Let me start with this: I am a HUGE fan. I was a Beyoncé fan when you were a member of Destiny’s Child, promoting a healthy body image for “Bootylicious” women the globe over. I remained a Beyoncé fan when you branched off as a “Naughty Girl” and fell “Crazy In Love”. I continued to be a Beyoncé fan, now that you are “Flawless”, and I have no intention of changing my fan status now that you are pushing social issues you are passionate about.
I am NOT, however, a fan of football because – let’s be honest – the game goes on forever. When you took to the SuperBowl stage in 2013, you transformed a dull sporting game into an entertainment spectacular that I viewed repeatedly on YouTube. I thought that it would be the pinnacle of any SuperBowl appearances you could ever make – but this year, you proved me wrong in the best way possible. In two minutes, you were able to redefine how a celebrity commands a world stage to shine a light on serious social issues: Race relations. You managed to turn the most-viewed sporting event in America into a media platform for your own political message: #BlackLivesMatter.
When you and your army of strong, Black women marched onto the field, chills flew up my spine. You were oozing unapologetic pride in a performance that was everything I didn’t realised I wanted it to be. Your lyrics were moving, connecting to women of colour the world over. I love that you were celebrating the strength of Black people, with your own words, on your own terms.
I like my baby hair, with baby hair and afros
I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils
Your performance paints an inspiring version of America, that celebrates the lives of heroes like Rev Martin Luther King Jr, in communities where equality is part of everyday life. However the sad reality of this is that your performance also crafted a version of America that scares many people. Although disappointed, I am not shocked to see social media blow up with Beyoncé bashers labelling your performance as a politically-charged assault on politicians and police officers alike.
I apologise to you, Beyoncé. I believe that society can be too quick to criticise celebrities for talking about politics or taking some form of stance on the social issues rife in their communities. Considering the world we live in is driven by the pop culture phenomenons, I believe that you have the potential to influence positive change in the masses. I don’t believe that fame should ever be an excuse for not lending your voice to the real issues at hand, so I commend you for joining the list of celebrities who are brave enough to raise public awareness about social issues and the push for social justice.
Race relations has always been a social issue close to my heart. I was brought up to believe that there is no gender, age, race, religion, sexual orientation (etcetera) that makes us more deserving of love, equality or justice. So if race relations is your social issue of choice, then power to you!
As per usual, you slayed. Keep doing YOU!