Beyonce’s Formation And The Failed Strategy Of Black Capitalism

February 8, 2016  |  

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There is a lot to take away from the Beyoncé “Formation” video in terms of how we have come to define ourselves as a people.

The appreciation of baby hair, afros and Jackson 5 nostrils. The cornbread, collard greens and hot sauce in the purse. The hat tip (or more culturally accurate,  head nod and dap) to Messy Mya, Big Freedia and sissy bounce. The self-confirmation of being a star. The clarion call to get out there and grind, work hard and slay. The unbridled pursuit of capitalism via the shout-outs to the Black Bill Gates in the making. And the pledge to always stay gracious as the “best revenge is your paper.”

It is prideful. It is boastful. It is unapologetic. It’s cultural Blackness. It’s a song of affirmation.

But it is also a song, and visuals, which in some ways contradicts the message it seeks to share.

The police car being swallowed into the flood waters of Hurricane Katrina while a Black boy dances freely in front of a wall of blue. The “Stop shooting us” graffiti on the wall. The Black Panther-inspired backup dancers pumping black fists. The reminder that we are still waiting on justice for Mario Woods. And the pledge that, in the face of all of this, you should always stay gracious, best revenge is your paper.

It all sounds good in theory.

But the reality is that all the money in the world could not keep Oprah Winfrey from being profiled in an upscale boutique. And all the graciousness in the world did not protect President Barack Obama and his family from the racially based critiques and comments. And all of this wealth building, grinding and emphasis on paper chasing has not reversed the tide for those in the community who continue to loose their lives due to police violence and misconduct. Likewise the combined wealth of all the Black millionaires, as well as Oprah Winfrey, has not brought about the political force needed to ensure that clean and drinkable water gets to the most disenfranchised among us in Flint, Michigan.

Looking through the lens, “Formation” is a reminder how, in terms of who we are as a community, we have crafted an identity that is both boastful and prideful in spirit but politically gracious and more aligned with the dominate culture than we care to admit.

But despite all of its contradictions, “Formation” is very much a song of now.

It’s for the generation who is openly considering the class consciousness of Cornel West, Adolf Reed and Bernie Sanders, but will form a protective shell around the political moderation and downright social conservatism of the President Obama. A generation that speaks of revolution but are just as comfortable in its conspicuous consumerism. The generation that wants to build our own, away from the dominant White supremacist power structure, but will celebrate each and every “first” the system produces. A generation that will demand that they “stop shooting us” but doesn’t really have a plan of action for the “or else.” A generation that wants our women and girls to be socially carefree, but also requires them to be gracious, demure and not too loud or angry-looking. And a generation that will make pro-Black affirmations of self-determination while showing up, performing for and collecting a check from corporate sponsors at the Super Bowl.

It’s not much of a condemnation but rather an unabashed look at ourselves. This system turns us all into capitalists whether we are down for it or not. Our ancestors’ introduction into this country was just as much a matter of product of individual and global capitalistic pursuits as it was racial oppression. Our independence and even cultural identity is just as reliant, shaped around and in response to Whiteness and the dominate culture just as much as it is about loving and helping ourselves. We are a generation who are products, and descendants, of the racial turbulence of the 60s and 70s through Ronald Reagan 80s, where trickle down politics and rampant capitalism conspired to create the drug game and welfare queens. We are a generation that survived slavery, Jim Crow lynchings and segregation, redlining, predatory lending, mass incarceration, unequal schools as well as nearly being drowned to death and forgotten in Hurricane Katrina.

We are a generation who in spite of all our firsts and achievements, are still largely struggling to eat, clothed and house ourselves and overcome in poverty. As such we have become a generation of mixed loyalties, consciousness and aspirations who speaks of freedom but not to the point that it is messing up, or even getting in the way of our much-needed paper.

Of course, Beyonce is not the first Black artist to speak to our dual realities (Although she is likely the strongest pop female voice, which explains the fascination). Hip-hop in particular has a long history of preaching, prophesying and reporting about the emotional impact and psychology peculiarities of hating the system but wanting to claim a piece of it for ourselves.

Kanye West said it best: “They made us hate ourselves and love their wealth.”

Or as once written by Duke professor Mark Anthony Neal about West as well as Beyonce’s husband Jay Z equally prideful joint album Watch the Throne:

This is a point that branding expert Steve Stoute argues in his forthcoming book The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture that Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy, where he writes that the “force of aspiration,” is the “power that turns nothing into something, that creates worlds and paves destinies, and changes the have-nots into the have-somes and occasionally have-it-alls.” In a country marked by rich immigrant cultures, Black Americans may represent the most aspirational of peoples—willing themselves off of plantations and into some semblance of a (still unrealized?) full citizenship—long before Shawn Carter and Kanye West ever picked up a mic. Black aspiration is Black Power, dating to the time, per the late poet Sekou Sundiata, some “slave” dreamed in her head, a freedom that she would never fully experience.

Yet even this long tradition of aspirational power, falls flat at a moment when there exists an unprecedented wealth gap between the poor and the so-called super-rich and the United States faces a double-dip recession, that Black America could have predicted—and indeed that well-known economist Young Jeezy did four years ago. To be sure this is not the first recession that Black America has bore the brunt of, yet it might be the first in which Black artists are burdened with an expectation to speak to its palpable presence in the lives of their fans and supporters.

In the midst of a recession in the mid-1970s, when New York City was on the brink of defaulting on its loans and then President Gerald Ford threatened to veto any legislation aimed at bailing out the municipality, William DeVaughn could wistfully sing about the “diamond in the back/sun-roof top/digging the scene with the gangster lean,” on his aspirational classic “Be Thankful for What You Got.” The song was as much a cautionary tale about the trappings of materialism (as Black flight was becoming a reality), as it was a reminder that the culture already embodied a sense of wealth where a gangsta-lean—yet another precursor to ghetto fabulousness—was a hard earned commodity, as valuable as the pimp car rolling down the avenue.

Hip-Hop’s genius move from outset was to make the trinkets of everyday life the stuff of hyper-consumption—a story at least as old as Pig Feet Mary selling chitlins’, hog maws, and of course pig feet out of a baby carriage in Harlem in the early 20th century, later becoming a real estate tycoon or White folk dragging the Fisk Jubilee Singers around the globe for a taste of those good old Negro spirituals in the late 19th century, or Henry Box Brown recreating his escape act for European audiences years before the Emancipation Proclamation—I mean, I could go on.”

In a sense, Beyonce’s Formation does also speak to the hopes and dreams of not only the enslaved Black who wanted nothing more than to will herself off of the plantation. More specifically, in the song’s declaration to always stay gracious and seek out the paper as revenge, we hear the voices of those ancestors who embodied the “we are not victims” mentality. The “we never ask for handouts” mentality. The answer to Black suffering is through economic empowerment-mentality. And finally the best revenge is a good education, big house with a picket fence, private this and that, Givenchy dresses and of course the “paper”-mentality.

