Ring the alarm! Beyoncé is black!
It’s been creeping up on white people for a while, but they can no longer deny.
Sure, there were early signs, but many white people refused to acknowledge them until it was too late. [I see YOU Piers Morgan.] They bought her music on CDs and iTunes and just added a Tidal subscription to their bills, bills, bills for her newest visual album.
But in people’s sweet dreams, Beyoncé is simply an American sweetheart. We might have a black president, but a black America’s sweetheart? Her white fans had their flawless evidence.
For example, in her Dreamgirls role, she famously starved herself, erasing her beautiful, bootylicious curves to portray a teen diva. She was just like a waif-like Audrey Hepburn, right? Also, isn’t she crowned by a halo of blonde hair? And isn’t she besties with whitest and most clueless diva ever, Gwyneth P? They were even sighted at a Coldplay show together. That’s super white.
Hot sauce? Hot sauce looked like a total false alarm when Hillary Clinton–with her awkward inability to say her name–also claimed to never leave home without it. That could be dismissed as a Southern thing. Guess I missed the image of Scarlett and Melanie as single ladies hoisting bottles of Tabasco out of their bags before the burning of Atlanta.
Her shocked white fans started on their path to resentment when Bey called herself a feminist, like she runs the world? But as long as she was a naughty girl riding her surfboard–a definite white Beach Boys’ reference, right?–and writhed drunk in love on the floor her agency as an independent woman could be dismissed, too.
Then, out of the blue, she drops her new album. While there is definitely universality in her countdown of shared human experiences of intuition, denial, anger, apathy, emptiness, accountability, reformation, forgiveness, resurrection, hope, redemption, she also excludes.
She might tell a different story if she were a boy, but she focuses on her own experience as a woman. She is a mother to a daughter. She is a daughter to a mother who, too, was a survivor of marital infidelity. She works words and music along her journey beyond the poison of resentment that many women have faced. But she goes further into her own experience–that of a black woman, in formation with other black women and their unique experiences of love, loss and tenacity. And, white America, you aren’t with that because that message is not for you. It is for her and her sisters. You feel left out.
Oh, that sneaky Beyoncé. She made you all crazy in love with her because of her talent and hard work–and because she didn’t talk too much. You liked that she was empowering but not scary. And now, after sucking you in, she goes ahead and scares the living shit out of you. She is provocatively political. She made you look when you weren’t intending. Don’t hurt yourself, but listen. Move your body and embrace what makes these women beautiful.
You go, Beyoncé. That’s a tall, sweet glass of lemonade I see you sipping. I know you weren’t intending for the white folk to be all sour and salty, but it’s up to them to make their own lemonade this time. XO
Tomorrow’s news: the irreplaceable Prince rocking an Afro? Yeah, déjà vu, he’s black, too.