Last night, I sat silently on the phone with a friend as I watched Beyoncé clock into work. Normally I would have gotten off the phone and logged into my Twitter account to provide commentary about her performance in real time but I didn’t. I simply positioned myself on the couch directly in front of the television, turned my phone on speakerphone, placed it on my lap, pressed mute and prepared myself for the magic that is Beyoncé.
Just like the film’s rendition of Lemonade, Beyoncé popped onto the screen moving to a soundtrack of poetry and spoken word circling around her. As a creative, I have become extremely appreciative of and impressed by Beyoncé’s ability to undeniably tell a story that doesn’t lose itself in her incorporation of visual effects.
In a gold spiked crown that was surely a nod to the depiction of the black Virgin Mary, a very pregnant Beyoncé, went through several different scenes bouncing back and forth from a digital version of herself to the live version of herself.
There is something to be said about anyone who can capture one’s attention in the way that Beyoncé does and I am pleased to see that she has started to use this to her advantage.
In a world that is saturated with things that do not mean much of anything, Beyoncé is surely making you realize that she brings meaning to anything with her name attached to it. Not only that, she is bringing to the forefront the turning of the tide that black people, and more specifically, black women are actively and heavily participating in.
When the pre-recorded version of herself faded and the stage came to life, I immediately noticed that the intentional symbolism of (African) spirituality that she has intertwined in this era’s theme was on display again. To bring a mix of Black Madonna and Ọṣun, the goddess of, amongst other things, beauty, love, and fertility on a stage such as the Grammys was not only was brave but necessary.
We are now living in a world where black people are no longer forcing ourselves to adhere to the standards that were set for us all while reimagining what life for many of us looks like.
I watched her walk barefoot across a table carrying twins to a chair that not only did she sit in, but one that tilted her backward as she sang like it was a walk in the park.
Now, I have no children and obviously can’t get pregnant, however, I had the honor of watching my mom as she carried my little sister and seen first hand just how pregnancy on any level–although beautiful–is a daunting task. For a black woman who already carries the weight of the world on her shoulders, this task is supernatural.
So when I see Beyoncé , a black woman, who has opened up about her miscarriage before the birth of Blue as well as receive the level of backlash that she did before–and especially after–announcing her pregnancy with Blue, still show up pregnant in the form of a consistent slay, how could I not clap for that?
How could I see this and not think about my mother who went to school, worked, often times that didn’t eat, didn’t sleep and went without establishing a life outside of motherhood for myself and my siblings? A woman who didn’t give up even when she wanted to and still showed up for people despite the negative things she knew they were going to say about her?
How could I not see Beyoncé sitting in a chair singing about the weight of love, redemption and reminding us to be grateful for our mothers who, if it had not been for their sacrifice, are the reasons why we are here today?
I have witnessed statements written by people that referred to Beyoncé not being special and it has reminded me just how disconnected people have come to be.
What about a woman who constantly sheds the skin “we” have forced her to wear isn’t special? Have you not met your mother? What about a woman who decides that she will define herself despite what anyone has to say about her isn’t special? Have you not met your mother? What about a woman who works tirelessly to perfect her craft, to stay current, to not lose herself, to be the head, to get slighted all in the face of a crowd that equally loves and can be so quick to judge her is not special? Again, I ask, have you not met your mother?
I write this not as a fan of Beyoncé but as a fan of every woman who hasn’t quite figured out how to show up as Beyoncé has. Women who are constantly trying to figure out their own way of living just as Beyoncé has. I write this for my mother, my grandmother, and her mother and my aunts and my sisters. I write this for every black woman who has never got acknowledged because someone failed to see how special they were.
Also published on Medium.