Unless you live under a rock in a remote part of the Amazonian rain forest, you’ve heard about Beyonce‘s new self-tilted album, which she released to the internet’s great joy and surprise last week. In addition to the crazy elation everyone felt over new Bey songs and videos, there’s been endless discussions about the album’s content and imagery, especially in relation to feminism.
And Bey knows it. Like the marketing genius she is, Bey’s releasing a series of clips on YouTube, explaining her thought process and motivations behind the album. “Self-Titled Part 2: Imperfection,” released last night, gives us serious insight into some of the most talked-about aspects of Beyonce, including the inclusion of Chimamanda Adichie‘s voiceover in “Flawless” and the song “Pretty Hurts,” an intense indictment of beauty culture.
In the past, Bey’s called herself a “modern-day feminist.” In the video monologue, she doesn’t actually call herself a feminist using the word “feminist,” but it’s clear that she’s trying to make a feminist statement with her album.
“I was scrolling through videos about feminism on YouTube and I ran across this video of this incredible Nigerian author Chimamanda Achidie. Everything she said is exactly how I feel.”
OMG. Honestly, even though I am a feminist, I get so tired of the constant discussion around (and policing of) who is or isn’t a feminist, or who is or isn’t being a feminist in the “correct” way. But I still get a little thrill imagining Beyonce, one of the most popular and influential female entertainers of all time, just sitting around and looking up feminism on YouTube. Beyonce is clearly allying herself with the terminology and with the ideas of feminism. There is power is that. It means something, and will continue to mean something, to women, both those who proudly call themselves feminists and those who do not.
She also says that her message behind the album was “finding the beauty in imperfection.” Showing footage from her appearance on Star Search at age 9 and talking about all the trophies she won as a child and all the regret she feels about how she spent her childhood, Queen Bey says:
“I had this image of this trophy and me accepting these awards and kind of training myself to be this champion and at the end of the day when you go through all of these things, is it worth it? I mean you get this trophy, and you’re like, ‘I basically starved, I have neglected all of the people that I love, I have conformed to what everyone else thinks I should be, and I have this trophy. What does that mean?’”
Damn girl. Preach. I love that Beyonce thinks critically about her life as an entertainer and celebrity and I love that she shares that critical viewpoint with her audience. She continues:
“The trophy represents al of the sacrifices I’ve made as a kid. All of the time that I lost, being on the road, in the studios, as a child. And I just wanna blow that shit up. I have a lot of awards and I have a lot of these things and I worked my ass for them, I worked harder than probably everybody I know to get those things. But nothing feels like my child saying “Mommy!” No, nothing feels like when I look at my husband in the eyes. Nothing feels like when I’m respected. When I get on the stage and I see I’m changing people’s lives. Those are the things that matter. And at this point in my life, that’s what I’m striving for. Growth. Love. Happiness. Fun! Enjoy your life. It’s short. That’s the message.”
And then she adorably, endearingly chuckles. Here, see for yourself:
I am so glad Beyonce is in the world. So, so glad. Is there like a gigantic, bedazzled golden tome emblazoned with the words BEYONCE MINIONS where I can sign my name and become her disciple forever? (Yes, I am picturing Ariel signing Ursula’s book in The Little Mermaid. Aren’t you?) Because I’m totally ready to throw my signature on that shit and be part of the Beyhive for life.