Throughout her career, Beyoncé has been universally adored. But next month, when the extremely successful singer, songwriter, dancer, actress, and lady with fantastic hips brings her tour stateside, I imagine things will be different. It has been almost taboo—up until this point—to say you don’t like Beyoncé. She’s never given us any reason not to. But now she has, and so this is it. Beyoncé’s fame has reached its tipping point.
The cracks in Beyoncé’s armour first appeared after President Obama’s second inauguration. She was assigned to sing the national anthem, but she didn’t. She lip-synched. Beyoncé admitted that she didn’t sing because there wasn’t enough rehearsal time, so she didn’t feel “comfortable taking a risk.” Pounding a 12-pack and then riding a horse for the first time is taking a risk. Beyoncé, a 17-time Grammy winner, singing live, even without much practice, is not.
Shortly after LipGate, Beyoncé performed during the Super Bowl halftime show. I remember thinking that she nailed it. BuzzFeed did too. The site published photos capturing Beyoncé’s “33 Fiercest Moments.” Horrible headline aside, it was simply a series of pictures of the singer with captions praising her. Almost immediately after the post went live, Beyoncé’s PR team e-mailed BuzzFeed asking them to “take down the unflattering photos” and replace them with ones that had Bey’s stamp of approval.
As weird as that was, Beyoncé topped that with her “documentary,” “Beyoncé: Life is But a Dream.” It was by far the most narcissistic piece of art I’ve ever seen. Not that you had to watch the film to figure that out. “Beyoncé: Life is But a Dream” is a documentary about Beyoncé directed by Beyoncé. Pretty self-explanatory.
The latest in a string of control freak behavior from Beyoncé was the decision to ban all media outlets from sending photographers to document her tour. The move prompted protest from 19 news outlets. Tom Daly, a Charlottesville-based professional photographer who often works with musicians, also took issue with Bey’s actions. “I understand artists wanting to maintain control over their image, and I certainly am in that same boat as a photographer, but I think this policy can backfire on bands,” he explained. “Due to this, the main images people will be seeing of Beyoncé are camera phone photos, which as we all know are not as high quality as pro shots.”
I want to keep enjoying Beyoncé, but she’s making it too difficult. She’s a role model for young girls everywhere, so what is she telling them by lip-synching and trying to stop “bad” photos of her from being published? If Beyoncé (easily one of the most beautiful and talented women alive) doesn’t think she’s good enough or pretty enough, somewhere a teen with Beyoncé’s poster on the wall is wondering if her jeans make her look fat.
Beyoncé has always been a carefully crafted product. There’s never been much depth to her. Unfortunately, we’re finally seeing what’s underneath, and it’s not pleasant. The public backlash is about to begin, and with no shell to protect her, Beyoncé is going to feel it. As her husband and Kanye West pointed out, there’s no church in the wild.
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