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I am relatively immune to the irrationality and overly idiocies harbored by white racists. So, I was not at all surprised when some white people expressed anger at Beyoncé over the video for her latest single, “Formation.” It is a song that celebrates Black hair, big, Black noses, and invokes powerful imagery that directly challenges the racism that has spurred the unnecessary deaths of so many Black men, women, and children. It was a #PeakBlackness moment that captivated people of all races for good and bad reasons. All Beyoncé did was celebrate her community and command the respect we deserve. Of course, that would frustrate a racist who might not understand white supremacy and institutionalized racism, but is nonetheless conditioned to think anything that does not place whiteness as center is worthy of their indignation.

That is to be expected, but so is the failure of some Black men to see a Black woman revel in her autonomy.

Mere minutes after “Formation” debuted, some Black men expressed frustration under this false notion that Beyoncé is being championed for celebrating blackness in a way that the likes of Kendrick Lamar is not — particularly, Lamar’s latest album, To Pimp a Butterfly, and the track, “The Blacker The Berry.” Again, this does not surprise me either, but it stings more, because I hate to see Black men essentially repeat the mistakes of their oppressors.

Because these majorly straight Black men don’t see themselves and their point of view as center, they want to diminish its value.

First, to compare “The Blacker The Berry” to the “Formation” video is another glowing example of how in many cases, men can do the minimum and command maximum rewards — especially when they feel like a woman is getting the kudos they feel entitled to.

“The Blacker The Berry” is a celebration of a particular strain of blackness. Yes, Lamar references his dark skin, nappy hair, big nose, and big d–k and challenges white supremacy, but then he takes a pathological turn towards the end as he raps: “So why did I weep when Trayvon Martin was in the street, when gang banging make me kill a n—- blacker than me? Hypocrite!”

This is not hypocrisy. This is not Lamar’s man in the mirror moment. This is not a call to arms for the Black community. This is black pathology and a superficial statement pretending to be something substantive.

In an interview with, Billboard, when asked about recent high-profile incidents of race-motivated police brutality, Lamar said:

“I wish somebody would look in our neighborhood knowing that it’s already a situation, mentally, where it’s fucked up. What happened to [Michael Brown] should’ve never happened. Never. But when we don’t have respect for ourselves, how do we expect them to respect us? It starts from within. Don’t start with just a rally, don’t start from looting — it starts from within.”

I rarely agree with Azealia Banks, but I absolutely agreed with her when she tweeted: “HOW DARE YOU open ur face to a white publication and tell them that we don’t respect ourselves…. Speak for your fucking self.”

I also concur with: “‘When we don’t respect ourselves how can we expect them to respect us’ dumbest shit I’ve ever heard a black man say.”

All Lamar did was repeat an uninformed fable about black on black crime and conflate it with state sanctioned violence. Meanwhile, according to the US Department of Justice statistics, 84 percent of white people killed every year are killed by other whites. Moreover, in 2011 there were actually more cases of whites killing whites than blacks killing blacks. And as Kerry Codett noted at the Huffington Post, “Between 1980 to 2008, a majority (53.3 percent) of gang-related murders were committed by white people, with a majority of the homicide victims being white as well.”

The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates once noted: “People tend to kill the people they live around. Black people are among the most hyper-segregated group in the country. The fact that black killers tend to kill other black people is not refutation of American racism, but the ultimate statement of American racism.”

Regardless of how one feels about Lamar’s statement, it is absolutely nothing like “Formation.” What Beyoncé did in that video was celebrate blackness in so many of its variances.

You heard the voice of the late Messy Mya; you heard Big Freedia; you saw Black southern people of varying classes; you saw Black women of various shapes and shades, all equally confident on camera.

This is Southern Black culture. This is Texas. This is Louisiana. This is Southern Black rap. This is a celebration of Black womanhood. This is the inclusion of Black queer culture. This is country ass Blacks folks being their amazing country Black selves.

