Let’s Get ‘Beyoncé-Gate’ Straight

She has a great voice and an abundance of class -- and nothing about this faux scandal will change that.

Rob Carr/Getty Images
Rob Carr/Getty Images

I’ll be happy to provide a shovel to those who very much need to bury the lie that Beyoncé isn’t known much for her singing already. It’s a critique of Beyoncé that’s bothersome because it reeks of a certain bias against entertainers in general, and worse, a linear opinion of women who dare to take charge of their sexuality.

Beyoncé is not, as Goff wrote, considered “in terms of actual talent and global image” [to be more] “on par with Madonna” than someone like “Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin.” Regardless of whether or not one finds Beyoncé’s recent GQ spread to be tasteful, those photos don’t automatically make her Madonna. Besides, if there were any singer out now who shares Madonna’s embrace of sexually charged imagery, it would be Rihanna.

But my biggest gripe isn’t the false equivalency but the sentiment behind it — because of the GQ spread, Goff writes, no one will ever look at Beyoncé and “think ‘classy inauguration songbird.’ “

Well, plenty of people will, as long as they don’t think a sexy pictorial, costume or gyrating onstage makes you the whore of Babylon.

But by this narrow-minded view of how a woman ought to conduct herself in order to be perceived as “classy,” Aretha Franklin, who had a baby at 14, wouldn’t exactly fit the bill as a “classy inauguration songbird” no matter what she decided to wear, would she?

Beyoncé being sexy doesn’t mean she can’t exhibit class or be the kind of role model to young women that both the Obamas find her appropriate enough to be.

Similarly, accepting an endorsement deal from Pepsi doesn’t automatically negate her work with Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign. Soda companies should be criticized for their direct marketing to minorities and young people, but even our french fry-loving first lady acknowledged the campaign is about balance and exercise, not restriction.

Beyoncé might be my lord and gyrator, yet I don’t consider her to be above criticism. There are reasons to critique her, but the only clue I’ll give you is that the aforementioned aren’t it.

Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer and blogger. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter.