I say this with a sober mind and honest heart: I do not think Beyoncé is a bad actress.
Yes, I will allow you a moment to sit in awe of my bravery. No, you cannot claim that I am only saying this because I worship at the altar of Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter. I don’t like everything she does. For instance, half of I Am … Sasha Fierce has not been played in any speaker I own since 2008. Also, I hope to never, ever see Carmen: A Hip Hopera on purpose again. Now, don’t be a snitch and tell Beyoncé I said any of this, but I just want to let it be known that I can play detractor when pushed enough.
So, again, I do not think Beyoncé is a bad actress, and I am delighted to know that she is reportedly taking her future career as an actress more seriously. According to an “insider”—who, I assume, was allowed to break his or her blood-oath allegiance to Beyoncé and Parkwood Entertainment for this cause—Beyoncé has been hard at work trying to get her acting chops together.
“She wants to land leading roles in movies and has been taking classes in New York and L.A. for the past year,” the insider told Us Weekly. This person went on to add, “Bey’s looking for an iconic dramatic role. She wants to make a film that’s socially relevant to African American rights.”
In other words, she’s both “woke” and ready for something substantial. I, for one, am ecstatic to read this, because again, I do not think Beyoncé is a bad actress. I know what some of you are thinking: “Have you seen a Beyoncé movie?” Shut up. I’ve seen them all.
My thing about Beyoncé, actress, is that we’ve yet to see Beyoncé in anything remotely challenging. I’ve already conceded that Carmen: A Hip Hopera was terrible, so let’s move on and pretend that never happened. That said, Austin Powers in Goldmember wasn’t exactly a stretch for anyone involved to play. The Fighting Temptations was good in that everyone, from an Oscar winner to Faith Evans, was terrible in a terrible and forgettable film. To be fair, Beyoncé was no less terrible than those two.
Beyoncé was adequate in Dreamgirls, but many might rightly point out that she was playing herself: the favorite. Many laughed when Beyoncé did not win an Oscar but Jennifer Hudson did. Cute for you, but I have five words for you on J. Hud’s perceived acting prowess: “My vury own Louis Vuitton!!”
I know you hear me, Sex and the City first-movie fans.
I rest my case.
When it comes to the thriller Obsessed, I’ve always felt that people were unfair to Beyoncé. She did a fine job in that fake-ass Fatal Attraction. If there’s anyone who was stinking up that already musty movie, it was Idris Elba and that god-awful, piss-poor impersonation of an American accent he used. Yeah, I said it. Run up, get done up.
So, here, the subject of Yoncé’s performance in Cadillac Records is where it gets divisive. I think Beyoncé was good, but the movie tried to cram too much into a really small amount of time. That said, it was something different for Beyoncé, and she was not terrible in it.
That gives me hope for what could be, so long as Beyoncé stops picking such terrible movies to lend her name and talent to. Her acting choices thus far are the equivalent of the clothes she used to let her mama design for Destiny’s Child. OK, some of them actually worked, but more often than not, “Girl, what?” was the majority’s reaction.
We can do this, Beyoncé—by “this” I mean be taken seriously as an actress—so long as we keep going to acting classes and pick better roles. Not that it matters in a world in which Alicia Keys apparently has the power to make Jamal Lyon consider vaginal sex on sight, but I digress.
When asked about the rumors that Beyoncé will be starring in the remake of A Star Is Born, Bradley Cooper, who is helming the project after Clint Eastwood dropped out, noted, "Just a rumor. But with that said, I would be honored obviously … to work with her in any capacity.”
I’m sure he would, given that it’s Beyoncé, but don’t do it, girl. Well, not until you find a nonmusical role of quality first. Find that socially-relevant-to-the-blacks role before taking on anything familiar. Make the world a believer.
And feel free to thank me in your future Oscars speech for always keeping hope alive.
Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.