Still you have to wonder if our pursuit of freedom through paper-chasing and other capitalistic interests has really worked in the best interest of our community? As famed feminist writer Audre Lorde once said: “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” And despite the individual successes of Beyoncé, Jay Z, Oprah and many Black folks with considerable wealth, the master’s house still remains very much intact and ever so prosperous.

Take, for instance, last night’s Superbowl halftime show where Beyoncé and her Panther inspired dancers took to the field to perform. Visually, the performance hit all of the right cultural and emotional markers. But despite the song’s (and visual’s) political overtones, Beyoncé nor her dance moves offered us very little in the way of urgency or even a call to arms – other than a reminder to purchase tickets to her likely corporate sponsored world tour.

What that tells me is that no matter how much paper we earn, chase or personally empower ourselves from it, there are very real limits to how free we can ultimately be from the pursuits of it. And while Beyoncé may demand that we all get into formation, we may also want to ask what we are lining up to buy into?

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  • Transbutter

    Blah blah I LOVE the song and video. Beyonce concert in 2016! I.will.be.there.

  • Jackie Byrd

    Wow your article is so powerful and really made me think about my own lane. But your last sentence summed it all up in a nutshell for me and reminds me of a scripture in the bible that says wide is road that leads to destruction and many will follow it but narrow is the way to righteousness. What are we forming for and what are we standing for exactly? Thank you. I will rethink my intentions now.

  • GoldenGirl;)

    LOVE it…..get in FORMATION!

  • Charmaine Michelle

    This article is very similar to Guo’s article in the Washington Post. Her song isn’t contradictory but ambiguous and reflects a struggle that is as diverse as America’s geo-political history. America is a federal republic, with red and blue states. The experiences and opportunities of black people ar very different. An artist can only speak from a place she knows. Beyonce knows nothing about urban living in the hood just like Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan. However, unlike the men she at least tries to be a voice. Beyonce is not a poly sci major from Princeton or UVA give her a break, song is simply a complex narrative of a southern black woman who grew up in an affluent home who is trying to be voice. The fact is our enemy just like an enemy is pragmatic and fluid. There are somethings ALL Americans are victim of and then there are somethings only poor urban black Americans who have limited leaders are victims. The white middle class is shrinking, WHITE CEOs are stealing from white people. Equality has barely been in place for 40 years and we have been kep away from being political insiders for centuries. White Americans are being scammed. I think as Black Americans we are doing the best we can with the limited information we have. Capitalism and the global economy are here to stay. All of Russia and China couldnt take down the system. The system needs to be adjusted not destroyed.

  • For starters – AMAZING article! Makes a LOT OF SENSE. Does anyone else find it interesting that for a lighter-skinned woman, Beyonce gets amazingly dark toned when she needs to? (This asked by my biracial son and I found rather interesting).

    As a mother raising biracial children, I find the racial divide very disturbing. I wonder how all the black folks feel about me hearing as a mother “it’s a black thing you would not get it?” – as if to imply they know more about my own sons who I carried in my womb and have been there 24/7??? Somehow I am not supposed to “understand” my own sons? I also resent being told by blacks and whites that “you are raising a black child”. I AM RAISING A CHILD – period. My sons are not black or white – they are my sons!!!!!!!!!

    Artists like Beyonce – and Jada Pinkett with her little boycott are not HELPING, they are HINDERING progress! This article nailed it! Instead of just complaining and saying it is “time to get into formation” – try having something USEFUL to take it a step further! Getting into formation to improve the situation is GREAT – but how the “F” are you going to do that? WHAT do you plan to do once you are in line? If you do not have a formalized strategy and workable plan – all you are doing is promoting chaos.

    FOR ONCE, I wish that role models (like Beyonce) would use their brain even more than their talent. THINK! How are you helping my biracial sons from getting shot by promoting a police car sinking in Katrina? Really – how is that going to fix the problem? I truly cannot wait for the day when blacks would stop seeing WHITE (as well as whites stop seeing BLACK) then MAYBE I won’t have to play this freaking balancing act with my sons that NEITHER race is EVIL. Until we eliminate the BAD ELEMENT in BOTH RACES, this will never change.

    I am white and Native American. I am PROUD of who I am! I was raised by a single mom who gave all three of her children amazing opportunities to great things – through hard work and determination. Her diligence in raising three Christian and socially conscious children while working hard to make ends meet is something I am proud to have stemmed from. She raised us throughout the 70’s and was chastised for being a single parent. Our neighbors all assumed my single mom wanted to sleep with their husbands. Our friends parents assumed we would be bad influences coming from a broken home. Yet all three of us were honor role students, Captain’s of our basketball teams, band members, chorus members, student council representatives and National Honor Society members. My brothers are West Point graduates and I went through Regis College on an academic scholarship. If we had bought into the stereotypes of the 70’s-80’s and looked at ourselves as victims, none of the three of us would be the successes we are today.

    I had to mention all that because I hear so many of my black business associates, friends and family members say how PROUD they are – well they should be. But so should whites be proud, as Asians should be proud, as Puerto Ricans should be proud. PRIDE has NOTHING to do with color. It has to do with being dealt whatever cards you get in life and turning them into a Royal Flush! #stopseeingcolor

    • pragmatic maxim

      Boo hoo, white girl. Cry me a river. Jk

    • Old School Me

      The Black experience cannot be absorbed via semen. Having half Black children doesn’t make you cognizant of our experience. You’ll always be on the outside looking in. The fact that you refuse to see that speaks to the fact that White privilege exists – even in those who sleep Black. (After all, Strom Thurmond had a half Black daughter and he was a racist to his core). You’ll never fully understand your sons, firstly, because you’re female and they’re male, secondly, because their experiences will be as semi BLACK men.

      Your refusal to recognize that their experience will never be yours doesn’t bode well. We as Black women know that our men’s experiences aren’t ours but at least we have the commonality living in the Black.

    • Old School Me

      Having half Black children doesn’t make you cognizant of our experience.
      You’ll always be on the outside looking in. The fact that you refuse to see
      that speaks to the fact that White privilege exists – even in those who sleep
      Black. (After all, Strom Thurmond had a half Black daughter and he was a racist
      to his core). You’ll never fully understand your sons, firstly, because you’re
      female and they’re male, secondly, because their experiences will be as semi
      BLACK men.

      With your attitude, they’re going to have even more problems. Your refusal
      to recognize that their experience will never be yours doesn’t bode well. We as
      Black women know that our men’s experiences aren’t ours but at least we have
      the commonality living in the Black.

      • Just what I would expect from someone like you. By the way – did you even BOTHER to read the rest of my post. Saying something as IGNORANT as “the fact you refuse to see that speaks to the fact that white privilege exists” further proves your not worth the air to waste. Feeling that I KNOW and can RELATE to my OWN SONS has NOTHING to do with WHITE PRIVILEGE!!!!!!!!!!!

        By the way, I did not say ANYTHING about having any cognizance of YOUR EXPERIENCE. But MY SONS experience – I HAVE PLENTY – so you can just keep stepping. And my favorite ignorant statement of yours “your refusal to recognize that their experience will never be yours doesn’t bode well.” So tell me sweetie – whose experience are my sons having anyway? Are they not in my household? Do I not spend hours upon hours in cars traveling state to state to support them in their dreams of playing pro basketball weekend after weekend? Do I not heal their wounds when they are injured or take care of them when they fall ill? Do you think I have NEVER seen the judgmental stares of BOTH blacks and whites? Are you dumb enough to believe that some white man never looked at my kids and I while we were shopping and say “another white girl banged up by some black man?” (Which I had NO PROBLEM pointing out that the “black man” who “banged me up” was my husband and probably more of a man than he would ever be?) Or here is another EXPERIENCE for you . . . the black girl who dared walk past my husband and I while I had two young babies in tow and say “that’s a damn shame”? (He had nor problem telling her that she was an idiot and what would make her think if he was not with me, he would be with someone like her?)

        So again, I ask you . . . just what experience are my sons having that I am not aware or is not mine?

        And to make some BS remark regarding Strom Thurmod as if to compare me to a racist scumbag like him – FURTHER proves your ignorance of me.

        The ONLY VALID point you make is that them being male and me being a female does make me unique form their MALE experiences.

        My husband wants you to know that I do a lot more than sleep black. Maybe you just sleep – but my hubby and I are and DO a lot more than that. As for having any problems – I do not have any with my children nor my BLACK husband – just with women like you . . . and that I could care less.

        • Old School Me

          Didn’t read any of your diatribe because I can see from the many all caps that you still don’t get it. The intake of a Black’s man semen doesn’t make you cognizant of the Black experience.

        • Old School Me

          Laying with a Black man doesn’t make you cognizant of the Black experience.

        • Old School Me

          Nope, I didn’t bother once I saw White privilege was in full effect. Didn’t read any of this diatribe either.

          • caligirl

            lol

    • caligirl

      i feel sorry for your sons.

  • Old School Me

    Beyonce is all about the money. I watched the video for this song just because of all this super bowl
    hoopla. This was so contrived and fake. Beyonce talking about loving her
    Blackness including the nose? The girl has had a nose job (so have all
    the Jacksons). Breast implants, fake hair (blond of course) but she loves kinky hair?

    Everything she does is for effect and for show. And giving the finger? Legs stay
    spread? She’s a user and she’s using real issues for personal profit.
    And the lyrics are mostly a boast on how successful she and her husband
    are and anyone who doesn’t like them, gets the finger. Crass.

    • caligirl

      i consider what she does soft porn. haven’t watched a video of hers in many years, but the one i saw was enough to let me know that this was one “artist” that i’d be passing on…

  • Old School Me

    It was – as always – about Bey lining her pockets. Follow the money.

  • Brenda

    The video has some depth. The song is shallow but then, so is Bey. Bey didn’t write this song. The person who did is capitalizing on the plight of black Americans while Bey keeps bringing in the green.

    FYI, “loose” can never be a verb unless it’s “loosen.” It should be lose and not loose.

    • caligirl

      the song was likely written by a racist white music industry jew.

  • I_am_a_Gladiator/Scandalista

    Hmm….I get it, I guess. I guess anything that calls attention to the movement and police brutality is a good thing but I can’t help but feel that she is about 10 months too late and this is more of a bandwagon move than anything but better late than never.

  • hollyw

    Yaaaaas. Down with black capitalism. Support whoever you want, but call it what it is!

  • SoYouWantMeToDoWhatNow?!

    I don’t ride hard for Beyonce, but she did say it best…”You know that you that B—-when you cause all this conversation.” 72 comments and counting…

  • Lily

    “We are a generation who in spite of all our firsts and achievements, are still largely struggling to eat, clothed and house ourselves and overcome in poverty.”

    Actually, the majority of Black folks in the US are middle class, not ‘largely struggling to eat’. Yes, Whites are still much better off financially and that gap needs to be addressed, now – but I am so sick of people perpetuating the myth that all Black folks are broke or on welfare.

    • Actually, there are more whites on welfare then blacks – so your only inaccurate statement here is that “whites are still much better off financially”. Only 5% of white have that 95% of the wealth. The other 95% is struggling as much as any other race.

      Otherwise, I agree with your other valid points.

  • Elayne pallist

    Great, thoughtful piece! But in response to Audre Lourde’s famous quote, the master’s tools can dismantle his house.

    Words, images and values are powerful tools. Protest art exposes these tactics by using those same tools to challenge the establishment. “Formation” deconstructs the house and potentially creates productive debate, but it’s not revolutionary. The script isn’t flipped, just the pronouns.

    African slaves wanted ownership of their own bodies and destinies, realized in the freedom of their descendants. The descendants now dream of being the master. Beyonce doesn’t challenge the slave/master dynamic.

    “Getting the paper” as a goal and ultimate revenge will never solve the fundamental problems of capitalism, racism or gender inequality. Capitalism creates and drives exploitation: it exploited peole during slavery and continues its abuse today. It is what now threatens the future of life on this planet.

    “Formation” ultimately remains in a plantation mentality. It doesn’t aspire to freedom, only that the same cycle which keeps us all imprisoned offers someone else at the top.

    The master’s house was always toxic. Its total destruction will require a wrecking ball. But what can be built to replace it?

    • Old School Me

      Very well stated. I appreciate cogent, articulate posts. You made some very good points.

    • caligirl

      !!!!!!!!

  • shea2shy

    I feel like ppl are trying to make this song deeper than it really is. Why are you so happy that Beyonce said “baby hair with afros… Jackson 5 nose etc..” How does that equal black pride? That’s the problem with society… We care too much what these “celebrities” do and say even if their really not saying anything we create something big out of it. The lyric was not that deep .. Her video was a Marketing Strategy to trick you guys into thinking she’s pro black then she drops the fact that a tour is coming up. Ya’ll will be flocking to pay through your nose to listen to a 30 something year old mother sing and dance to stupid songs… Please stop being a fool all your life.. It’s other artist out here grinding and dropping conscious music everyday… Support them!

    • pragmatic maxim

      Bravo!

  • Elayne pallist

    Great, thoughtful piece! I just wanted to comment on Audre Lourde’s famous quote. In fact it is possible to dismantle the master’s house with the master’s tools. A hammer and saw can destroy as well as build. But there are better tools for dismantling and as Charing Ball points out, “Formation” does display the “master’s house” through the lens of a certain kind of blackness. Where there is a master, there are slaves, and whether Beyonce intended it or not, looking at southern blackness will carry the legacy of slavery, which is how blacks came to be in the south.

    But this is where Lourde gets it wrong. Some of the tools the master uses are words, images and values, better known as propaganda. This is where most protest art gets it right, by exposing the tactics used by the master to challenge the validity of the plantation system. She deconstructs the house and reimagines it in a pseudo-feminist play on power and money in sexual relationships, gender and race identity. But while it’s a tactic that can create a temporary controversy and hopefully some productive conversations, it’s not new and certainly not revolutionary in any substantive way. The script isn’t flipped, only the pronouns and the race of the speaker.

