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Piers Morgan is a simpleton fortunate enough that being White, male, and straight makes his success in media nearly impenetrable. Morgan, like many people who wear lens prescribed to only allow them to view the world from their perspective, never misses the chances to complain about minorities who complain about the unfair conditions thrusted upon us. What a joy it must be to be stubbornly selfish and stupid and score profit from it.

When Nicki Minaj complained about the unfair treatment of Black women’s art at the MTV Video Music Awards, Morgan wrote a silly column that completely missed the point. When many were enraged by dashcam footage of Sandra Bland’s arrest was made public, Morgan ignorantly boasted about tweeting “#ALLLivesMatter.” Morgan has also tweeted “I love my Whiteness” in response to Black people celebrating themselves in a world that often loathes our mere existence.

When Black people complained about the lily-White Academy Awards, Morgan wrote an asinine column saying he doesn’t watch the show to be bombarded by issues like gay rights, racism, and sexual assault. You see, Morgan watches for entertainment, failing to realize the rest of us can sit around and be silent when the world is watching. So, it’s not surprising that Morgan has an issue with Beyoncé becoming more overtly political in her art.

In yet another sign that his keyboard should have committed suicide long ago, Morgan has written a new column condemning Beyoncé for not being Beyoncé in his image. However, his angle is to pretend to be care about the mothers of Travyon Martin and Mike Brown.

Writing in The Daily Mail, Piers claims: “I have huge personal sympathy for both women and there is no doubt that African-Americans have been treated appallingly by certain rogue elements within the country’s police forces. But I felt very uneasy watching these women being used in this way to sell an album. It smacks of shameless exploitation.”

Beyoncé created a short film exploring varying aspects of Black womanhood. Do you know what said aspects include? The reality that as a Black mother in America, there is a legitimate reason to worry whether or not you will have to bury your son or daughter due to some racist, trigger happy police officer protected by the law and the White supremacy that has long upheld it in this country? By the way, nothing screams “shameless exploitation” than a blithering idiot continuing to miss the point as a career strategy.

Morgan went on to describe Beyoncé as a “militant activist” and argues, “The new Beyoncé wants to be seen as a Black woman political activist first and foremost, entertainer and musician second.” This sentiment recalls the insulting “compliment” some have paid Prince for purportedly “transcending race.” What they mean by that is Prince’s music got them to see past their own racism. Likewise, what Morgan fails to grasp here is that each of us that are of color are seen as that first and foremost no matter what. The only person who thinks otherwise is one who doesn’t live our experience.

Naturally, Morgan then goes on to see he prefers the “old Beyoncé” who was “less inflammatory” and displayed less “agitation.” He then has the nerve to write, “The one who didn’t play the race card so deliberately and to my mind, unnecessarily. The one who wanted to be judged on her stupendous talent not her skin color, and wanted us all to do the same.”

White people like Piers Morgan love to trot out Martin Luther King quotes as if he was the Santa Claus of Civil Rights and that the invocation of his name and a twisted interpretation of his ideology absolves them from criticism of their inherent bias.

Read more at EBONY.

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Why do some people act as if Beyoncé eats with her feet?

I read Beyoncé’s recent and increasingly rare interview with Elle magazine, in which she discussed her new Ivy Park activewear collection in addition to answering questions about feminism, race and police brutality. I found it rather standard for Beyoncé, or any celebrity of her stardom, for that matter. Others, however, expressed shock and awe that she managed to form short, coherent statements.

About feminism, Beyoncé made comments like, “If you are a man who believes your daughter should have the same opportunities and rights as your son, then you’re a feminist. We need men and women to understand the double standards that still exist in this world, and we need to have a real conversation so we can begin to make changes.”

And when asked about those who protested her “Formation” video, Houston’s finest noted: “I have so much admiration and respect for officers and the families of officers who sacrifice themselves to keep us safe. But let’s be clear: I am against police brutality and injustice. Those are two separate things. If celebrating my roots and culture during Black History Month made anyone uncomfortable, those feelings were there long before a video and long before me.”

It’s not as if she broke down critical race and feminist theories in the Q&A, so why in the hell is anyone surprised by these not especially complicated sentences? I’ve seen some of my writing colleagues insinuate that perhaps her public relations team answered the questions for her. This was an echo of the sentiment expressed two years ago when Beyoncé’s essay “Gender Equality Is a Myth!” was published by the Shriver Report.

