Dear Piers, not everyone is only comfortable with vanilla! Unthreatening, perfect, untouchable, remote, photo-shopped, styled and branded within an inch of their lives for safe consumption by mass popular culture. And those all important and stage-managed concerts, red-carpet moments, manicured smiles and infinite downloads to uphold an impossibly choreographed lifestyle. Unsustainable in a real and human world with all it's challenges. The real woman is out!! Yay. At last.
Recently reading (with a slight astonishment and bemusement) Piers Morgan's commentary ("JayZ 's Not the Only One Who Needs to Be Nervous about Beyonce...") on Beyonce's apparent slippage into "political activism" (worried face) and Nooooooo, her identity as a black woman (shocked face), I feel compelled to throw my two-pennies worth in.
Because in my view, it's just outrageous and extraordinary that he feels he has the right. The right to question not only what is morally correct for a stratospheric megawatt artist and performer to choose in terms of her timing, content, intention and means of delivery, but apparently who she chooses to be as a woman. Her beliefs, her values , who and what she stands for. Stepping up to her true greatness.
Yes of course, in a sense, courting and being in the public eye and upholding the eternally marvellous images of glittery success, the AA* list marriage, the Insta-credible lifestyle.....is profitable. We get it that Piers and an entourage of slightly jaded and possibly green followers might want to suggest it is disingenuous to suddenly lose that façade and get political when the going gets tough at home and maybe the rainy day fund needs boosting?
Did Piers think to ask Jay-Z what he thought about how his alleged cheating might have polarised and provoked his wife into making some bold visual and lyrical statements about her "new" ideas and explorations with identity ? Does he like it to be centre-stage as the outed cheater in the new album "Lemonade"?? Of course not. Piers wouldn't dare. Following the time-worn tradition of pointing at the woman after such an indiscretion and somehow blaming her for her loss of ownership or power in her marriage - is well, just boring and old. Apparently Piers prefers the demure, more manageable Beyonce of old.....
to be honest, I preferred the old Beyoncé.
The less inflammatory, agitating one.
The one who didn't use grieving mothers to shift records and further fill her already massively enriched purse.
The one who didn't play the race card so deliberately and to my mind, unnecessarily.
The one who wanted to be judged on her stupendous talent not her skin color, and wanted us all to do the same.
Diddums. Well I don't!
But it's really not this whimpering that rails me. It's that he's so wide of the mark and missing out on all the refreshing excitement. That he is actually scared of the real power and intellect of the woman here?
I find it fascinating and exciting that we get to see the narrative of Beyonce's personal anger and life explored in her art and identity. That she is prepared to step out from the glittering façade of her perfect life and be the author of who she wants to be. A transformation of sorts. To be a Chameleon perhaps. To own it, whatever the outcomes and whoever she surprises or offends. And yes, it hasn't obviously escaped me that I totally identity with that. So many women that I meet - no matter age, colour, status - financial and otherwise, education and opportunity I know will get this and love her more. Who cares if it's by design. She's earned it.
And oh, to pull the race card. That's even more tedious and frankly smirk-worthy Piers. The journey of Afro-American black empowerment from the Klu Klux Klan, the race riot marches and Martin Luther King to the activist Black Panthers is Afro-American history. It's American history and it's Beyonce's history. She has every right to explore and challenge her racial identity and heritage. Particularly in the context of a contemporary America which is shortly to see the back of their first black president Obama, potentially be followed in by who, Donald Trump? Looks like issues around race are definitely not tired.
The Black Panthers embedded statements of power and yes, sometimes violent fierceness in body language and fashion. Black leather, Afros, clenched-fist air-punching. New ownership of being black and proud. It's an un-nuanced commentary and interpretation of Beyonce's performance of Formation with her back-up dancers donned in black-leather hotpants and Afros as being somehow provocative and distasteful. Oh please Piers, I can almost see your nose wrinkling! What I see is a warrior, a high priestess, a beautiful goddess, an artist and a clever, powerful professional performer at the top of her game. Provocative yes, angry - maybe, sexy - very definitely. Talented, massively. And last, but very definitely not least, a woman with a very smart head on her beautifully honed shoulders.
You really do have our attention now Queen Bey! Just ignore the Vanilla, you're a much more colourful woman than that.