The past week there has been a big discussion about Beyoncé. Not only about her new song Formation but also about her basically stealing the Superbowl Half-Time Show away from Coldplay. Now whether you like the song or the performance isn’t relevant here. What is relevant is the fact that the discussion took a bad turn when white people said Beyoncé used the half-time show as a political statement and that it was not the place to do such things. But had she pranced around in a Star-sprangled banner flag, yelling how amazing America is, you would not have heard anybody complain. But B used her art to bring a sensitive topic to the attention of the world and that is something that is always a risky endeavor.
Am I a fan of the song? No, I prefer other Beyoncé songs.
Was I impressed with the half-time show? No, I thought it wasn’t as good as previous years, but that has nothing to do with Beyoncé’s message. The whole thing was rather dull.
Does it matter that I’m not a fan of both things? No, it doesn’t matter at all because neither the song or the performance was meant for me.
This is not Beyoncé empowering women to be strong and take the lead. This is Beyoncé celebrating that she is black and empowering the black community and black women. And I have nothing to do with that because I am white. And naturally there are white people who claim that they are not racist and that not all white people are bad, but do the impossible for a moment and put yourselves in the shoes of black people. If it weren’t for our anchestors, Beyoncé wouldn’t even have to be singing this song. If it weren’t for the fact that there are still many cases of racism against black people everywhere in the world, Beyoncé wouldn’t even have to be singing this song. If it weren’t for the fact that chances are a black person gets shot by police for no reason at all, while a white person would walk in the same situation, Beyoncé wouldn’t even have to be singing this song.
And I am not going to say that I understand why the black community is angry. Because that would be the greatest insult I could make. I only know what it is like to be discriminated based on my gender. But that is in no way comparable to what it is like to be discriminated based on the colour of your skin. I realise that I will never understand because I know that I am priviliged based on the fact that my skin is pale. I can only say that I support the fact that Black people take back their lives and take back their legacies. That doesn’t make me their ally, because that would insinuate that they’d need me to do so. And they don’t. It’s simple as that. So for this one, I am up in the bleachers.
For too long the white community believed that every entertainment exists to entertain us. We believed that we could take black culture and make it our own, instead of appreciating it from afar. And naturally it is understandable that this change is shocking to some people. I think that it is an amazing thing that Beyoncé, a black woman who conquered an industry dominated by white people, uses her art and her power to convey such a strong message. And I think that it is time that the white community opened up their eyes to realise what is truly going on. I think that Beyoncé has started a revolution through music, which is one of the most powerful tools to do so.
I don’t think that I will live to see the day, but I hope that my children will someday live in a world in which this shouldn’t even be an issue. Where everybody, regardless of gender, race and sexuality can live together as equals. Perhaps it is a utopia but if we don’t believe in such dreams, then what are we all fighting for?