That video presents a fuller package of Blackness than what Lamar offered, which is essentially references to his nose and d–k while asking, “What about black-on-black crime?” This is a celebration of non-Black straight men that you rarely see from hip-hop artists — including those like him.

Read the rest at VH1.

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How you rank Beyoncé’s albums depends on what type of Beyoncé fan you are.

If you cannot let go of Destiny’s Child, your favorite is probably Dangerously In Love, which offers slight teases of The Writing’s On The Wall via songs like “Yes.” If you enjoy Beyoncé best in what is considered more mature presentation, you typically fancy the underappreciated 4 and the masterpiece that is her eponymous fifth album. As pretty as she sounds on the half-adult-contemporary, half-not-that album, I Am…Sasha Fierce, that’s no Beyoncé fan’s favorite, and if they say otherwise, I discourage you from believing them.

I appreciate them all, though as much as I adore what she has does recently, especially with BEYONCÉ, nothing makes my mind, body, and twerk respond the way her sophomore album, B’Day, does. Recorded in just a few short weeks after filming Dreamgirls, B’Day was a collision of high energy, hard-hitting beats, and an intensity that was previously teased in a handful of solo and group tracks here but not completely formulated until this moment.

That said, the album did have a bit of a rocky star. Its lead single, “Déjà Vu” featuring Jay Z, was Off The Wall-esque in its sound but did not match the massive success of their previous collaboration, “Crazy In Love.” Fans also launched an online petition asking her to reshoot the video. Its follow-up single, “Ring The Alarm” fared worse, but to Beyoncé’s credit, the shout-filled single showed that she was willing to take a risk.

Ultimately, it was “Irreplaceable,” which reigned atop the Billboard Hot 100 for 10 consecutive weeks, that returned Beyoncé to radio dominance. It may have taken that song for some to give B’Day a chance, but for the over 500,000 of us who got it the week of its release (which, coincidentally, was the same week of her actual birthday), the majority of us knew a great thing when we heard it.

Read the rest at Fuse.

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I say this with a sober mind and honest heart: I do not think Beyoncé is a bad actress.

Yes, I will allow you a moment to sit in awe of my bravery. No, you cannot claim that I am only saying this because I worship at the altar of Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter. I don’t like everything she does. For instance, half of I Am … Sasha Fierce has not been played in any speaker I own since 2008. Also, I hope to never, ever see Carmen: A Hip Hopera on purpose again. Now, don’t be a snitch and tell Beyoncé I said any of this, but I just want to let it be known that I can play detractor when pushed enough.

So, again, I do not think Beyoncé is a bad actress, and I am delighted to know that she is reportedly taking her future career as an actress more seriously. According to an “insider”—who, I assume, was allowed to break his or her blood-oath allegiance to Beyoncé and Parkwood Entertainment for this cause—Beyoncé has been hard at work trying to get her acting chops together.

“She wants to land leading roles in movies and has been taking classes in New York and L.A. for the past year,” the insider told Us Weekly. This person went on to add, “Bey’s looking for an iconic dramatic role. She wants to make a film that’s socially relevant to African American rights.”

In other words, she’s both “woke” and ready for something substantial. I, for one, am ecstatic to read this, because again, I do not think Beyoncé is a bad actress. I know what some of you are thinking: “Have you seen a Beyoncé movie?” Shut up. I’ve seen them all.

My thing about Beyoncé, actress, is that we’ve yet to see Beyoncé in anything remotely challenging. I’ve already conceded that Carmen: A Hip Hopera was terrible, so let’s move on and pretend that never happened. That said, Austin Powers in Goldmember wasn’t exactly a stretch for anyone involved to play. The Fighting Temptations was good in that everyone, from an Oscar winner to Faith Evans, was terrible in a terrible and forgettable film. To be fair, Beyoncé was no less terrible than those two.

Beyoncé was adequate in Dreamgirls, but many might rightly point out that she was playing herself: the favorite. Many laughed when Beyoncé did not win an Oscar but Jennifer Hudson did. Cute for you, but I have five words for you on J. Hud’s perceived acting prowess: “My vury own Louis Vuitton!!

