Y’all know how we felt about Beyoncé performing “Take My Hand, Precious Lord.” It seemed shady considering Ledisi was there in the audience and it was the very song she sang in the critically acclaimed and award winning film Selma.
The announcement was odd and the backlash was swift. For all those who “hate” Beyoncé, this was finally a legit reason to throw stones. And for those who love her, a source of disappointment. Personally, I belong to the latter group. And I still don’t understand it. So when I saw that Beyoncé released an 8 minute video explaining her choice to perform the song, I thought it might shed a bit more light on her decision.
In case you didn’t hear her bestie Gwyneth Paltrow last night, Mama Tina first sang the song to Beyoncé when she was a child and then played Mahalia Jackson’s version for her.
And in today’s times, with all the violence directed toward Black men and boys by law enforcement, it was important that Beyoncé, as she puts it, showcase “the vulnerability and the strength of Black men.”
She also shared why the performance was important to her personally.
“My grandparents marched with Dr. King. My father was a part of the first generation of Black men that attended an all-White school. My father has grown up with a lot of trauma from those experiences. I feel like now I can sing for his pain. I can sing for my grandparents’ pain. I can sing for some of the families that have lost their sons.”
You can watch the full 8 minute video below.
Listen, I think this is the real motivation behind Beyoncé performing this song. Every conscious Black person in this country knows the pangs of racism and has the familial, anecdotal evidence to back it up. And I’d like to think that she cares about the #BlackLivesMatter movement and that she wanted to use her gift and other Black men to help make a statement with this powerful song. I believe all of that.
But what this video doesn’t do is acknowledge that in the midst of all of this well-intentioned preparation, someone else who was also capable of delivering this song and this message, was shut out. Some have argued that it was John Legend and Common who should have told Beyoncé no when she asked to be a part of their performance. Perhaps, they should have suggested Ledisi’s name, saying they could do it together or advise her to change the song since she sang the exact one in the movie they were promoting. I don’t know there were several ways this could have gone down.
At the end of the day though, I sincerely wonder if Beyoncé has even seen Selma. Because if she has, how can she not acknowledge that this decision was a bit self-serving and shine stealing?
What do you think about the “explanation” video? Does it change your opinion about the way things went down last night at the Grammy Awards?