Beyoncé in the World: Making Meaning with Queen Bey in Troubled Times

Posted in Anthologies, Arts, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2021-10-01 15:45Z by Steven

Beyoncé in the World: Making Meaning with Queen Bey in Troubled Times

Wesleyan University Press
2021-06-08
392 pages
31 color photos
Hardback ISBN: 9780819579911
Paperback ISBN: 9780819579928
eBook ISBN: 9780819579935

Edited by:

Christina Baade, Professor, Communication Studies & Media Arts
McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Kristin A. McGee, Associate Professor of Popular Music
University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands

Essays investigate Beyoncé’s global impact

From Destiny’s Child to Lemonade, Homecoming, and The Gift, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter has redefined global stardom, feminism, Black representation, and celebrity activism. This book brings together new work from sixteen international scholars to explore Beyonce’s impact as an artist and public figure from the perspectives of critical race studies, gender and women’s studies, queer and cultural studies, music, and fan studies. The authors explore Beyoncé’s musical persona as one that builds upon the lineages of Black female cool, Black southern culture, and Black feminist cultural production. They explore Beyoncé’s reception within and beyond North America, including how a range of performers—from YouTube gospel singers to Brazilian pop artists have drawn inspiration from her performances and image. The authors show how Beyoncé’s music is a source of healing and kinship for many fans, particularly Black women and queer communities of color. Combining cutting edge research, vivid examples, and accessible writing, this collection provides multiple lenses onto the significance of Beyoncé in the United States and around the world.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword / Janell Hobson
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Beyoncé Studies / Christina Baade, Marquita Smith, and Kristin McGee
  • Part One “Diva” / Black Feminist Genealogies
    • 1. “I Came to Slay”: The Knowles Sisters, Black Feminism, and the Lineage of Black Female Cool / H. Zahra Caldwell
    • 2. From Colorism to Conjurings: Tracing the Dust in Beyoncé’s Lemonade / Cienna Davis
  • Part Two “Formation” / A Southern Turn
    • 3. Beyoncé’s South and a “Formation” Nation / Riché Richardson
    • 4. Merging Past and Present in Lemonade’s Black Feminist Utopia / J. Brendan Shaw
  • Part Three “XO” / Faith and Fandom
    • 5. At the Digital Cross(roads) with Beyoncé: Gospel Covers That Remix the Risqué into the Religious / Birgitta J. Johnson
    • 6. “She Made Me Understand”: How Lemonade Raised the Intersectional Consciousness of Beyoncé’s International Fans / Rebecca J. Sheehan
  • Part Four “Worldwide Woman” / Beyoncé’s Reception Beyond the United States
    • 7. The Performative Negotiations of Beyoncé in Brazilian Bodies and the Construction of the Pop Diva in Ludmilla’s Funk Carioca and Gaby Amarantos’s Tecnobrega / Simone Pereira de Sá and Thiago Soares
    • 8. A Critical Analysis of White Ignorance Within Beyoncé’s Online Reception in the Spanish Context / Elena Herrera Quintana
  • Part Five “Hold up” / Performing Femme Affinity and Dissent
    • 9. Six-Inch Heels and Queer Black Femmes: Beyoncé and Black Trans Women / Jared Mackley-Crump and Kirsten Zemke
    • 10. From “Say My Name” to “Texas Bamma”: Transgressive Topoi, Oppositional Optics, and Sonic Subversion in Beyoncé’s “Formation” / Byron B Craig and Stephen E. Rahko
  • Part Six “Freedom” / Sounding Protest, Hearing Politics
    • 11. Musical Form in Beyoncé’s Protest Music / Annelot Prins and Taylor Myers
    • 12. Beyoncé’s Black Feminist Critique: Multimodal Intertextuality and Intersectionality in “Sorry” / Rebekah Hutten and Lori Burns
  • Part Seven “Pray You Catch Me” / Healing and Community
    • 13. Beyond “Becky with the Good Hair”: Hair and Beauty in Beyoncé’s “Sorry” / Kristin Denise Rowe
    • 14. The Livable, Surviving, and Healing Poetics of Lemonade: A Black Feminist Futurity in Action / Mary Senyonga
  • About the Contributors
  • Index
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The Notorious, Mixed-Race New Orleans Madam Who Turned Her Identity Into a Brand

Posted in Articles, Biography, Communications/Media Studies, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2018-10-08 02:42Z by Steven

The Notorious, Mixed-Race New Orleans Madam Who Turned Her Identity Into a Brand

Zócalo Public Square
2018-10-01

Emily Epstein Landau, Teacher [and author of Spectacular Wickedness: Sex, Race, and Memory in Storyville, New Orleans]
Georgetown Day School, Washington, D.C.


