Artist of the Week: Beyonce- How Beyonce Ignites An Uncomfortable, Much Needed Conversation

beyonceA year ago Beyonce released her visual, self-titled album “Beyonce” that brought joy to all of her fans around the world. This was her 5th album and in my opinion, her best. To be honest, this album allowed me to see another side of Beyonce that I did not know existed. In her prior album, “4” I knew that she was beginning to evolve, change as an artist, and show us a new side of herself. She posed on the cover of “4” with a slimmed down figure that mirrored a pose we would see in Vogue. The photo on her “4” album made it apparent that Beyonce was not going to be the type of artist that blows up, rests on her previous fame and has random features on up and coming artists’ tracks . It was clear that she had something to say and the world was going to listen.

When Beyonce released “4” I was 19-years-old and in my second year of college.  I was listening to the album while riding in a car with my then boyfriend’s older sister in San Jose, CA. We were leaving the grocery store on a cool, sunny day and I asked what she thought of the new album. Her response was, “I really like it, she seems very grown up in this album.” I believe that was the perfect response and I totally agreed. Of course, Beyonce has always displayed herself in a light that was grown up and mature… but the content in this album was obviously different from her previous.

When Beyonce  surprised her fans and the world with “Beyonce” in December, 2013 I was absolutely shocked and wondered what my ex-boyfriend’s sister would say about the album. When Beyonce released the 14-track, visual album I saw a new side of her, a more human side. Yes, Beyonce is absolutely amazing and I would be honored to even be in the same room as her but this album made her even more relatable. For example, in the song “Mine” ft. Drake, she talks about how all she really wants is him (not Drake particularly- probably Jay-Z) and that HE is HERS. Don’t we all feel this way when in a relationship? Let’s be honest. Prior to this album my opinion of Beyonce was that she was totally competent, confident and comfortable in her own skin and had Jay-Z wrapped around her finger (draped in diamonds). The way most woman want to appear to the world. The song “Jealous” made it even more apparent that even SHE gets jealous. I know, I know, not everything artists sing about is reflective of how they actually feel, but this album was way too honest and real. Not too honest and real in a bad way, but in a completely liberating and tasteful way. It’s almost as if she took the limitations off of what people expected from her and let the world see her how she really and is and for who she is. Whether it’s the person she has always been or it was who she became, it was great to see her in a new light.

Some say that the “Beyonce” album was too explicit and that we should take into consideration that her message and lyrics influence young girls and young adults that look up to her.  I do agree with the fact that she influences so many people. Depending on your point of view, her lyrics and music may influence you negatively or positively. At one point, I perceived Beyonce’s lyrics and music to negatively influence people. At one point I thought she had gone too far. But let’s be honest here, she is human and has a right to come into her own and be who she is the same way we all are allowed to. Her “Beyonce” album and recently released mini-documentary “Yours And Mine” further prove that Beyonce is constantly learning who she is just like every other woman around the world. In the mini-documentary Beyonce says, “You can’t put your finger on who I am. I can’t put my finger on who I am. I am complicated.” This statement alone is why I absolutely adore and love Beyonce as an artist. Her ability to say that she doesn’t exactly know who she is and is still learning that is very admirable. In fact, I believe that if more women with influence and power were open and honest about their struggles, we would provoke more honest conversations among one another. In the mini-documentary she also says, “But i’m no longer afraid of conflict and I don’t think conflict is a bad thing.” If we were all unafraid of being disliked for sharing our perspective, our feelings, and our stance on something we could bring tremendous solutions to the problems we face in our individual lives and in the world. As much as you may disagree with Beyonce’s artistry and messages, allow yourself to see the importance of her message to her fans and the world to not be afraid of conflict. Her message of not being afraid of the unknown and to risk being disliked for voicing your opinion is a message that the youth needs to hear and should influence the youth. In today’s world we have been told to edit what we say. Yes, we should take the feelings of others into consideration when we speak, but we cannot be afraid of uncomfortable and awkward discussions that lead to solutions for many people. In light of the painfully honest discussions and many protests taking place in America at the moment, now is the time to learn. Now is the time to bring up conversations and charter into unknown territory to learn more about ourselves, those around us and the world we live in, even if it means going into the unknown. With this honesty we can make the world a more beautiful place for those that are unheard and for those that come after us.

Until Next Time,

Camille

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