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“Beyonce’s uncharacteristic song”

Posted on 04.10.2013

The lyrics, “I know when you were little girls, you dreamt of being in my world,” are typical of a pop-diva powerhouse song that is sure to top the charts as a one-hit-wonder and never be seen by the music circuit again. Songs by Ke$ha, Rihanna or even the purr-tastic Katy Perry all may come to mind, but the real answer to the question of who these lyrics belong to troubled me.

Beyoncé Knowles, or as I like to refer to her, “Queen Bey,” dropped her new single “Bow Down/I Been On” on Sunday, March 17. To say that I’m a Beyoncé fan is an understatement. The best example may be my “Best of the Queen” playlist on my iTunes. When I sat down at my computer to listen to her new track, I was beyond excited. But when I heard the chopped up and screwed down vocals blaring “dripping candy on the ground,” my face contorted into something from “The Exorcist.”

What happened to my beloved Beyoncé? What happened to the empowering lyrics “strong enough to bear the children then get back to business” that I sang so wholeheartedly into my shampoo bottle during my shower concerts? I finished listening to “Bow Down/I Been On” in disgust as Beyoncé told every listener on the globe to bow down to her. How could someone who put on one of the most woman-empowering performances in Super Bowl history do this to the female population?

My first impression matched that of media figures across America. Keyshia Cole, Brandy, Wendy Williams and Rush Limbaugh attacked Beyoncé for her single. Limbaugh said, “She got married. She married the rich guy [Jay Z]. She’s even calling herself Mrs. Carter on the tour… She has shelved Beyoncé.”

Keyshia Cole tweeted, “First “Women need to Stick together” now b—— better Bow. Smh… ”

Obviously, I was not alone in my unhappiness with one of my favorite artists.

The next day, as I was sitting in my room by myself, I decided to give the uncharacteristically “hood” song another shot. I pride myself in trying not to be a music snob, so I pulled up the song on YouTube, turned on my laptop speakers as high as they would go and started a second listen. My head began bobbing, my finger tapping, and soon, I was standing up in my room absolutely rocking out to Beyoncé. After the 3:18 song was finished, I immediately ran to my computer to play the song again. After four listens in a row, you could say I was hooked.

What had changed my mind from the night before? It was still the same song, the same unexpected lyrics bleeding from my computer speakers, the same chopped up and screwed down vocals penetrating my ears. But as I listened, I realized that Beyoncé wasn’t trying to change the world with this song. Instead, she was making the type of music that she wanted to make.

Beyoncé Knowles-Carter is a singer, actress, wife, mother and most importantly a powerful woman. I think it’s safe to say that after winning 17 Grammy Awards, she knows what she’s doing in the music business. “Bow Down/I Been On” has a different sound for Beyoncé, as well as extremely different lyrics accompanying it. If she wants to tell the world to bow down to her, then she has every right.

Yes, her music is empowering, maybe life changing for some. But why is it her responsibility to change the minds of women across the globe? Beyoncé has done exactly that for the last 10 years. She shows what it means to be a true woman by taking a risk and doing exactly what she wants to do, regardless of what the media or other artists may think of her.


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