I know you hear me, Sex and the City first-movie fans.

I rest my case.

When it comes to the thriller Obsessed, I’ve always felt that people were unfair to Beyoncé. She did a fine job in that fake-ass Fatal Attraction. If there’s anyone who was stinking up that already musty movie, it was Idris Elba and that god-awful, piss-poor impersonation of an American accent he used. Yeah, I said it. Run up, get done up.

So, here, the subject of Yoncé’s performance in Cadillac Records is where it gets divisive. I think Beyoncé was good, but the movie tried to cram too much into a really small amount of time. That said, it was something different for Beyoncé, and she was not terrible in it.

Read the rest at The Root.

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In the past, my dating life was a mix of Frank Ocean’s Bad Religion and the sadder Mary J Blige songs that you can somehow still dance to. And yet, things have slowly but surely gotten better – a direct result of me making important changes. As I’ve gotten older, I have been more vigilant about noticing the signs that a man might be a loser and promptly taking the exit ramp.

This includes things like never dating a man who doesn’t know how to use “your” and “you’re” correctly. I don’t want to be a snooty writer, but I also don’t want to invest in flirting with a person who didn’t pay attention in third grade. Similarly, though it may be a struggle, I will try my best to avoid checking a guy’s social media feeds before actually getting to know him. It’s like looking at a person through a filter that’s not as favorable as he thinks it is.

But the one I most adamant about sticking to – and I have encouraged everyone I know to act accordingly: I will never date another person who does not like Beyoncé.

If there is one mistake I made repeatedly in the past, it was looking past this fatal flaw. Of all the men I’ve dated, the worst have all disliked Queen Bey.

I am a gay black man from Houston, Texas. Beyoncé is my Lord and gyrator. She is the beginning, end and body roll to me. I should have known better than to ever bother with such haters.

Before I started rejecting Beyoncé haters, I first tried dating some men with the fatal flaw by avoiding the subject. More than once, one tried to pick a fight with me about Beyoncé. They knew I bow down to Queen Bey, but they tried, still, to coerce me into standing on the wrong side of history. Remember that New York Times review of her debut album entitled: “The Solo Beyoncé: She’s No Ashanti?” Who wants to end up sounding that ridiculous?

However, as an original member of the #Beyhive (its editorial director, if you will), I’ve long known that some people will fight a good thing. So I gave some men the benefit of the doubt, thinking that I could help them blossom into Beyoncé lovers – starting with the B’Day album. Because seriously, how can you not like Beyoncé? To me, if you don’t love Beyoncé, you don’t love yourself. You don’t have to be a super fan, but if you don’t like at least five Beyoncé songs, I don’t trust your judgment.

That sounds crazy to Beyoncé deniers, whom I refer to as Beythiests.

Read the rest at The Guardian.

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While discussing how wrong and utterly stupid people can be about anything Beyoncé related, my friend La succinctly packaged my grievances by noting, “I hate that every time she does something, it means we all who pay attention and have critical thinking skills have to suffer thru think pieces from who don’t.” She added an “lol,” but my ass ain’t laughing. The thinkpieces haven’t arrived yet, but the thoughtless musings have already started.

For starters, this idea that “7/11” sounds like something from Unapologetic. Songs like “Pour It Up” are taking cues from Juicy J and “trap,” both of which are heavily (and admittedly by producers) influenced by DJ Screw and UGK. You know, the area where Beyoncé is actually from. As someone who still occasionally writes about music, it irritates the ever living shit out of me how often people who write about music don’t know much about it. This is always true about anything southern Black related.

Even after the now perfect visual, there are some who once again want to echo this sentiment and attribute to the larger point: Beyoncé is copying Rihanna. The people who think this are more than likely the folks who had no idea about the term “ratchet” and Lil’ Boosie until they discovered Twitter. Likewise, these are people who don’t know anything about southern rap outside the shit they discovered in the aughts — so much of which is nothing more than an amalgamation of sounds from the cities of Houston, New Orleans, Dallas, and Miami. This is probably why some felt “Bow Down” was jacking A$AP Rocky, the Harlem native whose entire sound has largely been derived from the Houston rap me and Beyoncé listened to in like elementary and middle school.

