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*Will the real Beyonce please stand up? No, I’m not referring to the “afrocentric” impostor we saw during this year’s Super Bowl Halftime show. I’m talking about the industry puppet who has a history of wearing blonde wigs and European fashion. In an ironic series of events, the Beyonce look-alike who performed that day was escorted to the arena by a motorcade of police officers. She later proceeded to perform a song that many listeners have interpreted as “offensive” and “threatening” to law enforcement. Adding insult to injury, Beyonce’s team of background dancers were dressed in similar fashion to the Black Panther Party of the 1960’s, a civil-rights group that became notorious for its animus toward police. I’m inclined to disagree with those who have accused Beyonce of being a “cop-hater.” However, I can’t ignore the irony swelling beneath her sudden transformation into a new-age Angela Davis.
Riding on the momentum of her pretentious Superbowl performance, Beyonce has upped the proverbial ante with her most recent album “Lemonade.” It was released on her and husband Jay-Z’s music streaming service Tidal — as well as in the form of a full-length visual presentation on HBO.
“The 12 song offering is a 45 minute medley of themes that include black nationalist feminism, infidelity, and, of course, love,” explains Jerome Hudson in an article he wrote for breitbart.com.
“Lemonade is rife with references to racial politics,” he says. “The film features the mothers of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, two black men whose deaths were used to launched the anti-police Black Lives Matter movement.
Hudson continues: “At one point in the short film, the voice of slain Nation of Islam leader Malcolm X is heard saying: ‘The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.’”
By infusing her album with controversial imagery and powerful quotes from some of America’s most revered civil rights icons, it appears that Beyonce is working overtime to prove her “blackness.” However, in my opinion, she’s too late — the hands of white privilege have already been instrumental in shaping her multi-million dollar empire.
For years, the Grammy award winning singer has lined her pockets with corporate dollars from “you know who.” As her bank account ballooned to the hundreds of millions throughout the early 2000’s, we never heard a peep from Beyonce about racial discrimination or police brutality. Now that her nest egg — combined with Sean “Jay-Z” Carter’s wealth — is larger than ever, the opportunistic performer is feeding on the publicity attached to her pretentious role as Black America’s newest heroine. A couple years ago, Time Magazine called Beyonce one of the world’s most influential people. She could’ve used this opportunity to speak out against racism, but she instead chose to continue producing “stripper music.” What stopped her from using Time’s platform to lament the global scourge of police brutality? If I had to guess, it’s because she knew better than to upset “massa.”
That’s right, it wasn’t long ago when critics were accusing Beyonce of using bleaching cream to lighten her skin. Now, all of a sudden, the black community is rallying around her and raising her up as the second coming of Harriet Tubman. Let me get this straight, all Beyonce had to do was produce one song about “black pride” and suddenly she’s become an honorary black panther? Are you Negroes THAT gullible? Oops…I forgot, you are the same idiots who voted for President Obama in 2008 and thought he would give you 40 acres and a mule (hey, don’t beat yourselves up. Obama has 11 months left in the White House. There’s still a chance he’ll provide the reparations that you Negroes have been praying for).
Beyonce’s “I’m black and I’m proud” moment during the Superbowl has even garnered the attention of Minister Louis Farrakhan. Ironically, the singer has earned millions in endorsements from white-owned companies (Pepsi, Cover Girl etc.), and yet, Minister Farrakhan — who has on many occasions cursed the existence of white people — recently offered to provide Beyonce with protection in the event that police officers boycott her concerts. If you ask me, that old fart is trying to get his old, liver-spotted hands on two things: publicity (as usual) and a handsome donation from the Carter family. But who am I to judge — clearly the honorable minister is an opportunist who, like Beyonce, is taking advantage of society’s insatiable, media-driven appetite for racially-motivated incidents of police misconduct.
When she performed during the Superbowl’s intermission in 2013, Beyonce didn’t utter a peep about racial discrimination or police brutality. That’s because it wasn’t a hot button issue then — the world hadn’t fully understood the severity and frequency of police brutality within the black community. And more importantly, the media had better things to exploit for ratings than the unlawful death of unarmed black men and women at the hands of law enforcement. Today, however, due to the efforts of those associated with Black Lives Matter, the viewing public has developed a carnivorous hunger for racially-charged miscarriages of justice, particularly when they involve officers of the law. If you ask me, and that’s only if you ask, Beyonce’s shrewd business mind (oh who am I kidding — everyone knows that Jay Z is the brains of the operation) is the driving force behind her new “militant” single. Racism has become more marketable than sex (yes, you read that correctly). Beyonce has already optimized the latter, now she is capitalizing on the former in a very big way.
Compared to her other hit singles, “Formation” isn’t her best work. The song’s lyrics aren’t particularly clever or thoughtful; it’s only saving grace is the coinciding music video that features a young boy imitating Michael Jackson while a line of nearby police officers in riot gear watch him performing with scorn in their eyes. The imagery includes Beyonce sitting on top of a police car that is slowly sinking underwater. There’s also a shot of graffiti reading the words “Stop Shooting Us.”
Although I applaud Beyonce for doing her part to shed light on a serious issue, it seems awfully convenient that she has released such a controversial song in the midst of heightened tension between minorities and police. On one hand, an argument can be made that she’s finally using her international celebrity to bring more awareness to America’s race problem. But if you’re a cynic like me, the whole thing seems like a masterfully-crafted ruse.
The Black Hat is written by Southern California based Cory A. Haywood, a freelance writer and expert on Negro foolishness. Contact him via: [email protected] and/or visit his blog: www.coryhaywood.webs.com, or send him a message on Twitter: @coryahaywood