    The dream of the slave was ownership of their own bodies and destinies, later to be embodied in the freedom of their descendants. The dream many of their descendants have gotten caught up in is simply ownership of the master’s house. But ownership to what purpose? The house as a legitimate aspiration is never threatened, and that is the fundamental problem.

    Traditional thinking about wealth, success and glory never diminish the fundamental problems of capitalism, the very system that created and drove the exploitation that slaves experienced and now the working poor endure. That system now threatens the very fabric of life on this planet, as experienced in the increase of small-scale wars, wealth inequality, climate change, pollution and environmental disasters. The master’s house was always toxic and always will reinforce class divisions and systemic racism. If we want to use traditional tools to dismantle the house, we will need to add something like a wrecking ball. This begs the question of what will be built to replace it?

    “Getting the paper” as a goal and ultimate revenge still lies in the realm of plantation mentality. It is never an aspiration to freedom, only to a repeating of the same cycle that keeps us all imprisoned.

  • inspiratura

    Excellent article. So much to unpack here…I need to reread!

  • EEEE’NOUGHSAID

    This is a woman in power! Damn if she do, damn if she don’t. This is not 1998 Beyonce’ y’all! Its 2016, when world events was going on and other celebrities was shinning light on the BLM movement people were calling her out to speak her voice. When she did, she came hard!!!! SHE IS A GROWN WOMAN many of us forget, that to make her brand she had to sell to the masses. Meaning being the black girl next door, always smiling and posing the right way. Until you find out she has A SOUL AND BLEEDS LIKE YOU AND ME. She has given so many artist that has step out of the normal realm of acceptance and made her own lane. Now she’s giving you the real deal Beyonce’ a product of her environment and I LOVE IT!!!! She’s inspiring, motivational and cutting edge…. Don’t worry I’m pretty sure she’ll put something out for the haters to snatch their wigs off too. #BEYHIVE

    • pragmatic maxim

      Her lyrics are crass and unsophisticated. Are we really trying to make a song where Beyonce sings about taking her man to Red Lobster because he f*cked her good this generation’s ‘What’s Going On?’ or ‘Imagine’? Mrs Knowles-Carter is certainly no Marvin Gaye or John Lennon

      • Old School Me

        Or Gil Scott Heron or Stevie Wonder or one of the Last Poets.

      • EEEE’NOUGHSAID

        In some light you made a valid point… She isn’t Marvin Gaye nor John Lennon she is Beyonce’. Her own woman, muse, and art. To me she’s expressing herself the way she wants to. The way she views things naturally. I am a woman of class but I do have my hood side. She embodies both to me. She’s finally coming into her woman. And I’m so glad she did

  • Purple Sound

    Welp, we’ll see what happens. I, for one, don’t get the hype.

  • Allison Brown

    Wow, your article is the best read yet. I pray that everyone read your article, you’ve couldn’t said it clearer, better and, most of all you spoke the HONEST TRUTH! Hats off to you Charing Ball!

  • Jay

    Beyonce doesn’t really care about the black lives matter movement (the song doesn’t have anything to do with it either) and other things in that realm… If she did she would stop being a sell out and pushing the agenda she has for years… But then that would mean no cash. I mean people who subscribe to mainstream thinking and culture will accept and analyze everything these puppets like her do, without seeing the darkness and plan behind it all hidden in plain sight. Kinda like the film Eyes Wide Shut. Someone made a video on this subject that better explains it than I could. Since you can’t share links here look up “Beyonce doesn’t care about Black Lives Matter” by YouTuber pocketsofthefuture

  • Taneesha The Diva

    I did not get all of that out of the video. the lyrics were somewhat sassy but definitely not deep…..

  • LeilaniC

    its Beyonce. anything she makes will sell no matter the quality

    • Calikush

      Lmao…..Okay, and? My stance still remains that the song is garbage! I don’t care how it sells…..

      • LeilaniC

        thats my point..people love her so it doesnt matter if its garbage or not. theyre gona buy it

        • Smh

          Yeah I agree. They don’t challenge her at all. Plus I’m wondering when she will change up style/outfits. Put something on or least change up

  • D. R. Maggie

    Beautifully written article Madame Noire!

  • iguess

    And while Beyoncé may demand that we all get into formation, we may also want to ask what we are lining up to buy into? ANSWER: The hope for better.

    • LoveIsLove

      Nope..her tour lol. She’s telling these women to get in formation to buy her her tour tickets. The powerful video was just to get people lost in translation..but listening to the lyrics it’s just another feel good song. I love Beyonce and there’s nothing wrong with that- she’s doing what works for her. But for people to be writing these long “deep” pieces about the song like it was anything more than an ode to New Orleans bounce and stereotypical southern culture, really needsto get a grip…lol. Seriously.

  • illogical

    I like the song. It’s catchy. Being from and living in New Orleans gave me a greater appreciation for the song I guess. Must we always be so philosophical all the time…do we have to look for the deep underlying messages hidden in this song..no.

  • K_

    i havent finished reading the article i just wanted to stop and say thank you because this is the first article in many over the past 3 days that gives credit to Messy Mya..everywhere else ONLY mentioned Big Freedia ..thank you #RIP

    • illogical

      They forgot about him

  • Crystal

    The point of the song was to give black pride and make us feel good about ourselves.. So if that didn’t work for you then you’re probably a much more severe case… Eff off because the people that received the message are loving it!!

    • Mirandalg

      I would rather go to Capital Grille than Red Lobster and I don’t carry hot sauce in my Chanel. I am still black and still proud to be so. I don’t think “blackness” has to be synonymous with tackiness or poor use of the English language, I have never used the plural form of the word “cornbread” , I would rather die than purchase a blue wig or wear braids to my knees for any purpose besides a Halloween costume, and I will not limit my cultural identity to such confining and trivial characteristics. We have so much more to celebrate about our culture and our people. I would rather view us through the lens of our myriad of academic, social, scientific, literary, artistic, and political achievements despite tremendous adversity , and our incredible potential for greater triumphs. I am also Southern, (in fact from Houston with Louisiana roots) and I just don’t get it.

      • pragmatic maxim

        Next time you’re at Capital Grille, or Magnum’s, or BLT Steak, or Ruth’s Chris, or any other high-end, lux steak house for that matter, stop and take a look around you and notice the lack of cultural diversity among the employees of the places that you boastfully patronize, rethink it and then tell me if you’re still just as comfortable with the shallowness of your comment.

