Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My response to Professor Cashmore....

Hello, everyone. It's been a while since I've done another entry and I have to say that a lot of things have happened-interesting things-since then. Lately, there have been a variety of positive blog posts concerning "The Queen" and it goes to show that she's missed and that her name rings bells even when she's on her slumber. Today, I want to respond an article that I came across on a blog. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2010/08/prweb4360434.htm

It was also posted on Bwboard.net and I am surprised there weren't a lot of pages concerning the topic. Let me say, it's a good article. It gives her due as a force in her craft and in popular society. I do get his overall point, though I feel feel that it takes it a bit too far and provokes discussions that drift off the point that he is making. I will speak on that in this entry.

I am a "stan", especially concerning her music, but I grasp that she's more than her music and performing. All pop stars are. Yet in that dynamic, it's amazing how well-respected Beyoncé across the board in the industry. Though her musical audience is in the 18-30 year old range, she has fans of all ages, genders, sexual preferences, religions, cultures, and etc. Being a black female pop star and having that kind of impact on pop culture is a wonderful thing to see. Yet one of the things that I believe that articles like his lack is expressing how hard it is to be in that position.

For one, at times, her artistic credibility and integrity get called into question. Not from her peers who know the blood, sweat and tears that she pours into what she does. I'm speaking of those who think it's cool or profitable to attack her, to play off those who get their kicks out of negativity and criticism. In the blog that I was in, the author of it and numerous other posters spent over 100 comments(in a 200 comment thread) criticizing and debating her looks and her "using" them to appeal to a broader audience than artists whose looks can't access that appeal.

Yes, image is important in mainstream entertainment and mon-mainstream as well, and it's paramount to note that, yes Beyoncé's image does appeal to pop culture. However, note that this is only one part of the appeal that makes Beyoncé, Beyoncé. The thing that allows her to have the enduring power that she has is her talent and her passion for her work. Not to mention, for a pop star, she makes a conscious effort to the put the focus on her work. To be professional in everything that she does. Across the board, that's what we hear when others speak on her in the industry. To "Buy into Beyoncé", is appreciate this about her. Without that, she's another disposable face who has little to no impact on the industry or pop culture.

Also, he said that with her success, it opens the door for racist to use her as an example to give the impression that racism is over. The fact that this is a discussion shows that racism will always be an issue and no celeb or powerful figure in society will change or abolish it. I do see his point, especially considering that she comes from an upper middle class family with both of her parents actively raising her, even helping her be successful in her craft. Make no mistake, this is inspirational and relatable. Yet, that doesn't exclude her from backlash and many times, vile hatred toward her. Far from it.

From whites and blacks alike. Some whites hate because they want their own to rule the pop world and will not acknowledge the dynamics of racism in the mainstream media. Some blacks hate because they want her to fully respresent them and since many black families are fractured so she's not relatable to some of them. Now I am not one to call everything racism or to dwell on it, truthfully speaking, she is more polarizing in colorism and sexism than racism.

I spoke of the debate of the blogger and the posters about her looks. It was vile. Discussions of plastic surgery on her nose(Rihanna was brought up also) to make her look "European"(not all Europeans have small noses btw). Attacks on her wearing blonde hair, especially the weaves(it's 2010, people!!!) and even her getting tans to give off "The Tanned White Woman" look. *blank-stare*. It's usually black women who go there. Not to say all black women hate on her. Far from it. But when these discussions take place, it is coming from that place and it reveals their insecurities because in their mind, the media "prop" her up on this pedastal, as the ideal of "The Beautiful Black Woman", and it's because she's light-skinned. Colorism at its finest. Then you have those who loves to criticize her stage image, complaining about how she uses sexuality as a crutch because that's all she has to offer as an artist and performer. Sexism at its finest. Convient sexism at that, forgetting countless performances that showcase nothing but her voice and her music.

Now to be fair, I loved how Professor Cashmore used one of her iconic moments of her career, a performance that showcased her vocal talents to show her impact on pop culture. It's great to see the academics recognize all that she brings to the table. That talent endures further any dream that Professor Cashmore speaks of as Beyoncé's enduring appeal. With casual fans, they might focus on her image and "relatability", and as a pop star, that's the reality and lane that has to be navigated. However, with her major fans which are legion in number, appreciate her gift; her God-given talent combined with hard work, the only real thing that a great entertainer needs.

At the end of the day, this is all that matters. Speaking for myself, all she needs her voice, great music and to perform heart out and I am a fan for life. In that sense, her talent goes beyond her gender, race, background, religion and etc. That's the Beyoncé, I "buy" into and I can safely say that there are millions who agree with me. Thank you for reading this entry and I hope all of you enjoyed it.

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