It's Not Beyoncé, It's You

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Neither Beyoncé, her fans nor members of the press believe that she is preparing to give birth to R&B's answer to Jesus.

That's why I'm a bit befuddled when her critics, particularly Francie Latour, who wrote this recent piece on The Root, suggest such a thing. That premise is as silly as it is mean-spirited. Latour implies that the superstar is force-feeding her pregnancy onto the world, which is surprising, given that Beyoncé is never a major focal point of discussion in the world of celebrity journalism. Right?

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As someone who has kept up with Beyoncé since Destiny's Child days, I know that she has battled pregnancy rumors for years. In the past, she's joked about the baby-bump rumors showing up every three months. Now that the rumors are finally proving true and she's excited, some people are taking issue with it. The criticism is unfounded, and the frustrations misdirected.

Beyoncé is one of the few celebrities who haven't indulged in the practice of giving away intricate details of their personal lives for professional gain. Thanks to blogs, social media and a salacious appetite for all things celebrity, I've seen stars exposed in ways only their doctors, significant others or at the very least really good tippers should see.

Beyoncé is not a Kardashian, offering four-hour, two-night specials centered on special moments like her wedding ceremony (no offense, Kim, I watched every hour). In fact, we still don't even know what Beyoncé's wedding looked like, because she felt that event was sacred and private. The same can be said of her decade-long relationship with Jay-Z, about which she has offered scant details.

This level of privacy is an obvious trend for the Houston native, and the allegation that she's suddenly hamming it up as she prepares to give birth in February warrants strong skepticism. According to Latour's piece, this alleged attention seeking is a direct contrast to the actions of her recently pregnant famous peers, such as Mariah Carey and Alicia Keys. Of Carey's pregnancy, Latour writes that the singer was "downright cagey for months."

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It's true that Carey didn't spill her pregnancy secret until she was more than showing, but once she started talking, she and husband Nick Cannon told all to People, Us Weekly and Life & Style. Several times. Mariah even posed nude for OK! magazine, à la Demi Moore, another once-pregnant celebrity who purportedly "behaved better" than Beyoncé. There was also constant Twitter talk of "#dembabies" and picture uploads — like Mariah's twin-carrying belly decorated like an Easter egg.

As for Alicia Keys, she might not have talked about her pregnancy as much as other celeb moms. But let's not forget the public-image problem Keys was battling concerning her husband, Swizz Beatz, who had an angry ex-wife leveling charges of infidelity against him and Keys, plus another woman seeking to establish paternity.

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Regardless of why Keys didn't get or seek out as much coverage about her pregnancy, in the end it's every woman's prerogative to decide how to react to this exciting time in her life. The notion of "A Mom-to-Be Who Knows Her Place" sounds anti-woman and painfully archaic. Who are any of us to tell someone how to feel about something — especially pregnancy? What is Beyoncé supposed to do, anyway? Hide in the house, barefoot and consuming large amounts of her favorite Popeye's chicken?

Beyoncé is photographed every day of the week, no matter what she's doing. Right now she just so happens to have a growing baby bump while being snapped by the paparazzi. More times than not, though, Beyoncé has been working to promote her latest album, 4, which was only released in June. Let mama-to-be make her money.

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As for Latour's professed affinity for France's first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, and her calling the arrival of her firstborn "banal" (and the French for apparently echoing that sentiment): So what? Bruni-Sarkozy isn't the one netting comparisons to Michael Jackson. One of the most famous entertainers on Earth is pregnant, and shockingly, people are interested in that. According to Google, which auto-suggests the search term "Beyoncé enceinte," that includes the French.

If one takes issue with too much public interest in a superstar's uterus, direct those complaints where they belong. Beyoncé has avoided the traditional celebrity route of selling stories of her pregnancy to national publications. Beyoncé didn't make up those stupid baby-bump rumors that spread across the media like wildfire. And since Beyoncé has thus far refused to share the sex of her child, explained how she got pregnant or pitched a reality show themed around her shopping for Enfamil, why fault her for a public fascination that's beyond her control?

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Critics of her pregnancy coverage would have you believe that she's being self-indulgent. That's a fun little fable, but in reality those critics aren't paying close attention. Although Beyoncé's baby bump might not be of biblical proportions to some, these complainers needn't try playing the role of God by telling her — or any other woman, for that matter — how she should and should not react after learning she's been blessed with the gift of life.  

Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer currently based in Los Angeles. You can read more of his work on his site. Follow him on Twitter.

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Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.

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