Matt Walsh of The Blaze, wrote a review of Beyonce’s album, “Lemonade.” Walsh titled his story, Beyonce is Destroying Your Daughter, Not Empowering Her, which is certainly an eye-catching title and sets the tone for this engaging piece.
Beyonce released the album over the weekend and it’s already caused quite a stir from its’ listeners. “Lemonade” has opened the door to cheating rumors between Beyonce and her husband Jay Z, to fill social media as well as the 24-hour news cycle.
Walsh’s take was an attack on the values presented in the music and the artist, and reduces both to cliches. He also reduces Beyonce from a feminist icon to an immoral brand of commercialism. Walsh writes:
“This is the advantage of being a feminist sex icon in modern America. Everything you do and say will become the greatest thing anyone has ever done or said, that is until the next thing you do or say. Beyonce does not occupy this category alone, but due to her race and her dancing ability, she stands at the pinnacle of it.”
Well, not everyone sees Beyonce as a feminist icon, that’s for each individual to decide. Also, being a feminist has nothing to do with whether you like Beyonce’s ability to dance or like black people. Walsh forgets something valuable – not everyone is a fan of Beyonce’s music. She’s a very distinct voice, sound, and genre, and certainly she is allowed to cater to the fans who are interested.
“Never mind that “Beyonce” is more a brand than a person. The lady herself is a person, but what’s presented to the world is a carefully constructed and marketed product. It’s a narrative, a story, a walking and talking fantasy novel for girls.”
Of course Walsh. What point are you trying to make? Beyonce is not the inventor of Apple computers, she is an entertainer. People pay to see her, and in public she is the loudest piece of advertising that money can buy. How is that any different from a quarterback or politician? It’s called being the face of the franchise. Is Beyonce a fantasy novel for young girls? If so, who? Yes, Beyonce is extremely popular. She is probably the most well known entertainer on the planet, but not every young girl is a fan. For instance, some boys grow up interested in sports, while others are interested in cars. It’s not fair to say that all boys are have a fantasy of becoming Peyton Manning.
Finally, Walsh gets to the point in his article, the fact that Beyonce’s music is called empowering.
“It would be merely absurd, not necessarily dangerous, for a woman to feel “empowered” by these rote pop song platitudes. Unfortunately, in Beyonce’s case, when her lyrics aren’t warmed-over and cliched, they’re vulgar, ugly, manipulative and destructive. Often they’re all five of these things at once. Granted, many pop songs are profane, mind numbing garbage, but considering Beyonce’s status as Pagan Goddess of Secular America, her garbage is all the more toxic.”
It’s not absurd to say that someone can feel empowered by the music Beyonce produces. Music is a form of expression, and if a listener feels a emotion and the artist expresses that emotion, then the listener might feel empowered to buy that artist music. The problem some people have with Beyonce is how she expresses herself or others, and that simply does not matter.
The great entertainers, especially actors, convey feelings so well viewers think those feeling are happening to the actor at the very moment. It’s not however, it’s just a show. But the ability to make those feelings feel real is the sign of a great entertainer and artist.
Walsh doesn’t take into account one thing: why girls and women are connecting with Beyonce. Maybe because they actually feel the same way.
“It truly boggles the mind that mothers (and fathers) would be enthusiastic about their daughters marinating their minds in this bile. I understand, in today’s culture, it’s exceedingly difficult to insulate children of a certain age from this kind of stuff, particularly if they go to public school (which is another argument for homeschooling). But the sad truth is that many parents don’t see any reason to even attempt to shield their daughters from music that encourages them to “bounce to the next d*ck.”
Does any of that really matter? Not to make assumptions, but Walsh might also have a problem with touchdown celebrations. Picture an arrogant fan who sits in the stands and thinks, “Why does he have to act like that, just hand the ball to the ref.” That fan didn’t just score a touchdown, so what right does the fan have, to tell the player how to feel.
If any person is angry, and chooses to express their anger by using words, poetry, or music, thank God. If a couple is having a dispute, and one member of that couple decides to write an album about it, rather than use physical domestic violence, this country should throw a parade. Music, like movies, tells stories that provide an outlet, not a blueprint. Those who choose to use that excuse as a defense for committing terrible crimes, have lost the battle in the court of law.
Walsh, like Beyonce, is allowed to expresses himself in as many ways as possible. They are just not allowed to dictate to others on how to do the same.