Let’s just be clear that a Black girl from Houston, Texas doesn’t need to take cues from a girl born in Barbados, a man from Harlem, among others riding off a Houston influence (Hey, Aubrey Graham) on how to incorporate Screw-influenced music and otherwise hood shit into her act. Especially if said artist is from the Third Ward area of H-Tine, and most of all, has been doing “ratchet” shit before these complaining sum’bitches started dick-riding the term and proceeded to abuse to death.

Since Destiny’s Child started, Beyoncé has worked with local Houston rappers, No Limit rappers, and if you gloss over the Destiny’s Child catalog, has as many birds in her stock as a Popeye’s on MLK. Never forget that Destiny’s Child scored a crossover hit in a song like “Soldier,” which is about their love of a big dick thug. This is a song that came out after they became mainstream staples, mind you.

Beyoncé is also the girl who flipped an old DJ Jubilee sound into an R&B dance track. Perhaps some of you were blinded by the video, which was inspired by The Frug Bob Fosse’s film adaptation of the Broadway musical Sweet Charity, but that’s still New Orleans bounce you are dancing to, beloveds.

I could go on – Beyoncé breaking into the southside flow on “Kitty Kat” – but these motherfuckers don’t pay attention or listen, so why keep bothering? If anything, unlike Rihanna and many other Black acts, Beyoncé is someone whose music remained unapologetically Black more often than not in spite of the shrinking influence of “urban radio” and the pressures to join the EDM, Kid Bopz sounding bullshit one finds on those pop stations.

By the way, I also some tweet that said “7/11” sounds like The Lonely Island’s idea of a Beyoncé song. That’s some white people shit and I’ll leave it at that. Well, I’ll add a “God bless.” There. Next.

Oh yes, there’s that lingering complaint that Beyoncé has no personality. Early interviews have long suggested otherwise. What Beyoncé did do, though, is pull back on the media in the wake of LeToya and LaTavia’s dismissal. She probably didn’t want to end up being portrayed as Diana Ross given these days the only folks who can get away with such behavior are the Katherine Heigls of the world.

I welcome constructive criticism of Beyoncé. I can think of a few areas worthy of consideration. No, I won’t share ’cause I’m not up for doing the work of lazy thinkers. However, what is and continues to be the main problem about this line of critique about Beyoncé is that it’s brainless and often comes from people who come across butt hurt by her for whatever reason. Shut up, or at least, step it up.

Anyway, all hail the biggest pop star in the world for making a music video on an iPhone 6 for a song with absolutely no structure, but is the bop…which is really the most important anyway.

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Like Anderson Cooper, who is the vanilla spice latte to my caramel macchiato, soy with sugar-free vanilla sweetener, my nerves were also on swole following the manufactured controversy his network has since christened “Beyoncé-gate.” There are only so many varying ways to say to the simpletons and sensationalists “I hate you, Jody,” but thankfully, I have a troubled childhood and a silver medal in shade (we can always be better) that helps in moments such as these.

Please, please get into my latest column for “The Weekly Read” over at EBONY.com entitled “To Those Baffled Over Beyoncé.” Part of this is just your garden variety Beytheists being typical losers, but it’s more so the 24-hour news cycle that’s at fault. Hate it all with me by clicking here, why don’t you?

 

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The devil doth tempt me, y’all. I’ve been asked a few times for my thoughts on my lord and gyrator, Beyoncé the most high (and limber), winning a journalism award from the New York chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists. Some because I’m a stan, others who know that at one point I was president of the Howard University chapter of the organization — all over the fact that I’m a working writer…and journalist, I suppose.

I’ve been distracted in recent days (when am I gon’ get a piece of the pie, I already fried my fish in the kitchen) so it was convenient to avoid discussing it publicly. Now I guess I should.