Lulu White, the most notorious madam in the turn-of-the-century Big Easy. Courtesy of the Collections of the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University. All rights reserved.

By Repackaging the Myths of the Tragic Octoroon and the Self-Made Woman, Lulu White Crafted a Persona That Haunts Beyoncé’s “Formation

In 2016, music and pop-culture idol Beyoncé released the album Lemonade to rapturous reviews. As a historian of New Orleans, I was especially intrigued by the video for one of the songs on the album, “Formation.” The video includes iconic images of the city: Katrina flood waters and post-flood graffiti; “second-lines”; marching bands; crawfish eating; and even a dancing “Mardi Gras Indian.” As we move through various neighborhoods, we visit a church service, a St. Charles Avenue mansion, and, in what appears to be a move through time into the city’s past, a bordello.

The bordello scenes in the video recall famous photographs from Storyville, New Orleans’s notorious red-light district, which flourished from 1898 to 1917. And while the song is clearly about Beyoncé, the persona she embodies in it resonates with an earlier iconic black female: Lulu White, the self-styled “Diamond Queen” of New Orleans’s turn-of-the-century demimonde. Knowing Lulu White’s story helps us see Beyoncé’s artistic creation within a complex historical framework, for in it are woven together threads of American history: stories of sexual slavery and prostitution; revolution and exile; and, not least, capitalism and the American Dream.

Lulu White was the most notorious madam in Storyville. She earned fame and fortune as the “handsomest octoroon” in the South, and her bordello, Mahogany Hall, featured “octoroon” prostitutes for the pleasure of wealthy white men during one of America’s most virulently—and violently—racist periods. It was also the dawn of consumer culture and the beginning of modern advertising. Thus, Lulu White crafted a persona for herself through stories that had long circulated in New Orleans; she repackaged those stories to create what today we would recognize as her brand…

Read the entire article here.

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The Complicated History Behind Beyoncé’s Discovery About the ‘Love’ Between Her Slave-Owning and Enslaved Ancestors

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2018-08-13 23:30Z by Steven

The Complicated History Behind Beyoncé’s Discovery About the ‘Love’ Between Her Slave-Owning and Enslaved Ancestors

TIME
2018-08-10

Arica L. Coleman

The Life of Sally Hemings exhibit at Monticello is pictured on June 16, 2018 in Charlottesville, Va. (Photo by /For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
The Life of Sally Hemings exhibit at Monticello is pictured on June 16, 2018 in Charlottesville, Va. (Photo by /For The Washington Post via Getty Images) Eze Amos—The Washington Post/Getty Images

With Beyoncé’s appearance on the cover of the September issue of Vogue, the magazine highlights three facets of the superstar’s character for particular focus: “Her Life, Her Body, Her Heritage.” The words she shares are deeply personal, and that last component also offers a window into a complicated and misunderstood dynamic that affects all of American history. While opening up about her family’s long history of dysfunctional marital relationships, she hints at an antebellum relationship that defies that trend: “I researched my ancestry recently,” she stated, “and learned that I come from a slave owner who fell in love with and married a slave.”

She doesn’t elaborate on how she made the discovery or what is known about those individuals, but fans will know that Beyoncé Knowles-Carter is a native of Houston whose maternal and paternal forbears hailed from Louisiana and Alabama, respectively. Her characterization of her heritage stands out because those states, like others across the South, had stringent laws and penalties against interracial marriage. In fact, throughout the colonial and antebellum eras, interracial marriage would have been the exception — even though interracial sex was the rule…

Read the entire article here.

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Beyoncé in Her Own Words: Her Life, Her Body, Her Heritage

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2018-08-13 23:12Z by Steven

Beyoncé in Her Own Words: Her Life, Her Body, Her Heritage

Vogue
September 2018 (2018-08-06)

Beyoncé Knowles-Carter
Tyler Mitchell, Photography

Pregnancy & Body Acceptance

After the birth of my first child, I believed in the things society said about how my body should look. I put pressure on myself to lose all the baby weight in three months, and scheduled a small tour to assure I would do it. Looking back, that was crazy. I was still breastfeeding when I performed the Revel shows in Atlantic City in 2012. After the twins, I approached things very differently…

Ancestry

I come from a lineage of broken male-female relationships, abuse of power, and mistrust. Only when I saw that clearly was I able to resolve those conflicts in my own relationship. Connecting to the past and knowing our history makes us both bruised and beautiful.

