All Hail The Queen?
By Denise Clay
Okay Beyonce, you’re starting to get on my nerves a little.
As regular readers know, I try not to acknowledge the existence of Beyonce Knowles-Carter whenever possible.
I do this for two reasons: one, because the only piece of her music I have on my I-Tunes library is one that I was forced to download on behalf of one of my students for my Media Arts class.
The second reason is because I don’t always feel like dancing on the Third Rail of African American entertainment that Beyonce has become. She’s kind of untouchable to her legion of fans...almost to the point that saying anything other than “She’s the queen and we all need to worship her,” has been known to cause arguments of all kinds.
But sometimes, I get a piece of video or audio from Queen Bey that just demands my own special brand of snark. Last Sunday was one of those days and it came to me from a variety of sources.
I invite you to listen to Beyonce’s new single. On her new record, she decides that it’s time for her to let the R&B music world know that it’s her world...we’re all just living in it...
Here’s the link https://soundcloud.com/#beyoncemusic/bow-down-i-been-on
Now let’s take this apart for a moment.
We have Beyonce, a woman so unthreateningly black that her image is on everything from Pepsi cans to hair dye, an FOB (Friend of Barack’s) and someone who gets fashion tips from First Lady Michelle, (tips that I wish she’d pass on to her mama Tina, I’m just sayin’) calling her competition the “B” word on a record, telling people to bow down to her.
If that doesn’t make you laugh, you’re better than me.
I mean, hey, the most truly hardcore thing she’s ever done is marry a truly hardcore dude in Jay-Z... and even then, they did the whole “get married, have a baby” thing in the proper order.
Add to this the fact that she’s from an affluent, two-parent family in Suburban Houston and you get why I had to be picked up off the floor when I heard this piece of nonsense. It makes about as much sense coming out of her mouth as it would, well, M.C. Hammer’s.
Now I know that the mention of M.C. Hammer is gonna send some of you running to The Google, so let me save you some time. Hammer was, well, the Beyonce of early 90s rap. His material was G-Rated, he was a decent dancer, he advertised everything from sneakers to soft drinks, and was generally well-liked.
But because he had the money management skills of a crackhead and couldn’t say no, something that led to his having half of Oakland on his payroll, Hammer ended up having to sing “Turn This Mother Out” in Bankruptcy court.
(That was a Hammer-ism...)
Anyway, Hammer needed to make some money. The only way he could make the kind of money he needed was by entertaining. Since his old record company was one of the people he owed, that was out. So he ended up with the Patron Saint of Broke Rappers....Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight.
Now there was a time where the idea of M.C. Hammer, Snoop Dogg (who he was before he became the Lion...) Dr. Dre and the late Tupac sharing a label would have never been a thought. But poverty, or in this case poverty by millionaire standards, can make strange bedfellows.
It can also produce stuff like ‘Pumps in a Bump’, unfortunately...
“Pumps”, or as I like to call it, “MC Hammer killing his career with help from Deion Sanders” is a video so bad that you have to go to YouTube and see it to believe it. It features all of the best stereotypes of the gangsta rap genre, with the guy famous for telling folks “We have to pray just to make it today” in the middle of it.
This is probably the single worst example of what can happen when you try to be something you’re not. Hammer was trying to be a hardcore gangsta rapper in this video.
But all we remember is how silly he looked in those leopard print bikini trunks.
If we were to apply this to Queen Bey’s commandment to “Bow Down”, complete with all of the “bitches” contained therein, we would fully expect to see a music video complete with buff, topless men, a chaise lounge, and lots and lots of feathered fans.
In other words, it would be an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race complete with the Pit Crew...
And it wouldn’t be a good look.
Let’s be honest here. Do we know that on some level Beyonce does indeed rule the world? Yes. I mean, hey, you could at least criticize MC Hammer without anyone threatening to kill you. Try that with Beyonce and you might need a bodyguard.
But on the other hand, the difference between those you meet on the way up and those you meet on the way down is that on the way up they’re laughing with you.
On the way down, they’re laughing at you. Kinda like a lot of us are doing with this record.
Last I looked, MC Hammer was doing infomercials and had some sort of IT company, so he’s managed to bounce back in a way. I fully expect to see him on Dancing With The Stars, Celebrity Apprentice, or some other reality show staffed by has-beens, never-wases and people who made their bones by being involved in a scandal of some sort or by posing nude (or worse yet, having sex with Hugh Hefner).
If that’s not the fate you’d like for yourself Beyonce, you might want to put the scepter down for a moment...
Because if I were someone who could actually sing and you were aiming this record at me, my response to you would be a phrase that’s two words long.
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