From my understanding Queen Mother Creole received her award for the cover story she wrote on herself for Essence magazine. I recall reading the story and it was basically about her nine-month vacation. Her seeing the world, her enjoying time off for the first time in her life, and other fancy rich people shit. Frankly, I don’t remember much about the piece itself, but I don’t recall thinking it was written poorly. Yes, I’m aware that if I were actually wowed by the work – which an award would suggest that I should be – I’d remember it a whole lot better.

In any event, we all know that it doesn’t matter either whether the piece was well written or not. What is most important to the awarding party involved is that Beyoncé wrote it. Which is why I told friends privately when I was first asked about it, “I hope they’re successful in meeting her as that was the clear intention.”

Obviously, I think meeting Texas’ greatest trophy is awesome; however, maybe VIP passes for her next tour were the way to go. Not to offend anyone – intentionally anyway – but this is just another instance of stars benefitting from the celebrity culture that us all collectively swinging from their sacs. She literally wrote about her vacation. You know, to avoid having to be bothered with an actual journalist presenting her with questions she likely didn’t want to answer.

As the homie La put it, “Beyoncé got an award for writing about herself. I’ve been doing that for nine months. Where’s my Pulitzer?”

It’s coming, girl. Right after you show the world what the color of your bra strap is during a fight on the Oxygen network. Or after you booze it up on MTV with some Italians. Or after you romance Boris Kodjoe or Lil’ Romeo and find Jesus minutes later on the medium screen.

Congratulations to Beyoncé, though. Seriously. She didn’t ask for the award. The stan section of this journalism community showed up and showed out — meaning she has every right to accept it.

Still, this is kind of like:

Mike Tyson being considered a master of otolaryngology.

Evelyn Lozada hailed as a sex education teacher.

Marlo Hampton credited as a lobbyist for the National Association for the Advancement of Coochie Commerce.

NeNe Leakes predicated to be the next Angela Bassett.

Kim Kardashian deemed an anthropologist.

Any gay man referred to as President of The He-Man Woman Haters Club.

You get it, yes?

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Last week I read an article on The Root entitled “Beyoncé’s Incredible, Miraculous Pregnancy,” in which the writer basically assailed my lord and gyrator under the false allegation that she was shoving her pregnancy down everyone’s throat and that she needed to quit acting as if she’s the only person in history to be with child.

Part of the piece included jabs like this:

I’m happy for you, Bey, but the joy growing inside your womb is not the blueprint, and it is not biblical. It isn’t the Visitation; nor is it the dawn of a new epoch in the human calendar. It’s a baby.

Not to mention a subheading called “A Mom-To-Be Who Knows Her Place.”

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Now you know I had to write a response to that. In my latest essay for The Root, “It’s Not Beyoncé, It’s You” I hit back at all of the author’s off base accusations and remind her and others that it’s none of our places to tell a woman to tame her excitement about becoming a mother. You can click here to check it out.

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Feel free to hit like, tweet, and email the piece around. You an also hit your sexy and slow stanky legs, too. And remember: Watch you what you say about the Queen. The hive ain’t having it.

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I wanted to call this post “Conspiracy Cunts,” but I figured that might not be the best thing to have on my Twitter feed and Google index. I blame the Puritans. That’s still pretty much how I feel about this ridiculous story about Beyoncé faking her pregnancy all the same.

I noticed on the very night Beyoncé casually announced being with child that the headmistress of online sensationalism quickly barked that it was all a farce. That was to be expected if you’ve ever read the blog. Unfortunately, I gave other people the benefit of the doubt. I never learn, damn closet idealism.

There are people who actually believe Beyoncé is fronting about her growing fetus. And not just fronting: She’s cut her fancy pillow up into the shape of a prosthetic belly, which folds in front of foreign journalists. This video is tagged as “Best Proof Ever Beyonce is faking her pregnancy!! But Why? What u think?”

I think an insanely sad number of people are fucking morons.

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I’m only getting started, too.

(more…)

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