First, let me say this: I love me some Beyonce. Oh, I've tried to find fault to say she's shallow, to hate on her overt sexuality, to argue that she's not the best example for little girls to follow. But then I get sprinkled with B's Girl Power Pixie Dust and pay attention to the details: Beyonce's hustle and grind, her dedication to using her songs to empower women, her ability to make being a black girl with curves not only okay, but sexy desirable. And I like her again.
Such was the case when she debuted the video for her new single, Run the World (Girls) on American Idol. Mari, Lila and I stood in front of the TV literally mesmerized by her moves, by the beat and especially by the chorus “Who run the world? Girls!” For real, for real? I'd drop it like it's on fiyah if I heard that bumpin' in the club (actually, we get out so infrequently that I'd pop it to The Star Spangled Banner if a sitter and a couple of overpriced, watered down drinks were involved, but that's another post for another time). And hell, the chorus was catchy and the lyrics replete with shout outs to female college grads, mothers who bear babies and then get back to the business of taking care of business, career women who get paid, and ladies who create and hold down nations advance a sentiment I can get behind. Plus, I’m never mad if my girls are snapping their fingers and shouting, Who runs the world? GIRLS!
Of course, Beyonce is always going to have her detractors and one, vlogger 9TeenPercent, was sweeping across the internet this week with her video post, Beyonce Run the World (LIES), in which she goes in hard on the entertainer for suggesting that girls are in positions of power. In this thoughtful, snarky, whip-smart video, 9TeenPercent insists it's premature to be making victory anthems claiming girls rule the world when domestic violence, misogyny, workplace discrimination, sexism, gendercide and a host of other societal ills plague women.
I see her point believe me I do. And I appreciate it love that she's calling out the massive inequities we women face at every turn. In our homes. In our communities. In our country. In our workplace. In this world.
But I'm not ready to toss Beyonce under a Greyhound for Run the World (Girls). Gyrating, skimpy clothes, and overtly sexual imagery notwithstanding, the girl has consistently used her music (and toured with a badass all-female band) to advance female empowerment Irreplaceable, Single Ladies, Survivor, Independent Women. Each speaks specifically to the very things I work hard every day to teach my girls leave the jerk if he's not treating your right; get yourself some goals; fill your bank account with your own money; embrace friendship because friends, real ones, keep you sane; use your voice stand up for yourself.
And I kinda like to think that though we women still have quite a way to go before we can claim to run the world, we do have the power to change things to work together as a collective to reset minds, change legislation, hold folk accountable. To use our feminine selves to rethink and reshape and dream a new world.
I think any form of empowerment starts with an internal decision to be empowered. Beyonce's song is just thata creative, aesthetic, call to empowerment. NineteenPercent thinks Beyonce is a liar because she failed to speak about all of the challenges faced by women. I think Beyonce is an artist doing what artists docreating her vision of what reality should be.
Word. And I'm okay with Beyonce for that.
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Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.