        • D. R. Maggie

          *claps*

        • Mirandalg

          I’m most uncomfortable and dismayed with your limited cognitive skills and inability to think outside of your myopic experience . Let’s get one thing straight . You don’t know me, what I have overcome , who I have mentored, what I’ve accomplished , what I believe, or how I spend every day striving to personify the change I want to see in the world, and I guarantee you that if you did you would respect me without question and then ask to take notes . Actually, if you don’t believe in God you would likely stop and give Him praise because my life is an astounding illustration of his love and power. I spent more than 24 years of my life in school or training , and never forgot that I needed to be twice as good , and I loved being around other young black students who felt the same way. When I walk into a room and someone mistakes me for a cafeteria worker, transporter, “assistant” , or anyone besides the person in charge in a profession traditionally dominated by “smart and successful” white men I am doing everything I can to carry myself in such a manner that it is recognized that I am not the exception , but the rule . I don’t care for Ruth’s Chris, but clearly you have missed the point, and I would not consider diversity among the waitstaff a goal . The point is that a monolithic caricature of what it means to be black based on a restaurant or choice in foods is not unlike the shameful stereotypes of watermelon adoration , poor grammar, and fried chicken consumption portrayed in minstrel shows and distasteful art decades ago. You got lost in an array of steakhouses , my dear simple one . I’m talking about ideas, standards, history, legacies, and principles, not mere franchises . I don’t want to see my people wash the dishes and serve the food in Capital Grille unless it is a stepping stone to maximizing one’s potential, excelling, and owning the establishment, or better yet, building a better one . I don’t want our children to believe that eating hot sauce and biscuits while behaving garishly encapsulates blackness , southern culture, or our Creole heritage . You remind me of the girls who said my friends and I “talked white” and taunted me mercilessly because I loved learning and reading more than rolling my neck and loudly popping my gum. Sadly, you remind me also of the whites who were always enamored by how “articulate” we were . I remember the non-black classmate who joked that I “must be part Asian” after I earned the highest SAT score in our school that year . All were enragingly insulting to the standard of excellence I regard as my birthright as a black American. Little did they know that I was reading the works of Marcus Garvey, Langston Hughes, DuBois, Hansberry, and Malcolm X from an early age and learning what it REALLY meant to be black in the best possible way because that is how my parents raised me and I will never apologize for that . My “blackness” is regal, proud, intelligent, innovative , tenacious, tasteful, ambitious, resilient, and powerful, and leaps from the shoulders of those who preceded me . It is Harry Belafonte, Mae Jemison, Lena Horne, Charles Drew, Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King, Phylicia Rashad , Duke Ellington, Debbie Allen, Elmer Allen and every one of our faceless ancestors that endures unspeakable indignities and injustices with a ferocity that carried them forward with the hope of a better existence for the generations to follow . If you have a problem with that and are too ignorant to lead and too cowardly to follow, then step back and out of the way.

          • Jay Greene

            I respect you opinion, but I advise against commenting in an area where fans who obviously can’t handle criticism that is heartfelt. I hope you won’t let this negative experience change your mood.

          • LoveIsLove

            “My “blackness” is regal, proud, intelligent, innovative , tenacious, tasteful, ambitious, resilient, and powerful, and leaps from the shoulders of those who preceded me .” — this sentence right here! I agree 1000% with your comment.

          • GUEST123

            STANDING OVATION!!
            Now this is Black History!

          • Purple Sound

            Wow. This literally brought a tear to my eye.

          • cecil toungsi

            You are wonderful my dear. You just gave me teary eyes now because if I wrote my story, I would copy and paste your post. The best part is I wasn’t born in US. Now I wonder what makes the black experience similar everywhere? Why are black stereotypes the “normal” way when we could be so much more and so much better? It’s even more hurtful when those stereotypes are perpetuated by some celebrities in the name of blackness and pride.

          • Guest

            I loved your post. Sometimes I feel that I don’t identify with what many of these young people consider “blackness” anymore. I can be unapologetically black without being bama or some of these other stereotypes black people like to perpetuate.

          • caligirl

            !!!!!!!!

          • I_am_a_Gladiator/Scandalista

            Yes, yes, and a Yaaaaaaaaaaaasss!

          • Lisa

            Wow, I couldn’t have said it better.

          • Touche! SMARTLY and eloquently stated!

        • Jay Greene

          “Shallow”. If you don’t agree with someone, please try to behave in a way that is respectful. I worked in many many “high-end” steak houses in undergrad and I will tell your that your statement about diversity is unfounded and slightly demeaning. I am thankful for the many people I met and served over the years and the opportunity that was there for me. As for this video, I found it insulting for the simple fact that a lot of black people work very hard trying to not give the idea that “black is not a stereotype”. So I understand the critique given above. Also being from Louisiana (born in raised in Lafayette), creole is anyone who are descendants of the original French people who settled here. I don’t consider myself Creole because my father is black. If you had a child with a black person, that child was just black. Most people I know around here wouldn’t either. It is common not to because of tradition that lasted well before slavery in this area. Creole married creole. So honestly, that part is weird for me. I question the intent as the song doesn’t really have much content behind it. FYI, collard greens and corn bread isn’t creole, it is southern cooking. It is also insulting to suggest such thing! 😉 Beyonce is an entertainer. I don’t really care for her music. She hasn’t achieved anything that I know of that improves my standards of living. It also doesn’t empowered me or my children. She entertained those who enjoy her music. I respect her as an entertainer that I don’t find entertaining. If you find her entertaining, enjoy it, but as a advanced civilization we should respect others opinions on the arts respectfully.

        • Lisa

          There are all sorts of people working at those restaurants. But, I’m mostly concerned about the quality of the food and service and not how supposedly diverse the wait staff and kitchen personnel are or should be.

          • pragmatic maxim

            Its a sad commentary when we care more about diversity and ‘representation’ in Hollywood, the land of make believe, than we do about the real world that surrounds us. Silly me, I always thought that the thing in itself should be more coveted than its reflection(imitation)

        • I don’t see what was shallow AT ALL about Mirandalg’s comment. Are you criticizing her for being proud of who she is? Is that not what the song is supposed to be about? Yet – here you are with your petty remarks? Or are you MAD because she enjoys Capital Grille? And why be mad if she enjoys a particular place in which to patronize? Your comment makes no sense whatsoever.

      • Lisa

        So true.

  • Rocking

    The last sentence……

  • GymJunkie43

    I googled the Lyrics and ironically, I don’t see this is a pro-black song. I see this as a call to people to be proud of who they are and where they came from. The little black girl who is being told her nappy hair is ugly is no different from the little Korean girl who is being told her eyes are too slanted, who is no different from the little Arab girl who is being told that she is too hairy. The message I got from it, is to stop letting people control how you see yourself.
    Isn’t that what separates artists from copy/paste eye candy “singers”? Artists use their songs to spark conversations. If you don’t want to hear a message in a song then listen to one of the Love and Hip singers or Ariana Grande, etc

  • Lisa

    Since the author mentioned a “plan of action”, I would like to suggest the following:
    1) Acquire as much knowledge as possible (i.e. read). Answers will not be found in “music” videos.
    2) Focus on building wealth thereafter.
    3) Continue to educate yourself.
    4) Stay out of trouble and away from troublesome people (should not have to be mentioned, but oh well)
    5) Dump the victim mentality.

    • yelpforhelp

      You’re dropping knowledge-they will say you’re Illuminati, which by the way is suppose to be a super secret society and according to almost every black Christian I know, or hear from, is the ONLY was you can be protected, black, wise and wealthy.