In that essay, Beyoncé wrote: “We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible.”

Watch out, Toni Morrison, or nah?

Even if Beyoncé did have someone gussy up her essay, she wouldn’t be the first person to do so—celebrity or otherwise. We live in a nation where, if the proper use of “whom” were a choice that could end or life or death, a sizable portion of the U.S. population would immediately drop dead. So if you really want to talk about what is or isn’t dumb, I wouldn’t be aiming my dart in the direction of a pop superstar with a growing empire on which she has relentlessly proved to have a tight grip.

I’ve always found this “Beyoncé is some sort of simpleton” narrative to be painfully ignorant and remarkably dubious. Sure, after LeToya and LaTavia left Destiny’s Child and Beyoncé launched a solo career a few years later, she did noticeably become far more cautious in how she answered questions. That doesn’t necessarily say anything about her level of intelligence.

Read the rest at The Root.

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I try to steer clear of wishing ill on another, but I wish Erykah Badu’s cell phone, iPad, and laptop had forged a suicide pact in order to spare us all of the string of tweets she’s unleashed multiple days this week.

On Monday, Badu, like many others on Twitter, apparently saw New York magazine’s The Cut tweet out a link to a story about a New Zealand school that enforced knee-length skirts for girls in order to “stop boys from getting ideas and create a good work environment for male staff.” Badu’s initial tweet linked to the piece and added: “I agree. We are sexual beings. We should consider everyone. Young girls are attractive. Some males are distracted.”

Oh, those helpless men who can’t manage to avoid sexualizing minors on their damn job of all places. Let us all please consider their special needs. Badu continued, “Men and women both go thru cycles of arousal. Men automatically are attracted to women of child bearing age….” While she did acknowledge “Males should be taught to be responsible for their actions from childhood” and that “It’s not ok to “prey” on young women,” she still said when it comes to a heterosexual [adult] male being attracted to a young woman in a “revealing skirt,” she argued, “No, I think it is his nature.”

Badu continued this debate all through Wednesday, more or less repeating the same logic to the rising depression levels of many of her fans — myself-included.

To some, Badu might have been merely “telling it like it us.” The problem there is just because something sounds pragmatic on its surface doesn’t mean it actually is or even remotely insightful.

Here, Badu is essentially coddling men to the point of infantilization. If an adult man is sexually attracted to a minor and the endpoint is statutory rape, ultimately, the person who bears the greatest burden on that crime is the adult in question. Yes, we are all sexual beings, but this notion that a man cannot control himself because of his nature makes us no better than some wild animal. By the way, if grown men employed to educate school-age girls find themselves sexually attracted to their students, the reality is the length of a skirt will not be that remarkable a factor in thwarting that.

I’m also not totally comfortable with the idea of young girls of “childbearing age.” Exactly what age is that again?  Of course, I am not surprised by Badu’s sentiments. After all, as others have pointed out, this is the same person, who last November as host of the Soul Train Awards, claimed that R. Kelly “has done more for Black people than anyone.”

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Am I a terrible person because I watched Janet Jackson announce her second tour delay due to family planning and thought, “But, baby girl, what about these concert tickets?”

Before Beyoncé and her blond, freestyle braids took control of my life and thigh muscles, there was Janet Jackson, the patron saint of the butterfly, the master of the dookie braid, and the queen of the whisper. Janet Jackson has taught me many things throughout my life, so I was ecstatic to see her perform on the Unbreakable World Tour. That was supposed to happen in February, only she postponed the date until August due to surgery. Now Damita Jo is pulling out another doctor’s note to excuse herself from that tour date and all other dates.

I am so happy that Janet and her billionaire bae of a husband, Wissam Al Mana, are going to start a family—especially considering Janet is 49. I have no idea how this is going to happen, but as NeNe Leakes once said, “They make ’em when you got the coin.” Still, this couldn’t have been the first time the two thought about this, so why touch me, tease me with a tour she seems to not really care all that much about?

The way she’s treated this tour is a lot like how she has treated her latest album, Unbreakable. It was an album seven years in the making and reunited Janet with longtime collaborators, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Moreover, there was a press release that went out touting Janet’s new label, Rhythm Nation Records, which touted her as “arguably the first female African-American recording artist to form her own record label.”

