This opinion piece, Mrs. O and Beyoncé: A Problematic Love Fest?, has shown up in my social media feeds for the last couple of days so let’s start a conversation here on ‘unscripted.’
Recently, First Lady Michelle Obama and Beyoncé have been exchanging pleasantries with each other.
‘The Pink Panther’ star wrote a public letter to the First Lady expressing how grateful she is that her daughter can grow up in a world where someone in the highest office in the land resembles her.
Mrs. Obama responded to Beyoncé in a tweet, “thank you for the beautiful letter and for being a role model who kids everywhere can look up to.”
@Beyonce Thank you for the beautiful letter and for being a role model who kids everywhere can look up to. –mo
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) April 13, 2012
Days later People Magazine asks First Lady Obama if she could trade places with anyone in the world who would it be?
“Gosh. If I had some gift, I’d be Beyoncé, I’d be some great singer,” the First Lady responded.
Now they are facing backlash from readers—The Root.com’s Demetria L. Lucas in particular.
According to Lucas, Mrs. Obama’s admiration of the pop star “sends a damaging, demeaning and dangerous message to women and girls.”
Lucas characterized Beyoncé’s success to the following:
She is only slightly more role model-esque than three of the four reality stars ironically gracing the current cover of Vibe. Let’s keep it funky, folks: Beyoncé’s talent — the one that’s made her a multimillionaire and a household name — is the ability to habitually line-step on the Madonna-whore dichotomy. That is to say, she has mastered the art of moving her tush like a stripper and her hips like a porn star, and she still manages to be perceived as a lady and some sort of feminist. Women who have done the same or less have faced more criticism.
Her lyrics fluctuate between empowerment lite and sending women nearly back to the June Cleaver dark ages. For every “Me, Myself and I,” “Irreplaceable” or “Love on Top,” there are songs like “Cater 2 U,” where Bey (during her Destiny’s Child days) does everything for her man, from untying his shoestrings to offering a manicure.
The excerpt above is what stood out to me, several of my colleagues, and many in the social media sphere.
It was a hot topic is the WUMR (one of the stations where I work) studio yesterday and both of my female counterparts brought up how she attacked what Beyoncé wears and how she dresses on stage. Both highlighted that she wears more clothing than the average back up dancer in a hip-hop video and when Lucas compares the ‘Obsessed’ actress’ songs she is comparing song lyrics from two different eras in Knowles’ life.
Before I ask for you to chime in, see what those around the web have said:
The absolute NERVE of you comparing Beyoncé to Evelyn Lozada, Tamar Braxton, and Chrissy Lumpkin. That makes NO sense. @abelleinbk
— Ian x 10. (@Iantuition) June 1, 2012
I seriously was disappointed by @abelleinbk . To evaluate Beyonce’s worthiness in the same misogynist rhetoric was irresponsible. No shade.
— Brittany Love (@beymagnifique) June 2, 2012
Bey Stans don’t faze me. Nicki Minaj told y’all on “ass” what to do if you dont like it. Kiss my…. LOL — Demetria Lucas(@abelleinbk) June 1, 2012
So @abelleinbk has the nerves to call Beyoncé a Bad Role model but yet she quotes a Nicki Minaj song. OKAY.
— Sarah Knowles (@iStan4QueenB) June 1, 2012
So I’m guessing that if Michelle Obama would have said that she wanted to be Nicki Minaj you wouldn’t have a problem, right?@abelleinbk
— The Vocalista.(@HelloKennedi) June 1, 2012
While the tweeters are outraged the facebookers run the gambit saying, ‘that’s your opinion, they’re friends, cool, next topic.’ ►See Screenshot Click Here.
Josh’s Note: To characterize the singer, the actress, the entertainer, the designer and the businesswoman— someone who put in fifteen years of hard work to get where she is in life—in the same vein as a stripper, adult film star or a reality star is beyond farfetched.
No, I do not know what message a young woman would receive from the First Lady’s praise (and Miss Lucas is entitled to her opinion).
However, I still differ in sentiment with Lucas.
As a young man, what do I see is two women who admire each other. Two women who respect each other and two women who respect each other’s profession.
What I see is the opposite what is displayed “every time a reality show airs.” Their “‘love fest’ is combating the negative images of black women who pull wigs or throw wine bottles.
Is it justifiable to compare Beyoncé to a stripper, porn star and the four on Vibe?
Readers do you think Lucas made a correct assessment of First Lady Michelle Obama’s praise for Mrs. Carter?