I was having a little bit of a shitty day, but it's better now. I'm in Stranger with a half pot of coffee I can scarcely afford and Yegwa the proprietor, is reading an article out loud about how Ted Talks lie to us. I wish you could be here. This is a sort of home for me.

The time has come for me to drop a line or more about Beyoncé. I was hoping to avoid it but I have read so much rubbish over the past few days that I cannot bear it any longer. She's been swimming around in my head, and I must exorcise her. You see, my traditional stance on Beyonce is that I am not a fan of hers. It is not that I do not like her music, or that I do not like her as a person. It's just that I'm not sure that this is enough to be a Beyoncé fan in 2013. In fact there are no Beyoncé fans, there are only stans. They're the ones that stand on the ready to decimate anyone that dares criticise their king. They buy her albums twice or thrice, and talk and tweet about her all the time. I would know. My twitter live feed is filled with people like this. These are the people that saw her twice in London during her Mrs. Carter tour, and still bought tickets to see her again in 2014. It isn't a bad thing to be a stan. In fact it's quite a lovely thing. I like Beyoncé. I really do... but not that much.

Beyoncé is an enigma for me. I do not feel that we know who she is when she stops being Beyoncé. There is nothing about her that we know that she herself didn't tell us. She's probably one of the most guarded celebrities out there. What we hear and see are things that she herself puts out there so they could not be real. She more than most others makes it clear that what she does is a job. And she's very good at it. She's perfect celebrity for such an imperfect world. She's black, but not so black that white people can't relate to her. A friend of mine from Uni once told me that while he wasn't racist he couldn't imagine shagging a black woman. I asked him if he would shag Beyoncé and he said yes. I informed him that Beyonce was a black woman and he kept quiet. We never spoke about it again. Her body is black-esque. She celebrates her curves, but she really isn't that curvy. She's curvy enough that black girls with phat booties can identify with her, but at the same time her booty is small enough that white women don't feel like they're left out of the conversation. When she's on stage she doesn't wear a lot, but you cannot call her a slut, or a whore, because when she's not on stage she's fully covered up. Beyoncé's Christian, but liberal. She supports the LGBTQ movement. She's feminist but at the same time, she's chosen some of the things feminists have fought against. Of course, if a woman calls herself a feminist it is impossible to say that she isn't. Feminisms cannot be compared with one another. Different women will want different things, and who is anyone to say that one of them is righter than the other? She sings about love, and sex, but then she's happily married. She's the perfect balance between Conservative and Liberal. She plays both sides of the fence. She is a blank wall, the people that support her take from her what they will. She stands for so much that it is impossible not to find one facet of your life that she supports. 

Beyoncé dropped her latest album on Thursday night or early Friday morning and it set social media afire. People were quick to say that there was no marketing for it but there was. It wasn't obvious, but it was there. It started late last year when she signed that $50 million dollar deal with pepsi. The internet didn't blow up, but I remember reading several articles about how she was somehow supporting child obesity. I disagreed with the sentiment. I love pepsi. I drank a 50 centilitre bottle of it earlier today. I know enough that I shouldn't drink 20 a day. Then in January, there was Beyoncé-gate. She sang the American National anthem over a backing track and it blew up. Everyone covered it. It was impossible to miss. We knew then that she was going to be headlining the Superbowl halftime show and what's more during the press conference she gave for the Superbowl half time show she belted out the National Anthem acapella and silenced even her most determined critics. The year before, Madonna headlined the show, and she released a single (Give me all your luvin) shortly before it. The Superbowl halftime show is the perfect promotion vehicle. I expected Beyoncé to take advantage of this. I was waiting for the single. There was none. Her Superbowl performance was epic, but that was almost a sure thing, she scarcely puts a foot wrong live. After her Superbowl performance she announced that she'd be going on tour. I was surprised because there was no new album to promote. It seemed like a tour from out of the blue. In March, Ryan Tedder, the man who penned Halo, said that he'd been in the studio with her, but that her album wasn't ready. In the same month  I've Been on/Bow down leaked, so we knew that there was definitely new material out there. That too caused a little bit of a buzz because of how vulgar it was. She said nothing. Writers said everything that there could be said about a song, and her fans pined. On the fourth of April, she released her pepsi commercial with a clip of her song "Grown Woman." Her fans were pleased but they were also disappointed. She'd announced that there'd be something new on her youtube page with #BEYHERENOW. They were expecting a new single, but they made do with 30 seconds of a song that was good enough to be one, and 20 seconds of their queen dancing with past versions of herself. And then she went on tour.

While she was on tour, her H and M commercial that featured the song, Standing on the Sun was released. It too was good enough to be a single. After that she performed Grown Woman live, and we all heard it. We all watched a fan's recording of it. There was no way I could escape it because I follow pop culture so closely. I longed for her to stop dominating my radar. I wanted her to drop her album and be done with it. If I felt like this I can only imagine how her stans felt. They must have been starving for something new, something they could buy, something tangible. A bit after that she performed Standing on the Sun live as well. We would have continued talking about her if Miley Cyrus hadn't happened. After Miley's antics lost all of their shock value, she was back. She wasn't as news dominant as she'd been before but she was there lurking. As late as a week before her album was released I was reading articles that said her album could be expected next year. These articles were followed by the news that she would continue touring in 2014. Her hive almost died. They'd endured a year of tantric foreplay with no release.

They'd been teased mercilessly with the hope of new music  so when she made it available all at once, complete with videos, they gorged. It isn't marketing or promotion as my generation has known it, but I think it still counts. It's like when you go through a period of immense poverty and then you receive a windfall. You always splurge. You gorge yourself like a starved lion. And that's exactly what her fans have done. Has it changed things? Not really. She probably won't be able to do this for a while. In fact no one will be able to do what she's done for a while. She's put her name on the surprise release. Anyone that does it now will be mentioned together with Beyoncé. She'll steal the story. I imagine that she and her team's busy now, working on her next move. There's one thing that's clear, Beyoncé is the annoying child in school that never sleeps. Rihanna's partying, Katy Perry's shagging John Mayer, Miley's twerking with Mike Will Made it,  Lady Gaga's being weird, and Beyoncé's working. 

Happy Days,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amazing writing! you hit the nail right on the head! We don't know this babe!

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