Beyoncé the culture vs. Beyoncé the brand

Beyoncé is more than her “I’m growns,” “uh-oh-uh-oh-uh-oh-oh-no-no’s” and “surfboarts.” Regardless of whether she is making headlines because of a rumoured divorce, a sexually explicitly and not-so-feminist music video or a feud with Princess RiRi, Beyonce has a culture that goes along with her that is the utmost positive, empowering and motivating.

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Aside from the fact that she always wears negative amounts of clothing while her husband is dressed from head to toe, Beyoncé’s character (marketing infused character, perhaps) is showcased to the world as an independent woman who can have her job, her baby (a rumoured second child on the way) and her man all while looking incredible and acting like she could literally run the world in one finger snap. (Read: I do not believe having a job, a baby and a man make life perfect, but society does and Beyoncé has “attained” said perfection, therefore society views her as a queen…And in my humble opinion, she would still be a queen even if she didn’t have anything but her career).

 tumblr_n6zc9h2n6s1qej93ko4_250And, though some perceive her music to come across egotistical and too catty, I like to believe the purposes of a lot of her songs are to encourage others to feel the same way: Confident.

Though I don’t know the R&B queen, it’s obvious that like all other celebrities, she has to retain an image. And, just like every other celebrity, gossip magazines everywhere are determined to find a crack in her flawless persona. Exhibit A: Solange.  Exhibit B: Solange rumoured to be confirming rumours about Jay Z being a not-so-innocent hubby, out cheating with mistresses (clearly his 101st, 102nd, 103rd etc problems. Solange being the 100th). Exhibit C: Divorce rumours followed by baby rumours – the saviours to the divorce rumours.

Yet, each time I listen to a song by Beyoncé, especially on her new album, I never catch myself thinking, “What a way too explicit thing for a female to sing!” Instead, I am filled with confidence assuring me that I, too, can live in this Beyoncé culture and do everything I’ve ever wanted. I am convinced that I can get through my hardest days because though Beyoncé has minions working for her every moment of every day, the 24 hours in both our days are the same, and look at what she has accomplished.

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I am far from a celebrity and I would never want millions of people flashing cameras at me all day. But, what I do want is to feel accomplished and to feel happy (unintended “Pretty Hurts” reference). For Beyoncé, that might actually mean retaining the image that her marriage is perfect (her songs and humble demeanour suggest that it’s perfect and that it needs no retaining). For me, though, I measure success in how happy I am, how productive I’ve been and the differences I’ve made.

We become the people we are because of the culture around us. No, I am not who I am because of Beyoncé. But, I often feel driven and purposeful because of her messaging, her belief in herself and her “boss” attitude. I’ve been listening to her (and the ladies of Destiny’s Child) since I was born.

I love Beyoncé not because she has lost 65 pounds since the birth of her babe or has a net worth of $900 million (combined with Jay Z’s). I love her aura and her confidence inducing/flawlessly provocative way of helping me to feel comfortable in my own skin. I love that, though it might all be for a pay cheque and eight tabloid articles, I can literally zone out from anything making me feel less than I am, watch this video and feel like I’ve found my life’s purpose once again.

Will my attachment to her fall and crumble when she breaks (as all celebrities at their highest points do)? Probably. I will actually cry and sob if she and Jay Z pursue the most expensive divorce in celebrity history. I will probably go into mourning the day something or someone makes her image crack. I, along with so many others, have built up this pedestal for ourselves to be the people we know we can be, to say yes to absolutely every challenge and to own every carefully crafted mistake because of ideas surrounding a songstress who jiggles her arm fat on stage and lip synchs at a presidential inauguration and then deals with it like the pro she is.

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Celebrities are like phone cases. They are designed to protect a product, they are always forced to replicate certain trends and are sometimes too flashy. Like phone cases, celebrities break when handled poorly, they get scuffed up when tossed around and they get even more flashy when attention levels around them lower. Beyoncé, the brand, is no different. Beyoncé, the person, we can never know. But, Beyoncé, the idea and the culture, which have been constructed since the moment Beyoncé, the person, blessed this world with her beautiful singing and dancing when Destiny’s Child emerged in 1990, freakin’ rocks.

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(All .gif images from this post are from this amazing tumblr).

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