Friday, May 9, 2014

Media Response: “bell hooks Calls Beyoncé a Terrorist”

Just a bit of background info before I start: bell hooks (punctuation omitted purposefully) is an African-American author, activist and well-known feminist. One of her most famous works, Feminism is for Everybody, digresses on how the women’s movement for equality isn’t just for die-hard, rebel feminists.

So, first of all, let me say: I am by no means a Beyoncé stan. I think her music is catchy and highly marketable, but that’s about the extent of our auditory relationship. I think blogger Curls 4D Gurls said it best in her article "Bey is for Basic" : “Beyoncé is Queen Bey….of the Basics. She is easily one of the most basic women in the history of the music industry. People give Beyoncé credit for a lot of things that I don’t think she herself has much to do with. She isn’t very deep, as a matter of fact I would venture to say she could be shallow. There’s not much there.” Welp.

Now that the proverbial elephant has been addressed, let me also make myself even further transparent: I am not here to bash Blue Ivy’s mom. I want to make clear that bell hooks damn well may be on to something. You know that older relative we have that knows what everyone is thinking—that super rude or shady comment—but has the nerve to say it anyway? Well bell hooks deserves the biggest literary award I can think of for her most current over-the-top, borderline Marxist comment. She further stole my heart with four little words: “Beyoncé is a terrorist.” hooks made her assertion at a discussion entitled “Are You Still a Slave?” at the New School in New York, featuring fellow feminists Janet Mock, Shola Lynch and Marci Blackman.

Sensationalist? YES. Probably making everyone uncomfortable in her unflinching convictions? ABSOLUTELY. That’s why I love it.

The reasons on why people abhor the singer run the gamut. She’s beautiful, she (supposedly) pushed out this human being and was back to her banging figure in a matter of weeks, she’s beautiful, her face is quite literally plastered everywhere (I’m still waiting for her visage to be marketed on urinal cakes)…etc. However, hooks has a LEGIT REASON: she’s poisoning the minds of our future little feminists. While “Run the World (Girls)” had a lovely, flowery message of women’s empowerment, it was contradictory in portrayal:

·         If you’re “raising a glass for the college grads,” it’d be awesome if you didn’t refer to me as a girl. “Woman” suits me just fine;

·         The lyrics portray women just as history does: sneaky beings who use the art of seduction and sexual connotation to gain power/money while simultaneously bashing men. With lyrics like “Some men think they freak this like we do but no they don’t” and “see, you better not play me oh come here baby, Hope you still like me, F' you pay me.”

hooks goes on to defend her stance related to Beyonce's mostrecent photo on the cover of TIMEMagazine: “Let’s take the image of this super-rich, very powerful black female and let’s use it in the service of imperialist, white supremacist capitalist patriarchy because she probably had very little control over that cover—that image.”

Feel free to read the article on bell's comments and views in their entirety here.