      If I read one more time about a blood sacrifice, I will scream. How about people are successful, and the measure of success varies person to person, because they sacrifice there time. They sacrifice temporary pleasure, for long term success.

      • Jay

        They may say that, but it’s not necessarily true and not what many people in the truther community believe. Those “black Christians” you’re talking about are painfully uniformed about how the “Illuminati” or rather the elite works. According to what most truthers believe, you can be used by the wealthy elite for their NWO agenda and because of that become extremely wealthy yourself like Beyonce… But that doesn’t mean that every successful black person is being used in that agenda. Mostly it’s the names we know…

      • I_am_a_Gladiator/Scandalista

        I wouldn’t say it was secret more than it is private.

        • yelpforhelp

          Apparently not that private. The stories are somewhat intriguing, until they got ludicrous. It’s also insulting when black people think that the only way other black people achieve success is by worshiping the devil. That is what is offensive to me.

          • I_am_a_Gladiator/Scandalista

            Agreed.

    • yelpforhelp

      I’m glad you said it.

    • Purple Sound

      This is what should have been in the article lol. Read, learn, educate yourself, make moves, give back, mentor, surround yourself with positive people. And definitely dump the victim mentality. Lawd, Black Twitter sometimes smh. It would be nice if MN wasn’t always trying to write articles about these artists and their fake “woke” songs.

      • pragmatic maxim

        Here’s why your statement besides it’s obvious good intention bugs me:
        When someone says “dump the victim mentality”, I feel that it diminishes the truth of our struggles as Black people who have survived in a nation/society that is systematically designed to keep us as second, if not third or fourth, class citzens, and our rights to acknowledge it. Why does no one ever tell Jewish people to “dump the victim mentality”?

        • caligirl

          i agree. “dump the victim mentality” is white racist codespeak rhetoric.

          • pragmatic maxim

            Exactly. One of those Fox news code phrases you’ll hear alongside other ones such as ‘race card’, for example.

    • hollyw

      Interesting. I’d say more so:

      1) Seek enlightenment above knowledge. Travel, study other cultures, study history and be able to make a comprehensive analysis to current events, and study the social sciences.
      2) Focus less on money and more on being a decent human being. The pursuit always leads to inequalities; everyone can be well-off, but not everyone can be wealthy w/o others being disproportionately poor, and no one deserves to be born into that.
      3) Continue to educate yourself. *YAS*
      4) Stay socially conscious and socially active. Get involved and be a pillar of your community.
      5) Take that activism to empower others and *take ACTION against systematic oppression*

      • Lisa

        hollyw, you make some good points, but based on my many years of work and business experience and taking into account the current economic realities, I would not highly recommend that young people focus on social sciences. I would recommend studying natural or physical sciences and technology (STEM). Having this background will generally open the doors to laying the groundwork for a very well-paying career, if one is so inclined. Social sciences can then be studied in one’s spare time. For example, I learned my second foreign language when I was over 30, which has allowed me acquire the certifications to work in various foreign countries. Military experience also cannot be underestimated for the travel and cultural exposure that it brings, not to mention the subsequent VA benefits (e.g. GI Bill) for honorable service.
        Regarding your point #2: There is nothing immoral about wealth acquisition. Wealth is created every day in the real economy and investing in the stock market, for example, is not a zero sum game. No one is being robbed when I receive dividend distributions or when my tenants pay me rent. Most importantly, the basis of success for black people in America will have to be based upon stable family structures and the creation of multi-generational wealth. This is what is happening in my family.
        This leads me to your item #5: When one is financially independent, one is automatically empowered and free, and there is no need to be concerned about any real or perceived systemic oppression.
        Thanks for the discussion.

        • hollyw

          Hi Lisa 🙂 My first recommendation was about studying the social sciences to gain better enlightenment, not as a college major, so in that, we both agree, though as you can see in the following point, my goal for myself and youth I interact with is never money, and esp. for minority youth, the very LAST thing to endorse would be a career in the military, even if they offered you a billion dollars.

          I’d argue that, historically, the acquisition of wealth has always been based in immoral activity. You’d be hard-pressed to find one American family, institution, or organization who didn’t get their hands dirty or disenfranchise another. I think your perspective completely ignores historical analysis of the inevitable solution of a capitalist society.Family structure definitely begets stability and a great many good things, but in no way secures wealth. Again, historically, it has mainly just gonna to retain wealth that a person w/in a family has already obtained, or functions to keep the majority from opportunity thru nepotism. This is precisely what has worked against everyone but the top 5% wealthiest, and left the vast majority chasing a pipe dream. They are two sides of the same coin.

          To your final point, I am afraid we most disagree. While I respect your perspective from a purely business aspect, it not taking into account any other struggle other than financial without considering what likely socioeconomic aspects contribute to one’s chances of success renders it useless. The very thread on Oprah contradicts your assumption that that “there is no need to be concerned about any real [“or perceived” which doesn’t exist, fyi] systematic oppression”, or that it has no real effect on one’s life. Money will never be a buffer for this. It does not lessen your chances of s3xual assault as a woman, profiling as a black man, or being “poor white —–” amongst white people. No money amt of money in the world removes a class, race, or gender from systematic oppression; only moments of it. If you live under the same system as everyone else, you’re either benefiting from it, or being oppressed by it. That’s what systematic oppression means.

          As a whole, I just wanted to offer a counter solution that was more holistic than yours, since your plan of action seemed to be purely financially-driven, when I assumed the writer had meant, I’d think we all know that in this society, one needs far more than just money to maintain mental wellness, relationships, and happiness. Countless studies have been done on quality of life, and it’s well understood that wealth only keeps you from poverty and its risk factors, and even the rich know that money does not buy happiness. I appreciate your financial input, however, and don’t doubt its effectiveness; we just serve different goals 🙂

          • Lisa

            Well, regarding the military, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. It really can open doors. It’s how my father paid for his education in the 1950s. As a former commissioned officer, I can personally recommend military service as an option, if only for the educational benefits. I earned a comfortable six-figure income during my active duty time. Not to mention the superb veterans benefits including VA home loans, GI Bill, and hiring preferences in Federal service for veterans. Additionally, our president, Mr. Obama, is the Commander-in-Chief of the US Military and it doesn’t seem to bother him. My point is, people shouldn’t limit their options. It’s a given that the military has some certain risks (death), but I am a patriot and am honored to serve. Actually, the diversity (racial/cultural/ethnic) and the equality among colleagues within the military was the best that I’ve experienced on any job, bar none. P.S. please don’t forget the distinguished service of African Americans in the military from the Revolutionary war until now.
            Family structure is indeed a key to wealth. 2 working parents = 2 incomes = better opportunities for the children. Anyway, I am a Capitalist and plan on keeping the bulk of my wealth within my family for the time being. I just checked my net worth and found out that I am in the 95% percentile of US households, so capitalism is working for me and I can’t complain. I guess that I am a part of the system.
            I’ll exchange financial independence for moments of oppression anytime. If someone appears to not want to do business with me for whatever reason (extremely rare) I let them know on the spot that I will take my money elsewhere. I really don’t care if someone may think that I am a less worthy human because I know who I am. Life is not fair, but it’s great when you can take care of yourself and your family without depending on others.
            Make goals and get it done.

