10 Common (and Dumb) Criticisms of Beyoncé That Are Actually Compliments

Illustration for article titled 10 Common (and Dumb) Criticisms of Beyoncé That Are Actually Compliments
Photo: Larry Busacca (Getty Images)

Beyoncé is, currently, everything. She hasn’t always been, and perhaps won’t always be, but right now, one of the only essential truths in pop culture is that Beyoncé is bigger and better than everybody else. If she is not your favorite, she is better than your favorite, and she is (likely) your favorite’s favorite. You, perhaps, being the person you are, might thumb your nose at the idea of listening to her or being in the same venue in which she happens to be performing (or just in). But just know that whichever artist you consider your fave would scream if Beyoncé asked to take a selfie with them.


Of course, there’s nothing wrong with Beyoncé not particularly being your cup of tea. In 1992, when Michael Jordan was in his prime, my favorite player was Tim Hardaway (Jordan was second). At least that’s what I tried to tell myself. But if you were a person who hated Jordan then, that was probably a very difficult time for you. And your criticisms of him as a basketball player undoubtedly got progressively dumber. (“Well, I’m just sayin’. I’ve never seen him shoot a lefty floater like Bird does.”)

Criticisms of Beyoncé’s production and performance now are similarly stupid. They’re so bad that, for some of these critiques, the people making them don’t even realize that they’re actually giving her compliments.

Like for instance:

1. “This new ‘woke’ and ‘black’ Beyoncé seems inauthentic. She wasn’t this way in 2002.”

2. “I can’t really consider her a true artist because she collaborates with and is clearly influenced by the work of so many people.”

3. “Her entire persona seems manufactured. Like, she’s been very careful and intentional with projecting and maintaining a certain image. She’s such a control freak that she even controls and directs all of the media about her. She won’t even let bad pictures of her exist on the internet.”


4. “She makes all of these explosive statements with her music and the imagery accompanying it, but you rarely actually hear her speak or tweet about those nuanced and difficult political topics.”

5. “Her music now seems to be made for and speaking directly to black women.”

6. “It’s just funny how all of Jay-Z songs with Beyoncé featured on them have been either ‘meh’ or trash, but all of the Beyoncé’s songs with Jay features have been bangers.”


7. “She’s 36 years old—a married mother of three and a supposed ‘feminist’— and she’s still out there onstage twerking and gyrating and doing sexy sex things.”

8. We weren’t even really checking for her all like that when she decided to leave Destiny’s Child and go single.”


9. “Her performances now are always too much. Too long, too indulgent, too many collaborators, too many parts, too ‘black,’ too ‘feminist,’ too Beyoncé.”

10. “The way her fans talk about her ... you’d think she was something greater and more important to them than just a woman who sings some songs sometimes.”

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)



My family was discussing this over the weekend. I hate it when people say you just hating to hate but at this point in Beyonce’s career if you don’t like her for any reason other than she just isn’t your cup of tea...you have to be a hater.

I’m not a Stan, but I am fan. At the beginning of her career as a solo artist I was “thumbing” my nose at her...

Then I won tickets to her Beyonce Experience.

That was all for me.

She’s fantastic. And after seeing her perform my productivity for the next few weeks shoots UP!!

Now...If I can only get it to last longer than a month.....LOL