I’m glad I’m not Jay Z.
Though I would commit felonies for access to his half-billions, I don’t envy the husband who has to buy a gift befitting of Sasha Fierce’s 35th birthday. Or the man whose alleged infidelities inspired Beyonce’s instantly iconic Lemonade visual album.
But whether their martial indiscretions are real or a case of extreme artistic license, I’m selfishly grateful. Not only has it led to the best, most candid work of her career, it drew this Small Screen Girl the Beyhive, albeit belatedly.
Beyonce has always been on my radar and playlists. I’ve always admired and defended her talent and would get down to “Single Ladies,” “Partition” or “Irreplaceable." I even cut my hair in the chic bob from the “Me Myself And I” video a few years ago. But I spent most of Destiny’s Child and Beyonce’s solo career going hard in the fangirl paint for *NSYNC, Christina Aguilera, and a solo Justin Timberlake.
Never one to miss out on a live-tweetable event, I settled into watch Lemonade in April. To say I loved it is an understatement. In the past, I hadn’t responded to Beyonce’s stream-of-consciousness style of music, but Lemonade is a sophisticated, emotional masterpiece. It’s the bearing of a soul of a black woman, a wife, a mother, and a performer. And it spoke to me on a viscerally level that her previous albums hadn’t.
And after sipping Bey’s lemonade blended with equal parts bitterness, black girl magic and swag, I went swimming in it, going backwards through her discography and old interviews. And I fell in love with the artist, the musician and the perfectionist. What her jaw-dropping VMA performance, in which she re-created Lemonade in a brilliantly staged 16-minute performance, cemented for the umpteenth time is that if Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter decides to do something, she’s 10,000% committed.
If she’s going to be a musician, she will sing flawlessly and go awf with insane choreography. She will give all of herself, personal tragedies and triumphs included, to her music and her fans.
If she’s going to be a visionary, every frame of her performances, every step on the red carpet will be gif-able, tweetable and meme-worthy.
If she’s going to be a feminist, she will amass the ultimate squad of all-female dancers and musicians, and nurture the next generation female artists, visionaries and poets.
If she’s doing to make a statement about the racism and police brutality in America, she will do it unflinchingly, and delve into the unknown corners of history of American slavery and African diaspora. She’ll create charities and donate millions to ventures that enrich the lives of people of color.
And all of that creates an entertainer who slays on the stratospheric levels on par with Michael Jackson and Tina Turner; an entertainer who capes for and inspires black women, and this one in particular.
Between the presidential election, the continuing and intensely volatile racial climate in America and personal issues, 2016 has been a dumpster fire of a year. Last week, I was at a lowpoint
and instead of wallowing, I put on the Lemonade album, and pushed through it (Sidenote: While it's hard to clean the bathroom with your middle fingers up, you can still mop the kitchen floor while crying to "Freedom").
It might not be a diamond-encrusted crown or a man-made island off the coast of Dubai in the shape of Queen B’s enviable figure, but Beyonce will have one more birthday wish from a newly minted member of the Beyhive.