Pop culture is serving up generous portions of Beyoncé and lots of folk are lined up with plates ready. But one group that I'm always surprised to see in line are Christian women. Lately, I've noticed in many Christian circles an insatiable appetite for all things Beyoncé.
Here's the deal: I am not a card-carrying member of the Beyhive.
Let me step back as the stones are hurled my way.
I'm sharing my view amidst the ever-increasing choir of Christian women who have lifted their voices even louder in support of the singer with the release of her latest video and single Formation and the announcement of a world tour.
As a black woman, Beyoncé does not speak to me or for me. No, I'm not a hater, I just don't see or hear anything that resonates with me. I acknowledge her hustle and ability to work hard for what she set her sights on. However, that's not enough for me to jump on the Beyhive bandwagon.
I will admit while the video for Formation includes some compelling images like: the call to end the killing of black Americans with the message "stop killing us" scrawled on the wall, her appreciation for black beauty and natural hair, and her home pride for New Orleans (my maternal grandparents hail from there so it holds a special place in my heart), the lyrics are not the social justice or black woman anthem many are holding it up to be. (At least I'm not convinced it is.)
In case you missed what she said, here is a sampling of the lyrics:
Y'all haters corny with that Illuminati mess
Paparazzi, catch my fly, and my cocky fresh
I'm so reckless when I rock my Givenchy dress (stylin')
I'm so possessive so I rock his Roc necklaces
My daddy Alabama, Momma Louisiana
You mix that negro with that Creole make a Texas bama
I like my baby heir with baby hair and afros
I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils
Earned all this money but they never take the country out me
I got a hot sauce in my bag, swag
[Interlude: Messy Mya + Big Freedia]
Oh yeah, baby, oh yeah I, ohhhhh, oh, yes, I like that
I did not come to play with you h*es, haha
I came to slay, b***h
I like cornbreads and collard greens, b***h
I see it, I want it, I stunt, yellow-bone it
I dream it, I work hard, I grind 'til I own it
I twirl on them haters, albino alligators
El Camino with the seat low, sippin' Cuervo with no chaser
Sometimes I go off (I go off), I go hard (I go hard)
Get what's mine (take what's mine), I'm a star (I'm a star)
Cause I slay (slay), I slay (hey), I slay (okay), I slay (okay)
All day (okay), I slay (okay), I slay (okay), I slay (okay)
We gon' slay (slay), gon' slay (okay), we slay (okay), I slay (okay)
I slay (okay), okay (okay), I slay (okay), okay, okay, okay, okay
Okay, okay, ladies, now let's get in formation, cause I slay
Okay, ladies, now let's get in formation, cause I slay
Prove to me you got some coordination, cause I slay
Slay trick, or you get eliminated
When he f**k me good I take his a** to Red Lobster, cause I slay
While I am not at all anti-secular music, I'm deeply troubled by Christians' ardent support for everything Beyoncé does and says with little regard for what she is really saying. How can anyone say this song is the black women's anthem? It's nothing I want to stand behind or get line up with. And I'm still confused. What exactly does she want me to get in formation with?
Many women who I engage with on social media boldly proclaim their love for Jesus and Beyonce. Here are a few examples of Jesus-loving people sharing their affection for the singer on social media. And this wasn't even my personal feeds.
-When you really think about it we are so blessed to live in a state thats produced Whataburger, George Strait, Beyoncé and Blue bell.
- As a good, Southern Christian woman, I am torn between throwing oil on the computer or trying to learn the dance moves to this! I am not a Bey fan, though she does have some songs I like and still do not want to join the Beyhive, HOWEVER…..I do believe in giving credit where credit is due! And girlfriend SLAYED, SLAYED, resurrected us and SLAYED some more! YASSSSSSSSSSSSS!
- Come on ladies, let’s get in formation! This should be the national anthem for strong black women EVERYWHERE! Instead of pulling each other down! WOOOOOW! Bey did that!
Here's why I won't get in formation with Beyonce.
I cannot blindly gulp down the kool-aid that Beyonce is pouring out. I will not partake in her brand of feminism like it's a fine delicacy. She sings that girls run the world and that men better not disrespect her. As a mother of two sons, if I line up with this, what does this say about them and their role in the world?
Many of her songs are full of foul language. Her latest video shows her flipping the bird. In her single, Bow Down she sings: "This my sh*t, bow down b**ches." I just can't. If it's hers, she can have it.
Appearance counts and scantily-clad images and seductive dancing sells. I get that. But too much of her work is overly-sexualized for my taste. Many think this is good because she's married and she is celebrating marital intimacy. But isn't that the whole point of intimacy (to be kept private)?
As a Christian woman, what am I supposed to do with Beyonce? Praise her for the shrewd businesswoman that she is and get in formation? Hail her the queen because she slays and no one can touch her? She sings: "I dream it. I work hard. I grind til I own it." There are a whole lot of I's in that with no mention of God in the equation. I'd propose that we need to be more discerning when it comes to our appetites. We need to be careful of how we are letting pop culture and Beyoncé shape our views on life. Why do we gorge ourselves on her bootyliciousness, her slaying and long paper? Why do Christian women crave Beyonce? And does that craving line up with the appetite that God is calling for us to have?
For a lot of women, Beyonce is the epitome of what they desire to be: sexy, powerful, driven, successful, rich and beautiful. As Christian women, is this what we should be admiring and aspiring for?
Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2
Are you in formation with Beyonce? I'd love to hear your thoughts.