I’m unashamed to admit that I legitimately researched “what to expect at a Beyoncé concert” the morning before I attended Queen Bey’s show. Given the plethora of documentation, which nonchalantly, but sincerely deemed The Beyoncé Concert Experience as “spiritual” and “life changing,” I was fully prepared for Beysus to take me to church.
The Mrs. Carter Show was absolutely incredible. I couldn’t help but scream as each of Beyoncé’s songs began – songs that have demarcated stages of my life since I first heard Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name” when I was in the 4th grade. Her live renditions were so powerful that I was almost startled by the raw, gritty quality that often accompanied her vocals. And then there’s the sweet side of Bey who sang “Happy Birthday” to a hysterical fan in the audience, and who emanated a sincere sense of gratitude every time she addressed the crowd. Throw in a fierce, all-female band, a bevy of sequined bodysuits, and diva-licious dance moves, and you’ve got a show that is seriously glorious.
My “life changing” epiphany occurred to me after consuming Beyoncé’s self-titled visual album, Beyoncé. It’s undeniably explicit; The first song that I obsessively played on repeat (“Rocket”) begins with “Let me sit this ass/On you,” and the second song that I obsessively played on repeat (“Partition”) flaunts Bey in a stereotypically submissive position—on her knees. Beyoncé’s crawling, gyrating, booty poppin’, and nearly-naked body is the highlight of the majority of the album’s videos.
The dichotomy between crass hyper-sexuality and chaste righteousness in the feminist landscape is something that has long interested me, so much so that my senior thesis explored Nicki Minaj’s role in mainstream hip-hop. In a nutshell, I concluded that Minaj was able to re-appropriate sexist and derogatory stereotypes to her advantage, starting to mold the discourse of women’s roles in a male dominated culture.
But of course, my girl Bey doesn’t just figure out how to be a bad bitch in a man’s world—she completely dismantles these oppressive narratives altogether by asserting that women can have it all. You can be a mother, have a wildly successful career, thrive in a loving relationship, and be incredibly sexy all at the same time. And, you do that in the world that you create for yourself.
Needless to say, I love Beyoncé—for being unapologetically bootylicious, and for composing anthems that remind me that I can do the same.