By Gaby Germanos, HCWC Intern
This week’s #WCW is Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. Beyoncé needs no introduction – for the past two decades, she has been making music and visual art that is at once groundbreaking, emotive, catchy, empowering, dance-able, and beautiful, taking over the charts and our hearts (corny, but you know it’s true).
I’ve always been a Beyoncé fan: not a fanatic, not a worshipper, but a fan, someone who enjoys her music and celebrates her success. Since Beyoncé released her surprise self-titled album in 2014, admitting that you don’t lovelovelove her, or even like her, has become a major offense, punishable by ridicule at best and social exile at worst. Some of my friends regularly gush about Beyoncé, and while I do like a lot of her music, I really do, but, much like the hype over Taylor Swift, I never really understood what all the fuss was about.
Until Sunday night.
I watch the Grammy’s every year, but I don’t expect a revelation. This year, I was looking forward to sitting back with some ice cream and enjoying some groovy performances by Bruno Mars and the Weeknd, some of my favorite contemporary mainstream artists. Instead, I was served pure beauty, grace, joy, and power on a golden platter, in the form of Beyoncé, who transformed herself into a literal queen. [If you haven’t watched her performance yet, please do!!]
In that moment, it didn’t matter to what extent I usually enjoyed Beyoncé’s music – of course, her voice sounded impeccable, as it always does, but her performance was more than just a showcase of her musical ability. It was simply awe-inspiring to see a pregnant woman of color onstage who was glorified – no, who glorified herself – and gave off an aura of sheer dominance. She was not an object to be sexualized and consumed. She was a deity, whose simultaneous interwoven strength and vulnerability made me look inside myself to find my inner deity. (Yes, yes, I’m still corny, but it’s all true!)
That night I fell in love, not with Beyoncé the singer/songwriter/producer, but with Beyoncé the goddess.
As I watched her pour her heart out into the music, holding her belly as if it contained the most precious things in the world, I felt hope. Right now, a lot of us are scared and confused about what’s happening in our country and in the world, and we don’t often see clear rays of hope emboldening us to keep pushing forward against the tide. That night, as tears streamed down my face, Beyoncé showed me how to be strong, no matter who or what is trying to undermine me. She showed me that there is hope left, that there are people out there just like her.
To echo Adele – another hardworking, supremely talented woman tackling work and motherhood – Beyoncé should have been awarded more Grammy’s. Lemonade was not only one of the most revolutionary albums of 2016, celebrating Black joy and sharing a multitude of Beyoncé’s experiences as a Black woman, but it was also one of the year’s best-selling albums worldwide. For the Grammy’s to deny her much-deserved awards such as Record of the Year and Album of the Year was absolutely absurd.
But at the end of the day, does it really matter? It’s important for the Grammy’s to honor indie artists as a means of increasing their exposure (more on that in a future blog post), but does Beyoncé really need a a little golden gramophone statue to validate her art? I don’t think so. She has enough gold to last a lifetime.