Correspondence between two passionate Gauchos, whose voice must be heard. We digress...
About two weeks ago my dear friend from college DMay sent me a link. Us being relatively counterpoints to arguments...I find our discourse and dialogue necessary to keep me from being comfortable in my thoughts.
Article in Contention: "Dear Black America, Please Stop Giving Beyonce A Pass On “Formation” by Mbiyimoh Ghogomu from The Higher Learning. Now at first glance I read this article and felt the fluster of NO, HE IS NOT COMING FOR BEY, he's just another NayBey. But after a second read (three reads is always the charm) I realized that my strong Beybias, bare with me for all the Bey on words, needed to take a back seat to be constructive.
Before you go any further please read the aforementioned article.
The article is a close consideration of Beyonce's art released the first end week of February. Ghogomu, denotes he is a casual Destiny's Child fan in collaboration with the number of drinks he has had in a night. The article breaks up different parts of her artistry so in response I will follow suit.
One quote that I could not get past is the one by Jeff Guo.
Ghogomu, mentions this quote from Guo's article from the Washington Post as his first argument. Now with first consideration, I placed myself in what I could prescribe as Ghogomu and Guo mindset. Ghogomu in his article denotes he is a straight male, Guo only denotes he is from Maryland but outside the beltway. From their writing and my research of them as individuals I found that they were men of color. This is important to note as I give accolade to taking the time to give mention to a strong woman of color, however as men of color, we must be mindful when we are to critique them, as we are harsher on our own kind than others.
The delicacy of race can be mishandled easily, I myself being a mixture creole and negro (basically Bey's younger fiercer brother), have found myself with extra effort in the workplace to find understanding among my lighter toned colleagues - I am subconsciously treated different because I am more noticeable, being the only black body in the workplace makes you stand out. With that being said, coddled individuals that don't see race or apologize for bringing up race play into the notion that race topics should be seen and not heard. This is an in-justice to people of color and their experience. However, to survive in the workplace for me and other individuals of color, being ambiguous about race furthers your likability and that parallels to your success.
I have seen it before when race is often brought up as a constant from a person of color. Lighter toned individuals become disinterested in what that person has to say because, 'they are always bringing up race'. So in consideration of Guo's quote to say Beyonce has waited 'until black politics was so undeniably commercial" to make a profit does not sit well with me.
Let me explain. Let's imagine an alternate universe where Beyonce from the start in Destiny's Child happened to be an avid black political force. Where her breadth of artistry reflected that of the movement. Would she be as widely accepted? Would she be asked to come to the Superbowl for a second time to exhibit that artistry? I would argue no, because as manicured as her career has been she has played it safe and secretly donated to Hurricane Katrina survivors amidst other countless philanthropic actions, while still maintaining that ambiguity within her artistry.
I am a fervent believer that art is a means to bring about change, albeit political change. As an artist in my own right the development of my own aesthetic is one that takes time to perfect and align to my true self with correlation to my political self. Beyonce has taken her time to construct a statement to America. This statement that she so eloquently constructed is her true political voice, the silence she kept for those years to explode into Rudolf Guliani's critic of her SuperBowl performance on Fox News or to the fingertips of me writing this blog post. 'Formation' is a catchy tune with a trill beat thats gets a little too repetitive for my liking at the end, but the art and imagery within her music video, her performance at the Superbowl is necessary to withhold the topic of race inequities in America. Her actions at the beginning of February have reached so many individuals that otherwise avoid topics such as these. It is important to recognize her strategy, applaud her efforts, and encourage our artist to be our voice.
PS. I do agree that Bey and Jay's music does not align with what I can afford on the day to day as I can dream one day to own a Givenchy dress.