Beyonce dropped her fifth solo record without warning last Friday around midnight, and the only post-release promotion she’s done thus far has been a couple of explanatory, behind-the-scenes-esque videos about the making of the album. The first, “Self-Titled #1″ was posted the night of Beyonce‘s release, and a second was posted on YouTube and Bey’s Facebook page last night. “Self-Titled #2″ goes into the thinking behind the first track on the album, “Pretty Hurts,” as well as the song’s accompanying music video. Beyonce gives a pretty clear explanation for what all those trophies represent — her many, many achievements and accolades — especially in the context of a song about picking on flaws, being someone you’re not, and being judged based on how perfect you are. Fame, “beauty,” fitting in … it all comes at a cost. Bey explains that this album is about embracing those imperfections. Keep reading »
I’m not sure if you heard, but Beyoncé recently dropped a new album, causing everyone to question what they thought they knew about music, videos, and even feminism. Nothing highlights the latter better than both the video for “Pretty Hurts,” about airbrushed beauty culture, and her song “Flawless,” where Beyoncé samples parts of writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s famous TEDx talk, “We Should All Be Feminists.”
Google “Beyoncé, New Album, Feminism” and a laundry list of articles pop up, each one promising to explain to you why Bey is (or isn’t!) a bonafide feminist. Many dissect her new songs and videos; others refer to past albums, quotes, or performances. And one even purports that it was motherhood that made Beyoncé come out as a feminist. From Bee Rowlatt’s piece in the UK’s Telegraph:
“It’s no coincidence that Beyoncé’s first album since the birth of her daughter is a towering blast of female empowerment – it is becoming a mother that has brought new and daring sensitivity to her work.” Keep reading »
Three or so days in, I’ve listened to Beyonce’s new, self-titled record straight through at least a dozen times. I say with all seriousness that I believe it is her masterpiece, one of those increasingly rare albums in which every track is essential to the overall story. While I have my favorites, there is not one track I have the desire to skip. The album and its 17 accompanying music videos tell a story about womanhood, but specifically Black womanhood, that is powerful, compelling and beautiful. At times, the songs are clearly autobiographical, but they also speak to themes that are relatable to many women — sexuality, self-expression, motherhood, love, heartbreak, power, and self-worth. The latter theme is especially felt in the album’s opening number, “Pretty Hurts,” which has Bey singing about the damaging effects of rigid beauty standards and body policing. The video for “Pretty Hurts” features Beyonce as a pageant contestant (from the Third Ward, the area in Houston where she grew up) who endures judgmental looks and objectifying weight and measurement assessments as she sings, “But you can’t fix what you can’t see/ It’s the soul that needs the surgery.”
The song sends a powerful message about the pressure we put on girls to look a certain way; the video depicts just one way that pressure is experienced by girls specifically in the pageant circuit. But according to Amanda Hess over at Slate, the video’s pageant theme is “based on an incredibly outdated vision of how we reinforce unattainable physical norms for girls.” According to Hess, “today’s beauty myth is constructed through collections of highly curated ‘candid’ selfies beamed straight from the stars themselves, and Beyoncé is its queen.” In other words, it’s not just the video that Hess has a problem with — it’s Beyonce delivering that message at all because, in her opinion, Beyonce is part of the problem. What Hess gets wrong is … well, everything. Keep reading »
Activities are wonderful, but sometimes, it’s fine to want to shut the world out for a couple of days, and make some serious time for you. Don’t be afraid of FOMO, either. There will always be another party, another pub crawl, another picnic. The time you’ll spend indulging in the things you want to do, alone, are well worth it. Here’s a handy list of awesome things to do this weekend!
Keep reading »
There are a number of featured cameos on Beyonce’s new self-titled album, released late last night/this morning — husband Jay Z, Drake, Frank Ocean, even daughter Blue Ivy. But the most interesting cameo to me, as a feminist, is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian author who’s TEDx talk is sampled on “Flawless.” At the end of the song — which was originally leaked as “Bow Down” — Adichie says:
We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller / We say to girls – you can have ambition, but not too much/ You should aim to be successful but not too successful otherwise you will threaten the man / Because I am female I am expected to aspire to marriage / I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important / A marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support / But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? / We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or for accomplishments / Which I think can be a good thing / But for the attention of men / We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are / Feminist: A person who believes in the economic, social and political equality of the sexes.
Preach. So who is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie? Let’s learn more… Keep reading »
I cannot be expected to think or talk about anything but the new self-titled Beyonce visual album today. Sorry. Today has been declared Bey Day and we all have no choice but to revel in it. Click on through for a bunch of amazing new Beyonce lyrics, accompanied by GIFs from the videos for each. ALL HAIL.
Good morning! Perhaps you’re just waking up to the news that Beyoncé dropped her 14-track, 17-video opus in the middle of the night, like it ain’t no thang. She also posted a photo of some vegan cupcakes on her Instagram, which has one fan unable to bite her tongue. I mean shit, indeed. BOW DOWN. [via HyperVocal]
All hail Queen Bey! Beyonce’s fifth studio album is billed as a “visual album” complete with 17 music videos on top of the 14 tracks. Click through for stills from each.
Beyonce just released a brand new album, titled BEYONCE, on iTunes, featuring 14 audio tracks, each with their own video. YES I AM SERIOUS, I AM LISTENING TO IT RIGHT NOW. Download here. Dang, Beyonce was just like, “Yeah, yeah, my album’s coming out sometime soon, so did you see ‘Scandal’ tonight? Crazy huh, oh btw my album just dropped, byeeeee.”
Beyonce released the first part of her “Self-Titled” video series on Facebook, giving fans a behind the scenes look at the making of the album. You can watch that above and, after the jump, some stills from each of the 17 videos also on the album: Keep reading »
Here’s my theory: this whole “going vegan for 22 days” thing was allllllll Jay Z’s idea and he swindled Beyonce into participating. But Bey is starting to miss meat and cheese and dairy and all of its associated deliciousness, and a quiet rage at both Jay and the vegan lifestyle has started to brew inside her. So every time she steps out to a vegan restaurant for the rest of this miserable experiment, Bey is gonna wear her love of animal flesh on her person, goddammit. Yesterday, Bey wore head-to-toe pepperoni pizza print to go out for a vegan lunch. And today she’s taken it up a notch, wearing leather pants and a cow hide sweatshirt to Crossroads Cafe in West Hollywood, a popular, yes, vegan joint. Former Frisky editor, forever friend and vegan Julie Gerstein called it Beyonce’s “silent protest.”
There are still many, many days until this vegan challenge is over. I wonder when Bey will call up Lady Gaga and ask to borrow her meat dress? [Photos: Pacific Coast News]
UM, UPDATE: And another example I missed! On Thursday, Jay and Bey went out for vegan lunch and Beyonce wore FOX FUR. God, I can only imagine PETA’s collective brain is exploding over what to do because on one hand, I’m sure they would love to use Jayonce going vegan as good publicity, but on the other hand, Bey having absolutely zero fucks to give about wearing animals pelts in a vegan restaurant kinds musses up the message. Anyhoo, Jay said that he and Beyonce are doing this vegan challenge for “spiritual reasons,” which I guess we now know has absolutely nothing to do with saving animals.