So this is a bit of a Beyonce overload after having written about the drama surrounding Beyonce's Grammy sweep, but I couldn't help but point this article out by Ian O'Doherty of Ireland's The Independent newspaper regarding Beyonce and her race games.
The virtual clean sweep enjoyed by Beyonce at the Grammys was proof of one thing -- modern music is in bad shape.
Okay, a white, 30-something Irish bloke probably isn't the exact target market for a black woman who purveys a blend of soulless, poptastic R&B and while, in fairness, some of her songs are infuriatingly catchy, let's get real -- we're not exactly talking about Ella Fitzgerald here.
But she seems like a pleasant enough modern pop creation who is careful not to say anything that would alienate her fanbase.
So, you would think that after her success at the Grammys, she is an inspiration to black women. But you would be wrong. And quite possibly a racist as well.
Beyonce had blonde hair at the awards and this prompted black commentator Teshima Walker of National Public Radio to fume: "I know that blonde hair is associated with white women and beauty. I saw how men respond to girls and women with golden hair ... But now I think maybe black stars should help African-American women release the hold that blonde hair has had on us."
Hmmm....Definite food for thought. I would say that the clean sweep by Taylor Swift AND Beyonce at the Grammy's indicates that the music industry, and pop culture consuming society, is in trouble. Period. And for an "Irish bloke" he seems to have hit the nail on the head. He's not saying anything most of the black intelligentsia in these blog streets hasn't been saying for years now. Welcome to the party, Ian!
Her R&B is soulless because she herself cannot figure out, like Mariah these days, which part of the racial spectrum she wants to pander to. Ella Fitzgerald, at least not to me, wasn't trying to pander to a soul. She brought it. Back then, if you were of any other race listening to "Negro" music, it was what it was. You either were down or you weren't. Because back then, you could be openly for or against anything black. Black artists didn't have to worry about pandering. They were singing, and if someone of another race wanted to take a listen, it was what it was. I already talked about this in my post earlier today. Looking at black music from 10 to 20 years ago, to today, you see a big difference. Black artists no longer want to seem "too black" because the money won't be there if they do. They are not content with getting money from a small demographic. They want it all. It's not like they can't put out something akin to "Weak" by SWV and say "fuck it." They just won't because they are afraid of the response. Hence, the music became soulless because only half of their soul is in it.
This is not to say that white people cannot handle good r&b, but the generation of kids coming up these days, black and white, don't know how to handle "soul" because most of them don't have it. Years of commercialism, materialism, idiocy and all that other bullshit will do that to you. But I digress....
Do I think Beyonce is a race traitor? I don't know. That would depend on whether or not she actually feels she is black or anything of the sort. Do I think that she is a major, if not the GREATEST, purveyor of bullshit Eurocentric beauty standards and fuckery to black women and girls? You damned skippy. That in and of itself makes her a race traitor to some. For me, it definitely makes her a bit greedy and a bit irresponsible.
I'm not surprised that Mr. O'Doherty said something. If you go through the comments on blogs that pander to a mostly white audience (Perez Hilton, Just Jared, DListed, et al), you're going to see that the younger white audience is tired of her and her "beauty standards." I see complaints about her weave, complaints about her usurping the "saint" Lady Gaga (or trying to be her). Is it any surprise that Taylor's wins made more press?
Beyonce has always made most of her fanbase love and envy her, and because of that conundrum, she is loved and hated. Beyonce has made big money making black women (and men) wish they could be like her or have her. For the longest time, Beyonce was the rule that black women should strive to become. She was the ideal that black women needed to fit. She did nothing to temper that. She made beaucoup bucks off of it. The jury is still out for me. Maybe you guys' thoughts could help me make my mind up.
Is Beyonce a race traitor?