So you’re feeling offended by Beyoncé and her black friends.

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On Sunday, the Colorado Football Men with their leader, Terry Manny, and the Carolina Fast Guys, also all men, faced off in an extremely important match. My family and I actually went to a friends house to look at it. Our friends prepared tons of sweet and salty goodies for our enjoyment. It was a big deal.

After some time, there was a big concert where 3 relatively unknown artists got the chance to play for a huge audience. At the end of the overwhelmingly spectacular, (although not musically stimulating) performances there was an inspirational retrospective montage featuring other struggling artist getting their chance to shine before capacity crowds. As far as I can tell from my extensive research, this has happened nearly L times.

One of the artists named, Beyoncé, sang and danced with her beautiful buddies. They were ultra serious and had dark skin. They also wore black clothing that was sometimes shiny and I was frightened but only for a moment. After they finished, my daughter Jane briefly imitated some of their moves and it looked very cool.

What’s the problem? It turns out that there was A LOT of context in there. Beyoncé sung lyrics that reminded people of racial tension in the mid 20th century and throughout American history. It didn’t just look aggressive, it was aggressive. Well, actually it wasn’t aggressive. It was assertive. Aggressive means that someone was ready to attack or confront and in this case, there were very tight time constraints and since it was a choreographed performance with a political message, it should be processed as performance art.

Here are some things to consider before you call this a racist display.

CONTEXT:

What is happening in our country right now regarding people of color? Are opportunities equitable right now or is there a vast and long standing bias that favors white people? Do you know about #BlackLivesMatter but think it should be #AllLivesMatter or even better #PoliceLivesMatter? Be careful here, because #BlackLivesMatter is actually saying #BlackLivesMatterToo.

REPRESENTATION:

Some are noting that Beyoncé only had black dancers up there with her. Is that important? Why do you think she did that? Is it really racist or is she trying to send a message. I’ll admit, when I saw the performance, I didn’t like it. They were frowning a lot and I couldn’t tell what they were singing and the music was just not my thing. It wasn’t until the next day that I saw that people were upset about the performance art element.

HISTORY:

What has happened in the past regarding people of color? Have things always been great until recently and we just need to make America great again or have things been bad for a long time with infuriatingly small improvements mostly at the cost of black lives?

EDUCATION:

When an artist makes reference to something in history, does it mean that they wholeheartedly support and endorse what happened in the past and are recommending a similar corse of action or are they educating people? Is Beyoncé trying to get people to think abstractly or is she calling for violent action. If she’s calling for violent action, who is her audience and against whom does she hope to act?

THINK:

Before you react or vent about this, think first. What is the context behind the performance. What has happened historically? What is representation? What is there to learn?  There is something deeply wrong with the fact that black people are being put in the position to explain the history of their/our legacy every time the media and individuals forget.

 

6 thoughts on “So you’re feeling offended by Beyoncé and her black friends.

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this article. I also wholeheartedly agree with the stance that the country often forgets turmoil that black people have gone through. To remind us, we have artists like Kendrick Lamar (rapper) and Beyoncé (singer) who, in their own right, have taken (black) matters into their own hands and nobly used their platform of fame as a way to educate and influence America.

    Beyoncé’s performance indeed was assertive. It was passionate. Indeed it WAS all black people. But it was also all black WOMEN, and, with prior knowledge of Bey’s performances, was historically consistent. She has been one of the most consistent performers of the 00’s and the 10’s. Her use of women to show young girls that they too can have power and be confident is one that I can actually support. Not enough young ladies have the confidence to thrive in a society that is so gender-biased towards men.

    Do I agree with everything that Bey stands for? Nah. I wish she would wear more clothes, but, an artist is going to sell what they’re good at selling, and my qualms with the entertainment industry are for another article for me to comment on, so, get to work, Data. 😉

  2. You are correct, context matters. I am not sure if there is any merit to the claims being made about the meaning/symbolism of her performance, but assuming that to be accurate, context mandates, I would argue, that you don’t make your point on someone else’s dime.

  3. It is of no moment whose dime it was in order to justify actions. Assuming that there was some type of “message”, it wasn’t the place. I do agree that she has every right to record whatever she wants to (barring some uber extreme craziness), and if provocative, or controversial, so be it.

  4. Hmmm… Let’s see here…

    We have a violent sporting event, which “safely” serves as a proxy for war (satiating our desire for binary opposition and opiating the tired, poor, and huddled masses), sponsored heavily by a formerly American-owned brewing conglomerate (Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV) that industrially produces an unpalatable liquid (once inspired by the great beers of the Old World but which is now nearly indistinguishable from horse piss), designed strictly as a vehicle for delivery of shameless, unadulterated advertising, sprinkled with just enough of “Get me whoever sings real good…within the last 5 or 40 years…and has broad appeal!” to draw in the normally athletically-phobic musically-inclined folks who would be otherwise disinterested in order to garner a view more -illion bucks of revenue, and then broadcast that shit around the nation—nay, the world!

    That this whole damn spectacle is set in a New World built by Europe’s disenfranchised, on the backs of Africa’s enslaved, and at the expense of the First Peoples to live here…

    Well, that’s a pungent recipe liable to ruffle the undergarments of maybe a few folks—red and yellow, black and white.

    P.S. Our beloved benefactor Anheuser-Busch is also an ad bro for a Nevada brothel too. Neat! http://www.cnbc.com/2015/01/09/ces-unofficial-brothel-not-really-sponsored-by-budweiser.html

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