Beyonce’s Grammy Award performance of “Drunk In Love” with Jay-Z was so many things: sexy, racy, fierce, dope. Had me bodyrolling and warbling “Surfin’ all on this good good” with my outdoor voice. And texting my fitness trainer for an emergency session and new game plan for how I’m going to look as bootylicious as B did dancing all up on her husband. The absolute last thing on my mind when she finished and hugged it out with Jay on the stage was that this woman—a wife, a mother, a businesswoman, an international icon—would be called a “whore” for doing her job and doing it well. But there it was, right there in the headline of a U.K. newspaper: “’Whore’ Beyonce angers parents with raunchy act.”
Apparently, the sight of Beyonce’s derriere exploded the internet, with a gang of handwringing hags flapping their gums about how their kids’ childhoods were absolutely ruined—ruined—by the 56th Grammy Awards opener featuring the hottest chick in the game. Wrote Metro:
Horrified viewer Mandy Flores wrote on Facebook: ‘Aren’t u a mother now!!? Thought u had class, how trashy and I couldn’t even let my 8 year old watch. U have never done anything like that! So disappointed.’
Others quickly reached for the remote control, with JJ Boogie tweeting: ‘Opening Grammy song performance inappropriate for young children. Thank you Beyonce. #ChannelChange.’
Another horrified woman said the 32-year-old mum looked like a ‘wh*re on stage’ at the Staples Center in LA.
Trashy? Horrified? Whore?
Now mind you, these are the same people who would turn a blind eye to racist “art” depicting a white woman using a naked Black woman as a chair and applaud Miley Cyrus using Black women’s asses as props in a bizarre, crotch-grabbing, chicken-twerk dance at the VMAs, but have a conniption when Beyonce straddles her phatty across a chair and sings about making love to her husband. They’re the same people, too, who would giggle about how adorbs Justin Beiber looks in his DUI mugshot but would nod their heads furiously in agreement when fellow Tweeters call pro NFL player Richard Sherman a thug and ape and nigger for expressing his emotion after a game-changing play that sent his team to the Super Bowl. And you best be clear that these same people probably wouldn’t have said a peep when a major media outlet referred to then-9-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis as a cunt on the biggest night of her life, but probably had to be buried, resurrected and given a bushel of throat lozenges to get over seeing Janet Jackson’s boob tassle in the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show. Did any of those women call Pink a whore for showing off her Brazilian bikini wax during her splits and sexy curtain twirling at Sunday’s Grammy performance? No?
See the pattern?
I’ll tell you this much: I’m done—done—with all this righteous indignation over the baring of Black bodies and the demand that Black artists color within the lines of respectability drawn specifically for us. (I’m tired, too, of Black folks who quickly co-sign this foolishness by dragging Beyonce for looking sexy while daring to sing about explosive sex, complicated relationships, the beauty of motherhood and finding her voice as a woman in a sexist world, or dogging out shows like Being Mary Jane and Scandal for showing the less-than-perfect, complicated lives of single Black women.)
How about Beyonce sang a song in a sexy outfit with her husband by her side? How about nobody was tied to a chair with their eyelids glued open so that they had to watch Beyonce’s Grammy performance in its entirety? How about if you have a TV, it probably came with some kind of control on it that allows you to turn to another channel or turn off the TV altogether so you don’t have to see—gasp—a big black booty in a thong.
More importantly, how about eight year olds should have their asses in the bed at 8 p.m. anyway? Fact is, Beyonce wouldn’t have been able to “horrify” your children if you were on your job. I counter Metro’s FB trolling/reporting with some of my own—the wise words of my friend and fellow author, Joan Morgan, who had this to say about parents complaining about Beyonce’s dancing/singing/clothing/being:
And so here in lies the other problem… There were PLENTY of things my parents wouldn’t let me watch, listen to, participate in when I was 8. Moms Mabley played frequently in our house and so did Minnie Riperton. I was just told to go somewhere cuz it was grown folks business. And not for nothing, when Sule was 8 he had a damn bed-time. But I guess that’s how it goes these days. Beyonce’s now a whore because you refuse to parent.
Say that, Joan.
How about instead of calling another woman/fellow mom a whore, you read a bedtime book to your kid and tuck him in? Or try what we do in our house with questionable content: we use the DVR as our own personal censor by taping potentially racy shows and starting them 15 to 20 minutes late so that we can fast-forward through inappropriate stuff or pause programs so that we can discuss with our daughters what they’re seeing and how they should be thinking about it critically. You’d be amazed at how receptive kids are when you’re talking to them rather than talking at them. Or worse, covering their eyes while you pile on and call people foul names. Now that’s confident parenting. *insert side-eye here.*
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.