Beyonce has finally won me over. I’ve not been a fan of Bey because I’ve always felt that she was disingenuous. That changed a couple of days ago. Her previous displays of being seemingly shallow and even obtuse annoyed me to no end. I cringed every time that I heard her speak. It was so, awkwardly, vanilla mixed with runaway slave that it was almost patronizing. She had no fire. She, always, had the “right” answers. It seemed that Beyonce never wanted to piss people off. Bey was a virtual marionette sent here to entertain the queens and the hood chicks while America’s white gaze cheered her on. Beyonce was white people’s go to girl for “All Things Black”. Her work as an activist paled in comparison to what was on display for the world to see.
That is until last week. I saw her latest video “Formation” and the Beyonce who I knew existed- finally showed up. I liked her. A lot. No- I LOVED HER! Mrs. Carter came through straight from H-town. Addressing EVERYTHING from homosexuality in our community, to Blue Ivy’s beautiful afro down to her husband’s African nose. She gave no fucks. The beauty of THIS song is it’s spoken in language meant for US to understand. There was no pandering to white folks or pseudo-intellectual speak to be heard. It’s the same voice that makes me an activist or my sisters Tarana, Sili, or Dorothy activists. Elocution isn’t always faultless. Language isn’t always pretty and inoffensive. It’s the same way that black activism isn’t always neat and cute. It’s messy. The same way Bey boasts about “stuntin on these heauxs” in Givenchy- while bailing out protesters in Baltimore and Ferguson. It’s unapologetic as black activism should be. It’s the same way that she can feature Big Freedia and Messy Mya on her tracks and go to church on Sunday and squall for the Lord. As black women, we’ve always been fighting for something. We are the ones who love the people who aren’t loved. BLACK MAMAS. US.
The same mouth we use to “cuss a bitch out” is the same mouth we kiss our babies with while greasing their scalps. Intersectionality allows us to twerk in booty shorts and protest police brutality. FUCK your respectability politics. We are carrying “Frank’s Hot Sauce” and “Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce” in our bags like my boo, Darell, because it makes shit taste good. Yes, I know that black activism is so much more than this but THIS is our experience too.
Let’s also relish in the fact that Bey has done what has NOT been done in videos in ages… USED ALL BLACK FOLKS! I saw folks that looked like people who I grew up with like the lady who ran numbers on my grandma’s block, old boy that was always outside on the basketball court practicing his jump shot and the woman who looks like everybody’s auntie that can cook her ass off! Come on black people.
This Beyonce and I would have the only kiki in this piece with chicken wings, all of our good girlfriends and our gay boos, something top shelf for our bougie heauxs and all types of music and mayhem while coming up with a plan to make the world a better place for us. Because THIS… is what WE do.