Almost a year ago, I wrote a little piece for the website TotalSororityMove.com entitled, “True Life: I Don’t Like Beyoncé.” I knew writing it would piss some people off, but to be honest, I didn’t really care that much. I was torn between writing that piece or “I Don’t Like The Kardashians” but was told that not liking Beyoncé was a bigger deal — so naturally that was the one I should write. Because the truth is, I didn’t like Beyoncé so, like most things in my life, I wrote about it.
When I wrote that piece about her, she wasn’t as big as she is now. Actually no, that’s not right. She was big, but it wasn’t for the same reasons. She was coming out with, what the kids would call “bangers” and in the eyes of the media, she could do no wrong. People were *obsessed,* but she wasn’t quite as vocal (or visual) about social issues. She was a very (very, very, very) famous singer and most people loved her. It just so happened, however, that I did not. I had nothing really against her. Hell, I’d even nod my head along to the occasional song. But like her? To the point where I’d fawn all over her, buy her music, or go to her concert? Nah. She just wasn’t for me.
And as I mentioned — people. were. pissed. It wasn’t unexpected and the influx of bee emojis was nothing I couldn’t handle. But thanks the outrage, the piece did really, really well. So naturally, when Beyoncé started trending again last week, we shared the column on social media because you know. That’s how publications and businesses work. This time, there was even more outrage. But it took a crazy, crazy turn.
— finessa williams (@elenaflorr) April 28, 2016
@yeah_okay_what Where are you articles about all the white artists you don't like though? Why just Beyoncé?
— eris mourn. (@jessicaxcii) April 27, 2016
@yeah_okay_what yo this article reeks of white feminism
— ☆genevieve☆ (@genevievekotz) April 27, 2016
— Ali Hooke (@alihooke) April 26, 2016
— pursuit ofthe groove (@nicoleebryan) April 26, 2016
And that’s just a teeny tiny sample. Now before I piss even more people off — and trust me, I will — let me take a second to rewind and explain a bit. In my original piece (again, published almost a year ago), Beyoncé was an artist that had an almost cult-like following (yes, the Beyhive came after me then too) but not about all of the same content. I said women should look up to people who were “fighting the good fight” like Amy Schumer, Tina Fey, and myself (jokes. I was making a joke). But, of course, that didn’t go over well this time. Why? Because the women I mentioned were white.
To be totally honest, I was fucking floored. I couldn’t believe this was turning into a race issue. Why did I use these two women as an example? First of all, I write for a comedy website. I find humor to be the most effective method of getting your point across, that’s why I made a career out of it. So, naturally, I relate most to female comediennes. And at the time, Amy Schumer was killin’ it with calling out sexism, ageism, and body shaming in basically everything she did. And Tina Fey, well she’s been doing that since before we were born.
The published date of that video on Youtube was, you guessed it, April 22, 2015. Almost exactly a year ago. So why did I choose these women as examples? Because they were the ones speaking out about important female issues. And the “myself” part was, you guessed it, a joke.
So fast forward a year. We have Beyoncé who is bigger than ever coming out with one of the most groundbreaking visual albums, according to every publication and basic girl on the internet. Ready for the kicker? I totally get it. She covers a lot of issues in there that are relatable as hell to her audience. She’s doing exactly what a performer should do. Using her voice to speak out for what she believes and doing everything she can to get as many eyes as possible on her. Does that mean some of the points in “Lemonade” were a PR stunt? No. Does that mean that they weren’t? Also, no. Does that mean it wasn’t visually exciting, emotional, or totally moving and life-changing for some people. No, of course not. But that’s not the point.
The point is — even after being called “Becky” and a privileged white girl, after being degraded and disrespected and having my feeds flooded with lemon emojis (I liked the switch up, btw) I still don’t like Beyoncé. Not because I’m jealous (because me being jealous of Beyoncé is like a piece of fucking dust being jealous of a mountain. It doesn’t make sense) and not because I don’t understand her has an artist.
I don’t like her because I just don’t adore her music and I just don’t adore her. It’s really that simple.
I don’t love current music (despite what some folks on Twitter said, I’m actually not *in love* with Taylor swift) and her music isn’t what I gravitate towards. I don’t love the way fans act like she can do no wrong, and I don’t necessarily love the way it seems like she thinks she can do no wrong. That’s her shtick. Her brand. And I respect it, but that doesn’t mean I have to love her. And the fact that people get so offended, so victimized, so bitter about it makes me worry even more for our generation.
Beyoncé is a person. A human. A musician. And I, for one, just don’t flock to her the way I do to The Beatles. I don’t idolize her the way I idolize Amy Schumer and Mindy Kaling. And I don’t attack people for loving her (even in my original piece, I said I understand if you love her), the way people attack me for not loving her.
Because the point of music is to bring people together. And the message Beyoncé is trying to get across isn’t that you should be fucking horrible to people who don’t love her. And if you think that’s the message, maybe you should reevaluate what you’re idolizing. And maybe you need to take a good hard look at yourself. If someone not enjoying the same music as you is a reason to be horrible, then you’re not someone Beyoncé would be proud of either. Not adoring someone doesn’t mean it’s about race. The fact that people think it DOES have to do with race is more upsetting than all of the death threats, hate mail, and bee emojis I have received combined. It might just mean that I don’t think her music is all that great. You know. The beats. The melody. The use of instruments.
Calling me a “white feminist” who doesn’t understand won’t make me like Beyoncé any more. But it will make me question our society a little more.
Because the fact that it turns into a race issue isn’t just wrong, it’s disturbing. As someone who loves comedians and musicians and people of all races, genders, and sexualities, seeing some Beyoncé fans get so aggressive about Beyoncé is upsetting. Equality is about just that — being equal. Viewing an artist for her music, not her race, and saying “yeah she’s just not for me” doesn’t make someone a racist. And claiming it does only sets society back even further. Hell, that fact that I have to say that is absolutely absurd. We can’t live in a world where everyone has to be the same. If we all liked the same music, the same movies, the same comedians, it would be a very dull place. We need people to disagree. We need people to like other things, to pay attention to other things, to enjoy other things if we ever hope to grow.
But what we don’t need? Disrespect for other peoples’ opinion. If you love Beyoncé, great! Finding a musician you love and can relate to is one of the best, most therapeutic feelings in the world. But if you don’t love her? Well, that’s okay too. It’s fine to not adore a musician, just because the internet says it what’s you need to do. And anyone who has a problem with that — anyone who takes it as something other than not enjoying her music — well, you can happily go fuck yourselves. Enjoy your Beyoncé bangers. I’ll be over here, still not being obsessed with her, and still being entitled to my own opinion about music..