The album’s first single, “No Sleeep,” went on to become her longest-running No. 1 song on the adult R&B song chart—a reminder that the blacks will hold you down even after a white man pulls off part of your shirt, exposing your breast in front of a billion people and leaving your career and a nipple out in the cold. The album has the nerve to be pretty damn decent, too. Certainly better than the material she recorded with Jermaine Dupri.

And then what happened? The hell if I know. Janet gave us one video and not another peep. Legend has it she shot a video for my favorite track from the release, “Dammn Baby,” but where is it? Probably in the closet with the tour wardrobe she apparently won’t be putting back on anytime soon.

I completely understand why Janet Jackson would be over the music industry. She was wronged after her Super Bowl performance and she struggled for a while to regain footing. If not for the support of her most loyal fans—a smooth millions of folks across the world—her legacy wouldn’t have endured as well as it has. However, it’s that support that helped launch her comeback—a comeback that now seems to ending with, “Never mind. Bye, y’all.”

Read the rest at The Root.

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When I hear someone say “I don’t believe in labels,” I roll my eyes all the way down to the nail on my big toe.

Before you roll your eyes back at me, let me make a few things clear. I respect everyone’s right to identify however they choose and I will accept that choice accordingly. Likewise, I understand why many object to labels. Labels can feel restrictive because they can packaged with preconceived notions and stereotypes. However, I find the premise that avoiding a label—particularly with respect to one’s sexuality—will spare one from whatever prejudices people may harbor to be flawed, at best. You need an almost a Disney-like level of naïveté to believe such a fairy tale.

There’s a certain hubris that comes with an announcement that you don’t believe in labels. Like, you’re somehow more evolved than others who succumb to the bait of a word like “gay” or “bisexual.” More often than not, this sort of announcement is just a grab for some shred of individuality—an typically masturbatory practice popular with many millennials.

I tend to look at labels as more of a productive tool than a hindrance because, in many ways, labels are part of what allows for community. If you’re a part of a marginalized group, a label can help foster a supportive, loving environment. (Label recognition and membership in a group are often the first steps to political change.) And really, labels like gay, lesbian, bi, pansexual, and so on are broader than many give them credit for.

To be gay is to have a predominant sexual attraction to someone of the same sex. That literally is the beginning and end of the label. Anything else someone wants to attach to that is by their own invention (and at their own peril). There are mores and customs that can be associated with the label—that is, gay culture—but to be gay does not necessarily mean identifying with gay culture. I blame education policies like No Child Left Behind for so many folks not being able to reach what feels like a very natural conclusion.

I am a gay, but would happily fuck Rihanna, given the opportunity. After we finished, though, I’d probably ask her to hook me up with her male background dancer. I’m sure she’d be down for that.

And while some people rather ignorantly don’t believe in bisexuality—notably among men—calling yourself something else won’t protect you from whatever biases another person has the minute you make it known that you are sexually attracted to someone of the same sex. The same goes for anyone who identifies as pansexual.

Read the rest at Complex.

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If you are curious to know how current and future generations are influenced by reality television, look no further than what happened yesterday after PARTYNEXTDOOR posted a picture of Kehlani’s hand on Instagram with the caption, “After all her shenanigans, still got the R&B singer back in my bed.”

These two have had a long history of sharing every intricate detail of their personal relationship, only what took place yesterday could have easily ended a 20-year-old Grammy-nominated singer’s life. Immediately after that post went up on Instagram, many online created a narrative that suggested Kehlani cheated on her boyfriend, Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving, despite not having a real idea of what may have actually been happening behind closed doors.

The picture dominated conversation across many social media feeds—even among those who had absolutely no idea who in the hell any of the individuals involved were. Not surprisingly, Kehlani was the one pounced on most as numerous folks proceeded to come with a bevy of different ways to call her a ho.

That ridicule preceded Kehlani’s hospitalization over an apparent suicide attempt. In a since-deleted post, Kehlani uploaded a picture of her arm with an IV from a hospital bed, writing, “Today I wanted to leave the Earth.” She went on to note, “Don’t believe the blogs you read. No one was cheated on and I’m not a bad person.”

Kehlani also thanked PND for saving her life. Thankfully he was there for her, but if he had any intel on how fragile her mental state was, in the future, perhaps maintaining privacy about what goes on in and outside of their bedrooms might be best for all parties involved.

I try to stay clear of the “GET OFF MY LAWN!” moments that come with getting older, but I am equal parts befuddled and frightened yesterday at what happened to Kehlani. More importantly, I am increasingly concerned with people sharing every tidbit of their lives and creating noise as if they are a part of a reality show subplot.