            • hollyw

              Well that’s great of you to admit lol, as far as being a capitalist and only caring about you and yours, though it was already apparent, because it really just comes down to there being no future in capitalism. Therefore, naming it in any “future plan of action”, least of all for the black community, which has been decimated by it since the first sl@ve was shipped, and will only overcome it through COMMUNITY-wide efforts (as opposed to your ‘every man for him/herself’ strategy), is within itself a contradiction. It’s not only immoral, but illogical, from both an economic and environmental perspective. And that’s regardless of what color the Commander in Chief of the most imperialistic regime in modern history is. I mean, really, it’s so tragic that it’s almost laughable that despite the large deficit & destruction our military creates, that “free education” is still championed, as if that’s in any way a logical trade -off to having to risk one’s life to actually get it when other countries w/similar economies give it universally and fair better, economically. Basically, it’s a poor excuse for military service, and only highlights the class disparity in this country, b/c it is poor people searching for a better life, not patriots, joining their military.

              There is no reasonable source that argues this, long-term. So I’d say, for short-term advice, those steps are goal-worthy. Long-term, there’s a very likely chance that one’s accumulations won’t even be there, for various reasons. Nevertheless, much success!

              • Lisa

                I admire your convictions, but I think that when you are older, you will realize that there are definitely no free lunches and your fantasies of socialistic paradise will simply fade away. Case in point – numerous Western European countries with “free education” still practice conscription (mandatory military service). My child is a citizen of one of those countries and will have to serve whether he chooses to attend college or not. Next, the education is far from universal, as only the students who attend Gymnasium (the most advanced secondary school in Germany or Austria, for example) and successfully obtain the Abitur or Matura can attend University (with rare exceptions). This “free education” is financed by the taxpayers and I have to tell you that the taxes are so high as to be mind-boggling. Also, many students who are allowed to go to University find that they can’t afford housing, food, books, etc. and have to get support through BAföG (in Germany), which generally has to be paid back like a student loan. Paradise indeed!
                I don’t see anything wrong with black American people taking advantage of any opportunity that they can get. In the military (Medical Corps in particular) I did not see any of the Mormons, Indians, Asian people, white people, Puerto Ricans, or Nigerans rejecting their health professions scholarships. No, they used them as a stepping stone to a better life. And, as usual, who was in the absolute minority? Yep, the made-in-America Africans. I guess that the ones who didn’t take advantage were stuck somewhere hung up on principles and living in the past.
                Now, if all goes as planned, I will use a bunch of my ill-gotten Capital and endow scholarships at my Undergrad alma mater (an HBCU), at my High School, and at my Medical School. I don’t think that this would be possible if I hadn’t taken certain risks and made the goal of becoming wealthy.

                • hollyw

                  Lisa, will all due respect, and I’ll leave the condescension that riddled your comment out, this has nothing to do with age or convictions, but the ability to use critical thinking in terms of economics, politics, and history. If you had gotten that enlightenment in all of that education or at least deemed it necessary to supplement it w/the history of your own community, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. Both my socially conscious colleagues and myself are ivy-league educated with advanced degrees and have long-known that the only thing formal education can provide a fool is to make them a well-educated fool.

                  You say, “I don’t see anything wrong with black American people taking advantage of any opportunity that they can get”, and yet willfully ignore the stunning lack of opportunity “American-born Africans” have, the higher quality of life, health, and LOWER overall debt citizens in other countries have with the better opportunities that THEIR economy has created, and yet can fix your mouth to say that someone else is living in the idyllic past..? You fail to see the flaw in your logic. Just b/c you individually were successful for the risks you put in does not equate to a plan as a whole being effective. The risk, I.e. your life, does not justify the means, I.e. being middle-class; whereas higher taxes does, free college, free insurance, better infant-morality rates, lower cost of living, etc, does. If you disagree, I have a country full of disenfranchised war veterans that can back that up.

                  Even without my plan of action, Lisa -‘which, again to be clear, has proven effective economically and healthwise in other countries in varying degrees – yours has already been disproved; historically, currently, and in future projections. However, good luck with you and yours.

                  • Lisa

                    hollyw, you are like a parody of a stubborn pro-black militant. I give examples of opportunities that are freely available to all and your knee-jerk response is that everything is lacking for African Americans. You are ignoring opportunity if not flat out rejecting it. You want to lecture me about black history which you presumably learned at your most likely lily-white, microaggression-filled, ivy-league school, while I lived black history at an HBCU, as did multiple generations of my family before me. You want to tell me, an actual veteran of the US armed forces, about disenfranchised veterans and I’ll wager that you’ve never stepped foot into a VA or done anything a help a veteran of any color. I’m certain you wouldn’t have lasted a day with me as your commanding officer making all these excuses. Then you move on to tell me about how systems work in other countries and I will counter that by letting you know that I’ve lived and worked, voluntarily and for pay, in all kinds of countries all over the world, including third-world countries and I know how life is. There’s not much logic to a lot of things and life’s not fair. Many people will not make it, just based on the country where they were born. I’m speaking from experience and you’re spouting ideals which you want to finance with other people’s money which you obviously think grows on trees. If people like me don’t work to create value, who ya’ gonna tax? I’m successful because I never listened to people like you. You always have a reason why black people can never amount to anything without government intervention. It’s just nonsense. We can do and be so much more than being people who go around begging for acceptance and perpetually typecast as “downtrodden”. It’s possible that you actually work in social services and want to keep people in this position, consciously or subconsciously, so that you can have a permanent clientele who look up to you and your “socially conscious” colleagues. Go check yourself.

                    • hollyw

                      “hollyw, you are like a parody of a stubborn pro-black militant.”

                      Lisa lol smh, to that I’d say that, one, you have no idea what a “militant” actually is, and two, if anything, your philosophy is a reincarnation of the “respectable negr0” mentality that has all but died out. You spoke of no “freely available” opportunities, which is ironic for someone who’s repeatedly denigrate others for having idealistic plans and wanting a “free hand-out”.. =| I stopped right there.

