Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter is becoming a force of nature, with her Sara Baartman hips. From a pretty young woman with this power in her throat and heart, to this dynamic, sentient, vibrant, and culturally aware and present Black woman. Isn’t this what an icon is supposed to be –and become?
I have watched her progression from Destiny’s Child to her own grown woman. While not signing on or applying to the Beyhive, but I do work PRN for it. I have cheered her, been a Stan of hers–officially–after the release of Lemonade. After the experience of listening to Lemonade.
There was a pure pride I carried for her. Not a worship, not a reverence. But a pride. The same pride I felt when I learned that Cleopatra was Black. That Queen Nzinga was not a figure of my imagination. That Queen Hatshepsut became a Pharaoh due to sheer wit and brilliance. It was a sense of knowing there is a woman who looked like me–not bound by narrow societal imagination.
Although she wears the privilege granted to the beautiful, the cis-het and wealthy, Beyoncé is still a Black woman in an industry dominated by White men. The people that create award shows like the Emmys and Academy Awards, do not resemble the men that look like Beyoncé’s father.
For all her achievements, all her influence, for as far as her reach, she is still a Black woman. Playing a rich, White man’s game–laced with avarice and malice. Which chokes out love.
Knowing this, I am not surprised she was snubbed for an Emmy this hear. I am not, was not, shocked when she lost the Grammy for album of the year to Adele!
For all her power, the industry fears her. Those she inspires behind her. They fear her.
This light-skinned, country-talking, beautiful Black woman, descended from slaves, Texas plantation soil and Louisiana Creoles–is one of the most influential Black women in history.
And money has not taken her Blackness. It has not refined her speech, vision or daily reminder that she is both Black and woman.
Why would the owners of the master narrative acknowledge such an accomplishment? The fierce representation and preservation of culture!
Why would the master acknowledge the slave?
The worlds and spheres Beyoncé’s inhabits, that she orbits, she spins, are still determined to remind her of limitations. Her weaknesses. How Black everything about her is, and how detrimental Black motherhood and mogul persists are!
How acknowledgment is equivalent achievement. That should be good enough.
Separate, but equal.
In the face of that, Beyoncé still creates. She still makes space. She now Mama and Nala and the creative power of The Gift. This is the resilience of Black women. The wisdom of the artist is what James Baldwin admonishes: “The goal of the artist is to disturb the peace.”
The wealth and worth of an artist is, nor will ever be, measured by people to whom they differ. The value of their work will not be held on the high esteem of people–haters and critics–insistent on ignoring it.
The wealth and worth of artists is most often awarded through the grace of time. The earnest nature of creativity. Through harsh critique becoming acknowledgement. As it was said by John Wilmot, the brilliant (and debauched) Second Earl Of Rochester in the movie The Libertine (portrayed by Johnny Depp):
“Your critics will come in two forms. The stupid and the envious. The stupid will love you in five years. The envious never will.”
Let time factor which we all will become.
[images from Netflix, Apple Music and Pinterest]