Educated Sistah Girl asked me some really good questions about
the Beyonce Post from a couple of weeks ago.
I kept trying to respond in the comments but blogger wasn't having it,
so I have made it into a blog post itself. Below is my response to her
Thank you for taking the time to comment. Your
responses have me thinking. I am going to try and respond to the
questions/comments that haven't been answered already.
The up and coming artisits like Jazmine Sullivan and Melonie Fiona are sickening to me with songs like Bust Ya Windows and that song on the radio abt 'I dont care if you are cheating I just want to be with you'. They are pop artists. They are much more detrimental to our culture byt not the White Ptriachal Capitalist System that you speak of...more like in a Willie Lynch Kind of way.This is interesting. What do you mean by this? Why is it sickening?
What do you mean by a Willie Lynch kind of way?
I woudl argue that Beyonce says that she needs a baller because she is a baller. Do you mean to tell me that a woman worth xxM should be dealing with a guy worth xxH? It makes for an imbalanced relationship and is much more unheathy.Why does Beyonce need a baller when she is married to Jay-Z and recently made
Why not sing about her marriage? Whose interest are being served by this?
What does this mean given the ways in which Black women who date ballers
wind up dead or in jail?
I happen to think that Beyonce is close to the modern-day Tina Turner... to the mediaYou are right and I am going to root Beyonce in a Tina Turner, Josephine Baker
and maybe even Lena Horne lineage. However, we must look at
image AND content. Tina and the Yonce ain't sing about the the same shit.
They were also produced by two very different historical moments and that
has to be accounted for to.
You also made two really profound comments that I am going to respond to at length.
Even Upgrade you is a testament to being with someone who is
"on your level" and bypassing those guys who will be bad for you.
Not because he can't give you anything but because you need to
have similar level of ambition (if not interests) to be in a HEALTHY
relationship. Many of her songs (Irreplacable, Me, Myself and I, Diva,
Put a Ring on It) are about empowering women to be independant.
This is needed in our community because there are way too many
women in unheathy relationships because they think they need a man.
Their ambition in life is to be someone's woman. The reason that
Beyonce appeals to so many is because she can sing about thatThe second is:
strength, that fierce independance and then show vulnerability in love
with a song like Flaws and all.
Many of her songs (Irreplacable, Me, Myself and I, Diva, Put a RingWe have are working with different assumptions. I am glad that you commented
on It) are about empowering women to be independant. This is needed
in our community because there are way too many women in unheathy
relationships because they think they need a man. Their ambition in
life is to be someone's woman.
because it is forcing me to think through my assumptions and state them
Assumption Number 1:
I do not assume a patriarchal view of the family or relationships.
More about patriarchy here.
Black women asking Black men for money for the rent is not
This is really akin to two people fighting for crumbs from 'Massa
Our economic system serves the interest of the ruling class, a ruling class
made up of White people, to serve the interests of White people.
Beyonce's music serves the interest of the ruling class because it talks
about "empowerment", in terms of the most historically oppressed people
(aside from Native Americans) in the United States, arguing with each other
over paying the rent.
Black men and women beefin' with each other about money,
instead of focusing on an economic system that is created by White
people to serve the interests of White people is the complete antithesis of
empowerment because it has us looking at ourselves, instead of the system
that creates these conditions.
I'm realize in reading your statement that if I had a patriarchal view of
relationships THEN it would be true, this may seem empowering.
In this society, if we were going to "ask" any men for money, logically it
should be gay White men. They are White men, so they tend to be better paid,
and because they are gay, they tend to choose when they have children, as
they are is less likely pregnancy accidents. This is material because having
children is a high predictor of poverty in the US.
Our American economic system presumes that a group of people will
be financially exploited. Historically, this group has been black men
Empowerment arises in a system that pays Black men and women enough money
to survive, or even one that pays Black men and women the same amount
that White men earn, for the same jobs.
Empowerment arises in a system that forces some folks to live simply so that
OTHERS may simply live.
Women do 2/3rds of the worlds work for 1/10th of the pay. I want MY
9/10ths of pay back. Black men didn't take it from me, so they can't give it back.
Getting it from Black men isn't the issue.
Assumption Number 2:
Black men have been woefully underemployed since after WWII, so
walking around expecting them to have money simply isn't the issue.
Its an insult to measure ANY person by what they have, Black or otherwise.
Human beings are children of God.
What you have and who you are are two different things and Pop music/culture
in general and Beyonce's music in particular is harmful because it normalizes
the idea that relationships are based on financial transactions, fuck love.
This is not to say that we shouldn't have standards and just date anyone but we
must ALSO look at how the system limits the options that Black people have
in this society.
I hear you, as women we are socialized to put relationships ahead of everything else.
I have worked VERY hard, and still work hard at making my spiritual life, my artistic
life, my work at the center of my day to day , not just my relationship. In order to do this,
I had to do a lot of unlearning what I was taught as a young girl about who was suppose
to be when I grew up. I wrote about it in this post titled, "On Waiting Around for a Man."
I am going to repaste a part of the above quote again, because it reminds
me of something else.
As far as the videos she has "Normalizing consumption and exchange-based
heterosexula relationships, she has plenty of other songs that are just as
popular, if not dancable (which doesnt realy mean much...ppl dont LISTEN
to dance songs for the lyrics), songs that speak to giving your all to a
relationship, appreciation for your partner, and recognizing the person
he/she is. Dangerously In love, Flaws and all, and Halo. Even Upgrade
you is a testament to being with someone who is "on your level" and
bypassing those guys who will be bad for you. Not because he can't
give you anything but because you need to have similar level of ambition
(if not interests) to be in a HEALTHY relationship. Many of her songs
(Irreplacable, Me, Myself and I, Diva, Put a Ring on It) are about
empowering women to be independant. This is needed in our community
because there are way too many women in unheathy relationships
because they think they need a man. Their ambition in life is to be
someone's woman. The reason that Beyonce appeals to so many is
because she can sing about that strength, that fierce independance
and then show vulnerability in love with a song like Flaws and all.
This is a profound statement.
Where is the middle ground for a heterosexual Black woman between
refusing to be a doormat and loving Black men in the face of limited
employment options that they have?
Is the issue that we need to learn love ourselves?
What is the connection between black women's empowerment and self love?
Is the issue that Black men need to learn how to love themselves as well?
Would Black teenage boys kill each other the way that they do if they loved
Black men with Awesome credentials, Ivy League etc, have a hard time getting
and keeping a job. If Ivy League Black men can't get a job, and if we value men
by how much money they have, then don't we have a problem? Is the problem
us our the system that we live in? What will it take to redefine what it means
I am pushing this conversation to get us to think along the lines of the system
that we live in, along with, thinking in terms of individual relationships we have.
All in all, I hope this was responsive.