Originally published Friday, 31 January 2014.
(Beyonce in Dreamgirls Days)
I have been a fan since Destiny’s Child. I loved your voice and your dance moves and your feisty independence. You were full of talent and passion and beauty and it was inspiring.
And then, Dreamgirls. You aren’t just a singer or a dancer but a songwriter and an actress as well–snagging awards and accolades for the many talents you possess.
Things were looking up for you as you continued your rise to fame–positioned as you were to use your powerful influence in the lives of so many women and girls who adore who you are.
But what about Superbowl 2013? I was really excited to see you command such a large stage. But unfortunately, I was distracted by the black-lacey thing that you (barely) clad yourself in. When I wanted to hear you sing I ended up just wondering if you were wearing a doily, a leotard, or if that qualified as a dress. And I’m mom of three who loves my husband. I had no interest in being distracted by your doily or what you weren’t hiding underneath it. I ended up wondering if any man even knew you were singing–as drawn in as they must have been by your doily. You became just a doily, no longer a woman who has life and opinions and intelligence and power to give to the world.
What made me most sad was that you squandered your influence. In a moment that you could choose to let any of your numerous talents shine, you went with the obvious. You flaunted yourself as a sexual object for the world to see. And hey–I bet that moment felt really powerful. In some ways, it was your moment to be glorifed and worshipped. But allowing your body to become the object of desire strips away who you really are–that person who is so gifted, so influential, so talented, and so beautiful. No one noticed your beauty that night, they noticed your booty. I guess that’s what you wanted. But to what end (no pun intended)? Seriously, to what end? I wondered where that Superbowl performance would lead, and I guess I found out.
Because last night at the Grammy awards, you ditched the lace doily and went straight for the thong. Because that’s the thing with using sex as power–it’s like a drug. Once you give away some of it, you need more of it to get the same rush. It’s a never-ending game where you always lose. So last night, while you rotated over a chair dressed in a thong, I couldn’t hear your voice. I couldn’t really take in your talent. I didn’t get to appreciate you for the amazingly gifted, powerful, influential woman that you are. Instead, I watched as you showed women and girls all around the world what to do when you are at the height of your influence– become a sex object. You didn’t make the show about you–the real you–you made it about the object you were creating. And so when your husband Jay-Z came on the stage, I was hoping he might throw his jacket over your bare rear and usher you off stage. I was hoping that he might not want the rest of the world to see what is intimate and private and meant for you two. Instead, he slapped your butt and you turned around and hid your face and swayed around to the tune of his music. You became his ornament. You. Singer. Songwriter. Actress. Talent. Beautiful. Smart. Successful. You became his ornament.
So, I know there’s more to the story, about where you’ve been and where you want to be. I bet you might think I’m taking this too seriously–that it’s just a show, it’s just entertainment.
But it’s not. It’s you, the essence of your soul and ALL the things you can be that are eclipsed by this one thing. And I think there are going to be some parts that you regret. Your beauty is powerful and your sexuality is a gift that God’s given all of us as women. But when we use it that way, we cheapen it, we objectify ourselves, and we sacrifice our souls on the alter of temporary adoration. And when the lights fade and it’s just you, in a thong, in your dressing room, you are going to wonder what you’ll possibly have to do to top that, and I’m sad for you because you keep giving away pieces of your soul that are far too precious to waste for such temporary, fleeting glory.