Bow Down for Beyonce? I don’t think so

Beyonce in the promo for her new tour.

Beyonce in the promo for her new tour.

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Dear Beyonce,

This is the second time I’ve taken to writing to you through the medium of the Derry Journal.

Once again I know that as this year has kicked off with a bang for you - a wonderful Superbowl performance, singing at the inauguration of your good friend Mr Barack Obama and the launch of a worldwide tour - you may be looking for a little guidance.

And I know, sure who else would you look to for guidance other than that girl that writes for the newspaper back in Derry?

Now, it goes without saying that I am a big fan. Like a crazy, big think-you-are-just-amazeballs fan. I’ve liked you for years and when I’ve a wee drink in me in the house on a Saturday night I have been known to play YouTube karaoke to your greatest hits. (I’m not great at the old dance moves and my version of ‘Irreplaceable’ is fairly tragic but what I lack in talent I make up for in enthusiasm).

Just about everyone I know knows that you are my girl crush - and that when tickets went on sale for your tour earlier this year I was like a cat on a hot tin roof, shaking by the computer until I secured tickets in the pre-sale.

Yes, I felt a little uneasy that you were, essentially, naming your tour after your husband. The Mrs Carter Tour all sounds grand as a declaration of love for your beloved JayZ, but I would hazard a guess that the majority of your fans aren’t following you because of your relationship with him.

For me, it was your strong and powerful message that women can be successful on their own merits. It was the shouting, anthem style about being an independent woman. It was singing (to the left, to the left) that no man is irreplaceable. And it was most definitely that power ballad from Dream Girls where you sang with such power about finding your own voice - and not the voice given to you by others.

Such lyrics, coupled with such dynamic performances where you have been true to who you are, are what have garnered you a legion of fans. It’s quite impressive, missus. You’ve done well. As we would say in this part of the world more power to your elbow.

And you’re clearly very happy with your man. Sure you are always mooning over each other in the papers and showing off that very beautiful baby of yours. That’s great that you have that - honestly.

But to name your tour after him? What message is that giving out to your legion of fans? The man maketh the woman?

You are nothing without him? I’m all for notions of romantic love and all but in these circumstances, stand on your own two feet.

Which, I suppose, brings me to the crux of the matter.

We got a wee snippet of your new song on Monday. I was so excited - I had to surreptitiously sneak on my headphones at my desk to have a wee listen in. I’m not sure what I was expecting - perhaps something with the same life affirming, aren’t we all just gorgeous message as ‘Bootylicious’ or the smooth, sultry sounds of ‘If I Were a Boy’.

What I did not expect, Beyonce, my friend, was an invitation to “Bow Down B*tches”.

The snippet of the “song” (and I don’t want to come across all middle aged and boring, but really, is this music? Does this have the same flow as your other better loved hits?) posted on line with a picture of you, as a child, looking a bit obnoxious, surrounded by your childhood trophies.

The lyrics, how we wanted to be in your world and how we should ‘bow down’ and that we (I assume the song is directed to your fans) are b*tches made me feel uneasy to say the least.

Now I know some people use words like b*tch ironically - you know, it’s cool to call people names, it means you are friends - but this doesn’t feel like that.

I don’t tell my friends to ‘Bow Down’ in front of me. If I did, I’m telling you now I would get a thick ear.

It’s not a message of female empowerment is it? I mean calling women ‘b*tches’ - it’s not very supportive. It’s not very becoming. In fact, it’s just rather offensive and I admit it (I’m adopting my most serious mammy look here) I’m a little disappointed in you.

I quite liked the fact that you were a very positive role model for women. Although my daughter is still very young, I imagined letting her listen to your music and sing along and yes, feeling empowered too. I wanted to use you as an example of a strong, powerful woman who made her way in the world without stepping on others.

But to see you speak of other women in these terms, well it’s, frankly, a bit rubbish. And while I will still go and see you in concert in May because I’m not that thran, could you maybe tone it down a wee tad?

You know, it doesn’t cost anything to be nice. (And even if it did, let’s face it, you could afford it).

Millions of women are watching you and depending on you to fly the flag for strong, independent women everywhere.

Please don’t let us down!

Much love,

Claire.