who forgot that Beyonce, in fact, has always been black.  The video, featuring references to socio-political issues such as the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the killings of Trayvon Martin and other young black men – is not offensive at all.

Beyonce sings in tribute to the things that make her Beyonce: “My daddy Alabama, momma Louisiana / You mix that negro with that creole make a Texas bama / I like my baby hair with baby hair and afros / I like my negro nose with Jackson 5 nostrils”.  Here. Beyonce refers to her heritage as the daughter of a man from Alabama and the daughter of a woman descended from French creoles in Louisiana.  The last part of the lyric references rumors that Beyonce had undergone a nose job in order to look less black.  Beyonce also asserts her undeniable swagger: “I see it, I want it, I stunt, yellow-bone it / I dream it, I work hard, I grind ’til I own it” is an obvious affront to her haters, and another lyric that slams the idea that she was bleaching her skin. (Yellow-bone is a slang term for being light-skinned).  Some may believe that because Beyonce is light-skinned and marketed to the masses, that she is not black.  Guess what?  Beyonce has always been black.  She’s always been a woman.  She’s always had a body.

It is often said that we fear the things that we do not understand.  It is clear to me now that too many white Americans are afraid of what is unlike them.  Beyonce, as an empowered, feminist, black, hugely successful, and talented woman, is simply too much for people to handle.

All hail Queen Bey.

Beyonce - Braids Car.png

Dance Shot - Pool

Beyonce Southern Ladies

Beyonce - Formation

Beyonce on Police Car

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One Response to “News Alert: Beyonce Was Always Black; Women Have Bodies”

  1. Valerie Marulli February 24, 2016 at 12:21 AM #

    Great essay piece here.

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