I researched my ancestry recently and learned that I come from a slave owner who fell in love with and married a slave. I had to process that revelation over time. I questioned what it meant and tried to put it into perspective. I now believe it’s why God blessed me with my twins. Male and female energy was able to coexist and grow in my blood for the first time. I pray that I am able to break the generational curses in my family and that my children will have less complicated lives…

Read the entire article here.

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Beyoncé, Creoles, and Modern Blackness

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2016-03-04 01:48Z by Steven

Beyoncé, Creoles, and Modern Blackness

University of California Press Blog
2016-01-29

Tyina Steptoe, Assistant Professor of History
University of Arizona

Tyina Steptoe is the author of Houston Bound: Culture and Color in a Jim Crow City (2015).

Beyoncé is a black woman. This isn’t exactly earth-shattering news; after all, the 34-year-old, Houston-born entertainer has one of the most recognizable faces in the world. Yet, since the release of the video for her song “Formation” on February 6, an avalanche of tweets and think pieces have heralded the arrival of an unapologetically black Beyoncé.

Set in New Orleans, the “Formation” video features a platinum braid wearing, hot sauce-loving black woman who adores afros and her “Negro nose.” Helmed by award-winning director Melina Masoukas, the clip also prominently features images associated with the Black Live Matter movement. In one scene, a group of militarized police officers stand in front of a dancing, unarmed black boy. Another shot shows a wall tagged with the words “Stop shooting us.” These are not words or images typically associated with Queen Bey.

One day later, Beyoncé’s Super Bowl halftime performance featured a bevy of black female back-up dancers dressed like Black Panthers in berets and afros. Some of the women later posed with a sign that read “Justice 4 Mario Woods.” Woods was a young African American man slain by police officers in San Francisco on December 2, so the display indelibly links Beyoncé to recent protests against police killings. Some white fans reacted angrily. By Monday morning, the hashtag #BoycottBeyonce circulated on social media, and one group of detractors planned a boycott (though that didn’t quite pan out in the way they’d hoped.) “Saturday Night Live” spoofed negative white reaction with a video called “The Day Beyoncé Turned Black.” To her fans and critics, it was clear that Beyoncé has made her racial identity and modern racial politics central to her public image in 2016…

Read the entire article here.

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On Creoles, Colorism and Confronting our Triggers

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2016-03-01 01:27Z by Steven

On Creoles, Colorism and Confronting our Triggers

Black and Blewish
2016-02-13

TaRessa Stovall

By now everyone with media access knows of (and likely has an opinion about) Beyoncé’s new “Formation” video and Super Bowl halftime performance. She dropped the video on an otherwise slow news Saturday, February 6, and on the very next day, she symbolically won the Super Bowl by eclipsing headline halftime performers Coldplay and adjunct Bruno Mars, generating more headlines and conversation than the actual game.

The first wave of responses was a fairly unanimous rave by Black women for the I Love My Black Self, Family and Culture symbolism that season “Formation.” The second, post-Super Bowl, was dissecting Bey & Company’s performance nods to the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, which shares a 50th anniversary year with the Super Bowl and took root in the Bay Area, near the Super Bowl’s stadium in Santa Clara, California on the day when Trayvon Martin would have turned 21 and the weekend when Sandra Bland would have turned 29 had they not been victims of brutally racist murders…

…Beyond all the pro-vs.-anti Bey brouhaha, what got my attention was when Dr. Yaba Blay, a well-known expert on Black racial identity and colorism, shared her own responses to “Formation,” in Colorlines, and outed a truth with which many of us wrestle: how to balance our awareness of blatant Black-on-Black colorism when it’s embodied in otherwise enjoyable African American and (at least somewhat) affirming popular culture.

While we all know intellectually that colorism is global and in no way specific to African Americans, it doesn’t lessen the pain felt by those on the receiving end. My own admitted obsession with colorism moves me to call it out and confront it more often than is popular. I feel a strong kinship with Dr. Yaba, a respected leader in this realm, and others who believe the only way we can move past this internalized oppression and dimension of racism is to confront, wrestle with and move through it…

Read the entire article here.

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“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)
2016-02-13

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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’

ColorLines
2016-02-08

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.

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