                      This convo has clearly deteriorated, and I can only assume you got in your feelings and became disrespectful because you know deep down that your points hold no validity. Again, your individual experiences are invalid, and only lesser minds resort to ad hominems when their arguments don’t hold up. I guess you thought you were talking to one of your brainwashed, boot-licking cadets, huh? Fortunately, this generation is far more progressive and solution-driven in bringing forth the LONG-TERM change that’s needed after, predictably, cleaning up the mess your generation left behind, so excuse us while we get back to that work. Enjoy that dwindling social security. Peace

                    • Lisa

                      Wow, if you think that I have any need for social security whatsoever, you have completely missed the point. Social Security is dead. I have enough income-producing assets that I don’t have to work at this point in my career (over 40, but nowhere near retirement age), but I do so because I enjoy my specialty and I enjoy teaching medical students and residents, not just about medicine, but about life and finance. Additionally, it’s clear that your reading comprehension skills are clearly lacking. I specifically mentioned things such as health professions scholarships which are available to all, but are rarely applied for by African Americans, among other things. Other examples are free cultural and educational activities in every small town and big city, public libraries, excellent parks, absolutely free education from grades K-12, and, if you play your cards right, -scholarships galore. If recommending use of these options and encouraging personal responsibility and goal-setting makes me a “respectable negro”, I’ll take it. After all, that’s what my birth certificate says: race of mother: Negro, race of father: Negro.The concepts may be old-fashioned and boring, but they work. The message that I impart to younger people is that personal success and excellence starts with self. The journey is long and hard, but not impossible. Oh, and if you think that I ever disrespected my enlisted Airmen, you are way out of bounds. Continuing education is highly encouraged within the military, while self-motivation and results-driven thinking is demanded. Actually, it would do you some good to learn the Air force core values – they never go out of style: Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do.
                      Sincerely,
                      A respectable Negro.

                    • hollyw

                      ??

                      The social security mention was in reference to an entire generation..? I see your sense of individualism expands to even the simplest of scopes smh…

                      I’ve more than made my points, though you clearly have something to prove, and that has nothing to do with me. I don’t have anything to be ashamed of for the generations to come, and my hands are clean, so as I said, much success and Peace, sistah!

  • Lisa

    I agree. But calling this performance a “song” is using the term loosely. I prefer to think of it as a string of proclamations issued in slang terminology and peppered with very poor grammar.

    • alim361

      ” ….a string of proclamations issued in slang terminology and peppered with very poor grammar…..”

      therefore a song

  • pragmatic maxim

    Oprah Winfrey wasn’t profiled. She was denied after-store-hours private shopping access to a boutique so expensive that most Black people couldn’t afford to take a deep breath and catch a cold in. Ironically, this was after she included a $1000 or so, Marie Antoinette-type tea set (for two) from them on her list of Oprah’s Must Have Christmas List items.
    Poor, poor Oprah. How dare the clerks at Hêrmés in Paris not immediately recognize her and let her in after they had closed and locked the doors for the evening…. and be unapologetic about it! Kinda reminds me of Josephine Baker being called a Civil Rights activist because she was outraged that The Stork Club in NYC refused to serve her dinner back in 1940 and Walter Winchell witnessed it. Silly writer

    • Miss

      that’s the whole point, they assumed she was just another broke black woman (racial stereotype).

      • pragmatic maxim

        Are you really trying to defend such capitalistic, overpriveleged, materialist f*ckery and put it in the same frame as racial discrimination?

        • yelpforhelp

          Only if you think that black people are the only poor people.

          • Transbutter

            Hello! Come through with this!

        • hollyw

          I see what you’re saying, that some things are a poor example; it’s also important to understand the intersectionality when it comes to discrimination, one, and that money don’t always protect you from race discrimination just like your white skin don’t always protect you from classism. The whole problem is much larger than just race; focusing on just one will never represent the whole picture.

  • alim361

    well clearly

  • alim361

    Beyonce Slayed ….

    All hail the Queen …..in the video she gave us

    1) Trayvon , Brown you name them

    2) Creole culture , southern cuisine ( collard greens , cornbread , hot sauce )

    3) Black Pride ( baby afro , jackson 5 nostrils , nods to where we have come from as black people ref to slavery etc )

    4) Love for oneself and self esteem

    5) Gay rights ( nod to Big Freedia , Messy Mya sissy bounce )

    6) … the list goes on

    7) feminism ( black bill gates )

    All hail

    • Trisha_B

      But what does the song give you? B/c the song is what is going to be played on the radios. The song is what you will purchase, the song is what will give her nominations & awards. The song is what will put money in her pockets. The video won’t be played on TV (since networks hardly play videos). So in a couple of days, people will forget the video but the song will be in heavy rotation. The song doesn’t hold a candle to the message in the video. Why couldn’t she let the lyrics & video match so that when you do turn on the radio you still hear the powerful words that were conveyed in the video, not some commercial plug for red lobster? She was better off making it a silent film, or just instrumentals lol.
      The video is simply a marketing tool. Many artist don’t make videos anymore b/c it’s pointless. They make 1 or 2 videos per album to get peoples attention to promote their songs. I’m not saying the video doesn’t reflect Bey’s true feelings, they probably do. But shes a veteran in this industry, she knows how to play the game

      • alim361

        The song gives me life …..

        yes the song will be sold and we will buy it , she is an artist a professional singer that is her life , so why would she do song for free ?

        for her video , i watch it on you tube …. whenever i want , i dont need to wait for any network to show the video …

        not sure what your point is really …

        the song gives you something …. its clubby and trendy

        but the video is deep …

        just because the song and the video are not congruent ( which i dont agree with ) does not mean that you cannot enjoy and appreciate both ?

        Beyonce is a business woman , she needs to make money … why do you think she sells albums ? for fun ?

        • Trisha_B

          I never said she should work for free, & I never said the song isn’t good or catchy. I’m saying the song & video don’t go together. She had the opportunity to make a radio hit (b/c anything she makes, people blow up) that mentions everything in the video. She had the chance to flood the airwaves with a song that is just as powerful as the video. But instead she used the video to push a song that will have chick’s twerking in the club (nothing wrong with that lol) & boost red lobster sales. Maybe the video for this particular song should’ve focused on “feminism” & confidence so the messages match. Maybe she believes a thought provoking song wouldn’t sell well with her fans, maybe she has more music coming out that will speak on the social injustices. Idk. But she knew to use a h0t topic now to promote her tour & music. I did hear she’ll be donating some proceeds from her tour to flint, so I guess that’s a positive outcome of this.

          • alim361

            well i think that she has started well …. the song is a twerky club song ,

            the video is deep ….

        • yelpforhelp

          There is something about wealth, having a vision, fulfilling your dreams and people happily living their truth that make people hate you. Hearing people say things like “they changed”, when we all know that you can not evolve to greatness in one place. Then you have some people saying “she thinks she’s all that” If you can not grasp your greatness, who else will? For my people masquerading as good religious people “that;s that illuminati stuff”-How great is your God? What God do you serve?

  • cryssi

    Take the wealth, earn the wealth, live with the wealth, or never see the wealth.

    It’s too many issues to be addressed by a single song. Sadly Beyonce is just one of the d*mned if she does, d*mned if she doesn’t.

    I’m not even a stan, barely a fan, but what should she have done in her effort to bring awareness? This is a video meant to bring awareness to the struggles in the black community. To make us aware that she is aware of what we think of her and the standards we hold her to. To let us know she knows that some of us believe she turns a blind eye to the community that embraced her first. To show us she hears us.

    P.S. I don’t care too much for the song or video.

    • Transbutter

      Thank you!!