There’s a sense of proprietorship over Black talent which extends into a similar sentiment concerning Black success that would be obscenely offensive were it not so completely ridiculous.
What I mean by that is if you’re a Black superstar, there’s gonna be some non-Black somewhere who believes that you should be “grateful” to him or her because he or she has “allowed” you to become a superstar.
And it doesn’t matter if this person actually knows you, has in fact actually paid for your art if you’re an artist or attended your event if you’re a performer, but in their convoluted views on race and entitlement, it’s necessary for this person to be able to point to you, proud as a parent, as proof that they are not personally racist or that racism, on the whole, is not that big of an issue anymore.
“Look at Beyonce”, one might have uttered, right up until, say, “Formation”, “If I/America was racist, would I love her/would she be such a star?”
And until “Formation”, Beyonce made the kind of art that was not only seen as preferable but actually encouraged by those that perpetuated this notion.
She was “Black” even then – SNL skit aside – as evidenced by the timbre of her voice and her moves and her psychic access to that Black “thing” that “artists” like Al Jolson feigned the ability to tap into by applying blackface.
But since arriving in America, the role of the Black entertainer has been twofold: the David-to-Saul type soothing our our oppressors’ savage breast, and mitigating the suffering of our fellow brethren.
But even back then, the power of music was known for it’s ability to incite riot and revolution.
Why do you think the African drum was banned?
Enter Piers Morgan.
Now, like it or not, the sentiment Mr. Morgan expresses in his Daily Mail-published critique of Ms. Knowles-Carter’s new album is more than just his own.
His comments are:
- I never like it when entertainers go all political
- (Formation) was seen, understandably, as an attack on U.S. police
- during the half-time Superbowl show (she) stepped up the police-hating theme with a tribute to the militant activist group, Black Panthers
- The Black Panthers… became infamous for their own brutality, especially against police, and widespread criminal and murderous membership within their ranks
- Malcolm X… opposed Dr Martin Luther King’s creed of non-violence
- watching (the mothers of police brutality victims) being used… to sell an album… smacks of shameless exploitation
- The new Beyoncé wants to be seen as a black woman political activist first and foremost, entertainer and musician second
- I have to be honest, I preferred the old Beyoncé. The less inflammatory, agitating one
My takedowns are:
- When musician and known Obama-hater Ted Nugent was on his show, Mr. Morgan had “no problem with people having opinions“
- Suggesting anti-police brutality imagery is an “attack” on police implies that police brutality is proper police protocol
- Suggesting that celebrating the Panthers is “police-hating” is like suggesting that celebrating the 4th of July is England-hating
- The Black Panthers became famous for Free Breakfast for Children
- Nobody wanted Black people treated non-violently more than Malcolm X
- It’s unimaginable that a mom that lost a child would miss an opportunity to remind the world of her loss
- Beyonce’s shrewd enough to know she has no control over how she’s seen, only over how she’s projected
- See: everything else I’ve written so far
The bottom line is, what’s resented the most about “Black” Beyonce is perhaps defined by the title of the best song on her new album Lemonade: