I would like to introduce a piece from a new friend of mine. We met a few weeks ago and bonded over our love of my favorite singer of all time – Whitney Houston!! Telling me I look like a young Whitney will get you a long way in life. While I am not a HUGE Beyoncé fan, I am absolutely a fan of breaking down cultural barriers, and this post is an inspiring cry for social justice. Without further ado I introduce you to Jonathan from Sun Tea for the Soul:
Growing up, I heard America described as “a melting pot of culture, colors, and ideologies.” Over the years, I’ve definitely been exposed to many of each, but a “melting pot” is not how I’d describe this country. Maybe, a nice sized gumbo with more rice than roux, and a few pieces of sausage and okra.
Is that wrong for me to say? Maybe that’s still incorrect. How about a tray lunch with different pieces of food segmented off in different areas, with occasional interaction if stirred or scooped together to add “flavor”? Let’s go with that one.
I bring this up because once again I’m in awe. I live in a country that always brags about how diverse and inclusive it is, but instead all I see are people picking and choosing who has the right to be in certain places in order to fit “their” vision of a diverse and inclusive America.
For example, Wednesday night, Beyoncé, who has been slaying the music industry and social justice world all 2016, performed at the Country Music Association awards show and along with tons of praise, received lots of backlash. Queen Bey has been targeted with hateful controversy and misguided criticism since early February when she gave birth to FORMATION. The video of the hottest song in 2016 was under fire for months because of its illustration of Bey’s disdain for police brutality against black people. She has unnecessarily been called a racist, un-American, and a hypocrite. Naturally, her slayage at the CMAs was not well received by some people, especially since it involved the amazing Dixie Chicks, who were blacklisted by the CMA after stating their distaste for then-President Bush and his politics.
Country music, as an industry, has a history of being as diverse as white rice on a paper plate caught in the snow, with maybe a few splashes of color. The question being asked by many is “why would the chart-topping music icon, who happens to be a black woman, even attend such an event?” The real question should be “why not?”
No Beyoncé is not traditionally a country musician, however, the song DADDY LESSONS from her LEMONADE album possesses elements commonly found in country music, and the record alone has been well received by many listeners. Obviously, the problem was not that a traditional pop and R&B singer was performing at the awards show, but a black woman who has had enough of the ignorance and used her celebrity platform to express this.
Now many have claimed that this is not the case for the backlash Beyoncé and the CMA received following the show, such as vulgar and racist comments on social media that led the CMA to remove any evidence of Beyoncé’s presence from all accounts before the event began. However, I am curious as to why some would say that when so much of the controversy is influenced by comments targeting Queen Bey specifically stating she’s “Not welcome,””Doesn’t belong,” and “represents what’s wrong with America.” Some CMA fans even expressed “Has a Country artist ever been invited to their BET awards? No,” again inferring that the CMAs is perceived as a “whites only” affair.
Folks can stay mad and continue to pretend that racism doesn’t exist, but if there’s anything Beyoncé’s performance did, it was show that diversity and inclusion is not yet universally present in this country or the music industry.
The narrative of race-specific music will die, and all opposed can sit back and watch. Beyoncé slayed, smiled racism and exclusion in the face, and once again showed everyone she, a black woman, can do anything: a message to us all.
Written by Jonathan R. Brown at http://www.sunteaforthesoul.weebly.com
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