“The Day Beyoncé Turned Black” – SNL

Posted in Arts, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2016-02-14 17:42Z by Steven

“The Day Beyoncé Turned Black” – SNL

Saturday Night Live (NBC)

Tags: , , , ,

On ‘Jackson Five Nostrils,’ Creole vs. ‘Negro’ and Beefing Over Beyoncé’s ‘Formation’

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States on 2016-02-12 19:22Z by Steven

On ‘Jackson Five Nostrils,’ Creole vs. ‘Negro’ and Beefing Over Beyoncé’s ‘Formation’


Yaba Blay, Dan Blue Endowed Chair & Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science
North Carolina Central University, Durham, North Carolina

As you know, the video for Beyoncé Knowles’ “Formation” does the most, from invoking police violence, to flashing back to Hurricane Katrina, to celebrating Blue Ivy’s adorable afro. Here, Yaba Blay, a dark-skinned, New Orleans-bred scholar who researches skin color and identity politics, gets into a topic we’ve been avoiding: the message Beyoncé is sending about complexion and worth.

I was born and raised in New Awlins and never miss the opportunity to remind folks of that. So when Beyoncé’s video for “Formation” dropped on Saturday, I, like the majority of my homegirls, was hype.

I wasn’t excited because I’m a certified Beyoncé stan, because the video is visually stunning, or because this seemed to be the Blackest iteration of Beyoncé yet. I was hype because she seemed to be reppin’ New Awlins hard, and not in a tepid “I heart N.O.” kind of way, but more in line with our playfully defiant brand of Blackness. That she unleashed the video during Mardi Gras weekend? It just couldn’t get any better!

Until it got worse…

…I cheer Bey on as she sings, “I like my Negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils.” But I cringe when I hear her chant, “You mix that Negro with that Creole make a Texas bamma about her Alabama-born dad and her mom from Louisiana. This is the same reason I cringed at the L’Oreal ad that identified Beyonce as African-American, Native American and French and why I don’t appreciate her largely unknown song “Creole.”

Having grown up black-Black (read: dark-skinned) in colorstruck New Awlins, hearing someone, particularly a woman, make a distinction between Creole and “Negro” is deeply triggering. This isn’t just for me but for many New Orleanians.

For generations, Creoles—people descended from a cultural/racial mixture of African, French, Spanish and/or Native American people—have distinguished themselves racially from “regular Negroes.” In New Orleans, phenotype—namely “pretty color and good hair”—translates to (relative) power…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

At Last …?: Michelle Obama, Beyoncé, Race & History

Posted in Articles, Biography, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, United States on 2015-11-19 02:43Z by Steven

At Last …?: Michelle Obama, Beyoncé, Race & History

Winter 2011, Volume 140, Number 1
Posted Online 2011-03-09
pages 131-141
DOI: 10.1162/DAED_a_00065

Farah J. Griffin, William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African-American Studies
Columbia University

In this essay, Griffin brings to the fore two extraordinary black women of our age: First Lady Michelle Obama and entertainment mogul Beyoncé Knowles. Both women signify change in race relations in America, yet both reveal that the history of racial inequality in this country is far from over. As an Ivy League-educated descendent of slaves, Michelle Obama is not just unfamiliar to the mainstream media and the Washington political scene; during the 2008 presidential campaign, she was vilified as angry and unpatriotic. Beyonce, who controls the direction of her career in a way that pioneering black women entertainers could not, has nonetheless styled herself in ways that recall the distinct racial history of the Creole South. Griffin considers how Michelle Obama’s and Beyonce’s use of their respective family histories and ancestry has bolstered or diminished their popular appeal.

Read or purchase the article here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Why Are We Hung Up on Our Mixed Roots?

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United States, Women on 2013-04-02 02:53Z by Steven

Why Are We Hung Up on Our Mixed Roots?

The Root

Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., Editor At-Large

The latest controversy in Beyoncé Knowles news may be her breast-feeding Blue Ivy in public, but I’m still shaking my head about the recent fuss over her True Match commercial for L’Oréal, which highlights the singer’s mixed-race heritage. In the ad the star says, “There’s a story behind my skin. It’s a mosaic of all the faces before it.” Apparently this is controversial to some, who suggest that the singer is trying to distance herself from African Americans. Come again?

News flash: As revealed by Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. (who is also The Root’s editor-in-chief), the majority of blacks in this country are of mixed-race heritage, as are many throughout the Diaspora. I find it interesting when critics try to erase history in an attempt to promote the idea that we’re 100 percent black. The truth is that the history of African Americans is a history of mixed-race ancestry—some of it by choice, and much of it by force. Many blacks in America and throughout the Diaspora are no more 100 percent black than those who identify as white people are 100 percent white. Just because you say it doesn’t make it so…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,

Beyoncé, beauty and the all mighty dollar

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, Social Science, United States, Women on 2012-04-27 17:24Z by Steven

Beyoncé, beauty and the all mighty dollar

Insight News
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Irma McClaurin, Ph.D., Culture and Education Editor

Just for the record, we are not in, nor has there ever been, a post-racial moment in America.  And so, we must dive deep into historical memory of this country to understand why all the fuss about L’Oréal’s  latest advertisement for cosmetics featuring Beyoncé

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,