I am fearful for people her age and below. For many born after Madonna’s Truth or Dare, The Real World, and the O.J. Simpson trial, and with the rise of reality stars like the Kardashians, there is no such thing as privacy. This habit of chronicling everything about themselves for public consumption is the new norm.

I saw someone say, “If Beyoncé can have a private life, so can these D-listers.” That’s the thing: most people don’t want that. Her celebrity is sort of a relic. And for those who may not understand Kehlani and PARTYNEXTDOOR oversharing, there is another modern trait that people are just as guilty of perpetuating: online cruelty.

Read the rest at Complex.

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A true friend can lovingly tell another, “You sound like a damn fool.” If you truly care about someone, you don’t let them talk out the side of their necks. As far as intersectional homies go, genuine friendship is a Black friend telling their White friend, “You’re way too comfortable.”

If West can’t find it in his heart to convey any of these sentiments to artist Vanessa Beecroft, he needs to simply change her name in his phone to “Do Not Pick Up” and block any subsequent calls and text. That is, if he takes issue yet another troubling sentiment she’s conveyed about race in the press. I don’t know exactly how close West and artist Beecroft are, but she certainly has no issue using him as a racial beard.

In a new interview with W magazine, Beecroft says of her work with West, “I am protected by Kanye’s talent. I become Black. I am no longer Vanessa Beecroft and I am free to do whatever I want because Kanye allows it.”

Unless ‘Ye can wave a magic wand, turn Beecroft into an actual Black woman who gets followed around in a Target by a suburban bigot willing to punch protesters for Donald Trump, this is not how any of this works.

Beecroft is no stranger to controversy when it comes to matters pertaining to race. Not only has she used Blackface in her work before, she has been accused of seeking out Sudanese boys to adopt for the seeming purpose of photographing them for an exhibit. Beecroft proceeded to refer to these orphan kids as poor creature.” Moreover, she reportedly said it was “very stressful to work with Black women.” As if she sounds like a joy to work with.

Vulture once referred to Beecroft as a “hypocritically self-aware, colossally colonial pomo narcissist.” I’d like to add delusional, self-important, casual racist that should report directly into the abyss. However, it should be noted that this is not the first seeming bigot to call Kanye West a friend.

Last year, French A.P.C. designer Jean Touitou’s drew the ire of many over his use of “n*gga” in his latest menswear collection.

As models walked the runway in matching gray sweatpants and A.P.C.-designed Timberlands, Touitou held up a sign that read, “Last Ni##@$ in Paris.” As he explained to Style.com: “I am friends with Kanye, and he and I presented a joint collection at the same place, one year ago, and that this thing is only homage to our friendship. As a matter of fact, when I came up with this idea, I wrote to him, with the picture of the look and the name I was giving to it, and he wrote back immediately, saying something like, ‘I love this vibe.”’

Touitou would go on to apologize, but like Beecroft, Touitou believed that he was protected by his affiliation with West. I don’t know what planet Beecroft resides on nor am certain about whether or not Yeezy gave her a little gas money to fly there. Nevertheless, I do know not only has West expressed that racism is “a dated concept,” he now stands charged with handing out multiple racial hall passes to his artsy and fashion industry friends.

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Just because a statement sounds good doesn’t mean it is especially accurate or particularly useful. So for all those that read Amber Rose’s recent comments about the purported double standards between her and Kim Kardashian’s past with Beyoncé’s present, I only have one question: The hell were y’all reading? Please advise.

In an interview with The Daily Beast, Rose spoke of Kim Kardashian, with whom she recently mended fences with, and spoke of the criticism they both receive. However, Rose invoked the name of Beyoncé to argue her point.

Rose explained: “It’s bullshit, and this is the thing: They come at me and Kim so hard because I was a stripper and she had a sex tape. So if we could sing, it would be OK if we were on stage half-naked? We all love Beyoncé, but she’s on stage half-naked and twerking all the time, yet people say, oh, she has talent so she’s able to do that. We don’t have the talent that Beyoncé has, so we get criticized as former sex workers, but at the end of the day we’re just women—we’re all women—and we should all embrace each other. No one is greater. We’re all the same. So, to criticize us as incapable of being smart businesswomen because Kim has a reality show and I’m a socialite and we don’t sing is stupid. We’ve both been in movies, and we take our acting, business ventures, and everything else very seriously.”

