for and against / Beyoncé3 March 2015
FOR: Laura Foo
Question – how does one even begin to describe the perfection that is Beyoncé? In theory, the ‘for’ argument for Beyoncé should be the easiest piece to write in the world. It seems to be an axiom, if you will, that one is ‘for’ Beyoncé. In reality though, I’m having more trouble than I expected.
A not-so-quick YouTube marathon of Yoncé’s entire discography (for ‘research’, of course) seems a good place to start; I mean, I could leave the link to the ‘Crazy in Love’ video right here to prove my point and end it at that. Her extraterrestrial ability to belt out tunes and slay flawless-as-fuck choreography, all while dressed in a fully rhinestoned freakum dress and a two-metre weave is positively unparalleled.
But it’s not just her undeniable vocal and performance talent – Beyoncé can serenade thousands with ‘Halo’ one minute, and launch straight into the grueling ‘Single Ladies’ choreography the next, without so much as a breath in between. No, it’s not even just that a humble girl from Houston grew up to be an independent woman with a net worth of $250 million, and be the #1 most influential celebrity in 2014, according to Forbes. No, that doesn’t even scratch the surface.
Listen, maybe it’s her 20 Grammy wins, or 52 nominations. Could be her extensive philanthropic work, or the fact that she never seems to age/lose her bootylicious-ness (if you don’t know what that means, you should look it up in the dictionary – it’s there). Or that time she dropped a full visual album out of nowhere and it rocketed to number one on the Billboard charts, becoming her fifth consecutive number-one album.
I think her icon status extends much further than all of this. She’s a mother, artist, businesswoman, feminist, legendary diva (without the ego) and a fashion icon; elusive and private (see: Vogue’s September 2015 cover sans interview, cue: Anna Wintour having a ‘moment’), yet still strangely familiar. Everyone wants to bey her, or bey with her. She is a glittering beacon of every quality any human being has ever aspired to possess.
In years to come, they will ponder the origins of #flawless and #iwokeuplikedis, and it will be our responsibility as the #BeyGen to point them in the direction of her irreplaceable talent, and her badass, sassy Instagram posts, and tell them to add #surfboard on that selfie. Such is her enduring relevance.
Bow down, bitches. Long live Queen Bey. *crown emoji and bee emoji* xo
AGAINST: Harvey Duckett
A spectre is haunting Australia, Europe, and indeed, the entire world. Actually, make that a ‘Ghost’ – that being but one of many songs in Beyoncé’s nefarious arsenal, which, over the past decade, has been unrelentingly imposed upon an unsuspecting, unquestioning fan base.
Be warned, Yoncé acolytes: Knowles is the nebulous hegemon of our times. Her barrage of repetitious songs which frankly, are terribly named – ‘Beautiful Liar’, ‘Broken Hearted’, and ‘Upgrade U’ sound more like bylines from a twelve year old’s tear-soaked diary – surely play their part in the pernicious ‘dumbing-down’ of culture that plagues our society.
But that’s not to say that Beyoncé herself is clueless: far from it. Ever since her explosive departure from Destiny’s Child (a morally reprehensible crime in and of itself) she has been ingratiating herself into all corners of our lives with alarming speed and oh-so-cool, calculated purpose. In 2006, the Oxford English Dictionary reified ‘Bootylicious’; University courses dedicated to studying her and her music have been incepted; and perhaps most menacingly, Elenberg Fraser has conceded her latest architectural venture, Melbourne’s soon-to-be monolithic skyscraper Premier Tower, was directly inspired by the musical megastar’s body/booty. Like the namesake of her child, Knowles has grown expansively around the building blocks of our society, taking root in every corner and crevice. Were he around today, Foucault would be going more schitz than Beyoncé in the ‘Raise the Alarm’ film clip: we are all living in the House of Bey.
What’s Knowles’ endgame in all this, you ask? In two words: world domination. Having culturally lobotomised her fans with anaesthetically uninspiring song titles and lyrics, as well as her incessant talk of being ‘blessed’, the songstress has created the perfect preconditions for a total, paradigm-shifting overhaul of the world, with 99 per cent of the populace too docile, too Drunk in Love, to resist such change.
Such is Beyoncé’s contempt for the capacity of her besotted audience to see her true colours, that she has fearlessly peppered her musical oeuvre with clues. ‘***Flawless’? The asterisks are obviously a nod to her desire for total historical and social revisionism. ‘If I Were a Boy’? A forewarning of her move to delegitimise gender. Perhaps her most brazen display of what is to come is in ‘Run the World’. ‘Who run the world? Girls!’ Beyonce hollers, the song’s pretext of feminism belied by the fact that she, and she alone, takes centre stage, gratuitously advancing her own self-interest as she gyrates ferociously around scenes of conflagration and urban decay – motifs celebrating the inevitable destruction of the world as we know it, should Knowles get what she wants.
I, for one, don’t want to live in a world run by Beyoncé – a world where all children are mandatorily named after primary colours and/or foliage. But it may already be too late. You think this is conspiratorial hodgepodge, an outcome of my inability to think of any legitimate grounds on which to fault Beyoncé? So be it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Image Source: Google Images (re-imaged by Farrago)