James Brown told us this is a man’s world, but Beyonce reminded us girls actually run this motha.
And what better place and time for Queen Bey to assert her power than the ‘Dome’ on Super Bowl Sunday, the most testosterone-driven day of the year than?
The ironic juxtaposition of female empowerment and football gets to the heart of why Beyonce’s become America – and the world’s – favorite fetish.
She empowers the ladies with messages of self-love and respect, particularly of your bank account. Make sure your man has the ability to pay the “Bills, Bills, Bills” but ladies should also keep enough in the bank to be an “Independent Woman,” so that, if your man starts tripping, he’ll find out he’s not “Irreplaceable.”
But, she can also sing directly to the fellas deepest fantasies of adoration and unbridled sexuality. She’s so “Crazy In Love” with you, her prince, that she’s upgraded you to a king and will “Cater To You” all day and night and have you dreaming “Sweet Dreams.”
Powerful women can spend years wrestling with the balance of power in work and relationships. Beyonce has somehow mastered and monetized that great quest for life symmetry (even if it only exists to us in song). Oh, and did I mention she just so happens to be married to Shawn ‘Jay-Z’ Carter, one of the most powerful men in Hip Hop?
No wonder this woman, who lacks an education beyond high school, has intellectuals like Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama calling her a role model. Beyonce just gets women.
Artistically speaking, Beyonce isn’t exactly a pioneer. Janet Jackson, who performed in that ill-fated Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show, was the first true African American mainstream pop performer to incorporate inklings of an urban sound (Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis’ brand of Minneapolis funk was as black as it gets). Whitney (no last name necessary) was a pop princess. And TLC is arguably the most message-driven girls group in music history. (I mean, Left Eye, game out the gate wearing condom on her left eye to promote safe sex.) The group’s final album before the untimely death of Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes, Fanmail, featured songs about self-love in the hit “Unpretty” and “No Scrubs” was the precursor to Destiny Child’s ‘Bills, Bills, Bills.’ Even, Beyonce’s stage presence often draws its aggression and glamour from progenitor’s like Tina Turner and Diana Ross.
So, yeah, it’s hard to rightfully say that Beyonce a true-blue original. But she’s elevated the art of performance with her all-girl band, the Suga Momas, by paying homage to earlier artists who paved the way. And, quite frankly, there is no one in the music game today that can come close to delivering the value of her entertainment dollar. Her reach stretches from urban clubs to 20,000-seat arenas in almost every city in America and beyond.
But, perhaps more profoundly, Beyonce embraces the complex facets of womanhood, from the vulnerability of being in love to the irresistible, important message of self-empowerment in 21st century America.
And what better time than this to celebrate powerful women?
We saw a record number of women sworn into Congress, last year. The 2012 Olympics saw a record number of women participants. Hollywood is even finally starting to embrace women with strong lead roles in box-office hits like in the fantasy thriller Hunger Games or the real-life thriller documenting the woman who helped track down Bin Laden in Zero Dark Thirty.
Beyonce is providing the soundtrack to this narrative of today’s American woman, perhaps embodied best by our First Lady, who works hard to navigate her way in this man’s world while uplifting her husband and children. This is why Bey was asked to sing in two Presidential Inaugurations. And this is why she will transfix the nation during the #PepsiHalftime Show.
Love or hate her, Beyonce is a global icon. She is the woman’s response to James Brown. And, yes, we do run this mutha.
(Tune in when Beyonce takes the stage at the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show this Sunday #PepsiHalftime.)