In response, Beyoncé’s most rabid fans, known collectively as The Beyhive, swarmed Rose’s social media accounts to virtually snatch every strand of her hair from her head. Rose took to Twitter to try and clarify, first tweeting: “Was just speaking on Classism. Look it up maybe it applies to ur life. Don’t take my words out of context. I cried twice when I met her Lol.”

Rose followed that with making it clear that she, too, is a part of the BeyHive, and that she referenced Beyonce because “she is the most talented and beautiful.”

None of that really negateswhy some took offense, though.

I get the crux of Rose’s argument in that women should all be treated the same, but there is a bit of a false equivalence here. Whether it is fair or not, Kim Kardashian’s celebrity will always be a polarizing issue because of what it represents to many: a democratization or cheapening of celebrity. Beyoncé is virtually the only kind of star we have who rivals the stardom of Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, and Madonna had in the ’80s. In those times, no Kim Kardashian could exist, let alone dominate pop culture.

Some will never get over that, which is why when it comes to Kim Kardashian, those people follow what Mama Joyce once told Todd on The Real Housewives of Atlanta: “Ain’t no river high enough. Ain’t no ocean deep enough. Ain’t NO desert hot enough to keep me off yo’ ass, baby.”

Even so, the fact is every person has the right to do with their body as they please. On the other hand, don’t compare Kim Kardashian’s lazy performance in a homemade sex tape to Beyoncé. Likewise, while some strippers should easily be a part of Cirque du soleil, it’s not the same work that Beyoncé or any entertainer of her caliber does. It simply is not.

Moreover, I don’t care for the way Rose posits that a leotard – Beyoncé de facto onstage attire – as “half naked.” Rose is still learning certain language so while I think it is important to offer a bit of learning curve, nonetheless, her sentiment on its surface reads as progressive but in reality reinforces a very reductive look at the human body. Rose must’ve missed that Beyoncé, like any woman who dares to be sexual in any form or fashion, has been criticized by men like Mike Huckabee and Bill O’Reilly. Something sexual in nature does not make it immediately pornographic or immoral.

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There are certain conversations between straight people online that make me want to throw my computer and phone into a sea of hot sauce. Of those topics, by far the most grating to the nerve is one centered on child support and all related custodial matters. Here’s how it goes: Some famous man – typically Black – expresses some grievance about the amount of child support he has to pay and/or purportedly not being able to see his child as much as he feels he should. In turn, men on social media – many of whom who will never, ever have a rich man’s problems – suffocates many folks’ timelines with complaints, most of which only exist within the confines of their imagination.

On the first Monday of 2016, Future took to the Twitter to be the latest famous man to engage in this practice, and like all of the other men before him, I wish the Negro would’ve turned to a diary instead.

Rap’s Karen Walker began his online complaining with “This bitch got control problems…”

Problem number one: Future is calling Ciara, the mother of his son a “bitch.” Trust me when I tell you that more often than not, when a son sees his dad refer to his mama this way, the only “bitch” to that child is the one with the penis. That’s not how you refer to the woman who gave one of your kids life, no matter how feisty you’re feeling in that moment.

Future then followed with: “I gotta go through lawyers to see babyfuture…the fuckery for 15k a month.”

Problem number two: This is none of the public’s business. Now, I don’t know a whole lot about Future and Ciara’s relationship, but I do know he cheated on her, thus ending their engagement. To that end, you reap what your wayward sexual appetite has sown, beloved. Meanwhile, as far as the 15k goes, you’re Future. You can afford it. Hell, I’ve chipped in by way of plenty of sales. You’re welcome, Black man.

After that $15,000 a month in child support reference came the complaints of mere commoners (and that’s no shade as I’m not famous either). For some reason, they, too, want to complain about child support. However, child support is based on income, so if you can afford it, that’s on you. Don’t want to pay child support? Buy condoms, it’s cheaper. Even so, a lot of these men fancy themselves as being rich, hence, their irritation with the child support figure Ciara and other women who have had babies by wealthy men get. Here’s how to solve that: realize your ass isn’t rich.

See that? I just saved you so much stress. I can give you my PayPal if you want to throw something in my tip car.

Next came Future’s declaration: “I jus want babyfuture that’s all.”

Tell the judge, not the world, my dude.

Followed by the claim: “I been silent for a year & a half..I ran outta patience.”

This, this right here, this is a damn lie.

Read the rest at VH1.

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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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