by: Derrick Clifton
From where I’m sitting, there’s another queen’s jubilee underway. Elizabeth II, eat your heart out. And you too, Ms. Aretha.
Beyonce recently sashayed back onto the scene, proving she’s still as fierce as ever after birthing her first child. But don’t call it a comeback; she’s been at it for years. Dazzling audiences in Atlantic City with hits like “Get Me Bodied,” “Crazy In Love,” and “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” the former siren of Destiny’s Child reminded fans that she still dons the crown.
Here are but a few reasons why our Bey is still a ‘10’:
7. Sasha Fierce
It is OK to have an alter ego and not be referred for professional help. There’s nothing wrong or shameful about channeling a different side of your personality, creativity and individuality via the creation of a different persona.
For full disclosure, my friends inspired me to create my own Sasha Fierce for my university’s annual drag show, also known as RedVelvet. It was a fun way for me to let loose, nurture my musical side, and embrace parts of my personality that others would consider a hot mess. Yet Red, in her own way, gives me more insight on my journey of personhood.
Bey acknowledges Sasha Fierce’s presence in her performances and her everyday life. She describes Sasha in a 2008 interview saying, “Sasha Fierce is the fun, more sensual, more aggressive, more outspoken side and more glamorous side that comes out when I’m working and when I’m on the stage.”
Beyonce “killed” Sasha Fierce in 2010 after apparently realizing she could merge Sasha into her day-to-day life as a woman, and out of a desire to achieve a work-life balance. Buuuuut…. Bey’s bringing back Sasha for her forthcoming tour in 2012! The fierceness never dies.
6. Southern Charm
Being fierce means also being just as sweet. When Sasha Fierce (the performer) takes a chill pill and Beyonce (the lady) presents herself, the humility and grace she exhibits makes her one of the most likable and well-regarded musical superstars.
No one will forget how masterfully Bey handled Kanye West’s infamous interruption of Taylor Swifts VMA acceptance speech, with West decrying Swift’s win over Beyonce in a category: “Imma let you finish… but Beyonce had the best video of all time!”
Bey wasn’t having it, as evidenced when the cameras cut for her reaction. But when she won the coveted Video of The Year award for “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” Bey graciously offered the podium for Swift to finally express her gratitude minus Kanye’s idiocy. She noted, “I remember being 17 years old up for my first MTV award with Destiny’s Child and it was one of the most exciting moments of my life. So I’d like for Taylor to come out and have her moment.”
5. She dresses to the nines.
I’ve yet to see this woman lambasted for her fashion tastes. And we all know where she gets it from: her mama.
With Destiny’s Child, and occasionally as a solo artist, Bey floats from the stage to awards shows flaunting Tina’s creations, now branded under the House of Dereon. She almost reminded me of some sort of perpetual teenage prom attendee going off to the main event with the dress her mother had sewn for weeks. But Tina’s extraordinary eye for detail and sense of elegance made those outfits stand head and shoulders above many others, including the many well-established foreign designers frequently name dropped on A-list red carpets.
While Bey varies it up much more nowadays, it’s clear that mama raised her baby with a passion for fashion. She rarely misses a beat.
4. She remembers what/who she’s doing it for.
Bey has never forgotten her roots along her journey to musical superstardom.
While with Destiny’s Child, a gospel medley or song was a mainstay at the end of the first three albums. Whether she thanks God for her significant other in the Destiny’s Child song “Love” or giving her own spin on the classic “Ave Maria,” Bey highlights her faith wherever possible.
She also celebrates her Texan upbringing reps H-Town like no other. And she’s quite shameless about it, like in “Run The World (Girls)” when she belts, “This just how they made me / Houston, Texas Baby!”
3. “Bootylicious” is more than just a 12-letter word.
In a world where beauty magazines Photoshop a size 8 to a size 2, Bey proudly celebrates her curvaceous bod. While fad diets may reign supreme in some social circles, Queen Bey inspires her curvaceous fans to make the world “ready for this jelly.”
2. Bey reminds fans that girls really “Run the World.”
Songs like “Independent Women,” “Single Ladies,” “Irreplaceable,” and “Survivor” aren’t simply veritable hits Bey penned with Destiny’s Child or for her solo career. They’re anthems of empowerment.
But those words aren’t only for women. Just as bell hooks inspires readers to believe that “Feminism is for Everybody,” I’ll go one step further even if it draws the ire of my feminist scholar friends: Beyonce is for Everybody. While she’s not a perfect embodiment of feminist ideals (and, really, who is?), but there’s no doubt that the inspirational nature of Bey’s music transcends sex and gender boundaries.
And to top it all off, Bey’s touring band (who she’s called “Suga Mama”) is an all-female tour de force.
1. Diva is a female version of Beyonce.
Let’s be real, a diva is a true hustla but Bey sets a new bar for the definition a true diva. How, you might ask?
Diva is when you can announce your pregnancy following a rousing awards show performance by simply unbuttoning your blazer, gleefully rubbing the baby bump, and have audiences setting a Guinness World Record with 8,868 tweets per second about it.
Diva is when your fourth studio album is blasted by press for moving only (only?!?!) 310,000 copies in its first week to top the charts. Overzealous journos made their best attempts to create a story out of 4 being the lowest of Beyonce’s album launches, even after the album and its lead single were leaked early on the internet. By comparison, Ciara’s fourth album “Basic Instinct” debuted at #44 on Billboard with 37,000 copies. When 310,000 prompts the press to dub your album as a disappointing debut, you know you’re a standard bearer of the industry.
Diva is when you can sing “Why Don’t You Love Me” and take a jam break during the music video to coyly dust off all 16 of your Grammy Awards, kick back in a loveseat and pretend like it was all in a day’s work.
Diva is when you’re the subject of a semester-long college course. Sure, Michael Eric Dyson teaches a course at Georgetown about Bey’s hubby, but Rutgers treats gender studies students to “Politicizing Beyonce.” The class analyzes her music and career as subjects of inquiry through the lenses of black feminists like bell hooks and Audre Lorde.
Make no mistake, Bey is still the 1. And can’t no other wannabe queen in the game even try taking that away from her. Should the day ever come where I personally meet her, I’ll gladly courtesy.
Derrick Clifton is a columnist and opinion editor for The Daily Northwestern, the award winning student-run daily publication for Northwestern University and the City of Evanston, Ill. Derrick is also editor and publisher of DailyDerrick.com, a blog highlighting pop culture criticism and social justice, and an opinion contributor for NextGen Journal. His works have been featured on Gawker, National Review Online, The College Fix and various other blogs. Clifton is a senior in the School of Communication at Northwestern University. He enjoys inserting curt humor and sass in columns when appropriate and considers Beyonce his second religion after Jesus. Follow him on Twitter @DerrickClifton or email him: firstname.lastname@example.org