Perhaps it is because I finally listened to Watch the Throne. Or perhaps it is because I have been writing about Beyonce on this blog for what, three years now. Perhaps it is because I am smack dab in the middle of researching Black women’s sexuality. Perhaps it is because I hear Janelle Harris in the back of my head saying that being married with a baby is the way to go because doing it alone alone is too much work.
I have come to the conclusion that I don’t believe Beyonce.
I think it is the gap between how patriarchal “If you like it you should have put a ring on it” is, and the lack of public intimacy that I have been thinking about this week.
Now here is the thing with writing about pop culture. I know that in taking on people’s beloved artists there is a possibility that they will shut down, cover their ears, and sing lalalalalalalalalalalalaal like a four year old. If you go that route, keep your comments to your self. This is grown shit we are speaking on.
Yes, Beyonce is attractive, talented, hard working, focused and driven. She can perform her ass off. I get that.
But what I also know is that the ways in which she normalizes patriarchy for Black girls need to be interrogated. When I say patriarchy I mean idea that men/masculine people have the right and the power do dominate women and children. For example, patriarchy normalizes lots of janky things like the right for men make more than women for the same work; the right for men take up more space on the train; the right for men to stand on the sidewalk and not move when they see us coming; the right to not clean up shit in the house because it’s women’s work; the right to seek and desire pleasure without being called a failed man; the right for men to be active and women to be passive.
A Black woman who seeks and desires pleasure is called spoiled. Spoiled food is ruined, inedible. It will make you sick.
Being a Black woman with a healthy dating life, I realized that the reason why I don’t believe Beyonce, is that I have never seen her hug her #husbear in public. No hug, no kiss, no face grab.
Now on That’s My Bitch, which is song on Jay-Z’s and Kanye’s new album Watch the Throne Jay-Z raps about her, with out “really” rapping about her saying,
Go harder than a nigga for a nigga, gofigure
Told me keep my own money if we ever did split up
How could someone so gangsta be so pretty in pictures
Ripped jeans and a blazer and some Louboutin slippers
Picasso was alive he woulda made her
That’s right nigga, Mona Lisa can’t fade her
I mean Marilyn Monroe, she’s quite nice
But why all the pretty icons always all-white?
Put some colored girls in the MOMA
Half these broads ain’t got nothing on Wylona
Don’t make me bring Thelma in it
Bring Halle, Bring Penelope and Selma in it
Back to my Beyoncés, you deserve three stacks word to Andre
Call Larry Gagosian
You belong in museums, you belong in vintage clothes crushing the whole building
You belong with niggas who used to be known for dope dealin’
You too dope for any of those civilians
Now shoo children, stop lookin’ at her t*ts
Get your own dog, ya heard
That’s my b**ch
So, if I have this correct, she is his Bitch, well kinda. She belongs to niggas known for dope dealing?
According to her, if he liked it, then he would have put a ring on it.
But I ain’t never seen you kiss this man. Evar. Grab his face. Smack his ass. Something Gina.
I don’t believe you.
Now, @cervantes left a comment questioning my evidence and he has a point. Both Beyonce and Jay have referred to each other publicly. He is correct in that Jay Z has mention her, and she him, publicly. And I will acknowledge this corrective in my post because this is in fact important and significant. However, isn’t there something to be said about the distinction between a public mention, and public affection when you make your bread saying that “You are a success if he gives you a ring”. Why is success measured by having a marriage contract?
I think the post on Clutch by Janelle Harris has influenced me as well. Harris states that while folks living together may be great for some people, for her, she understands the importance of getting married before you have children having had a child 12 years ago and another nine months ago. Harris believes that,
So now, after besting 12 years of single motherhood and nine more months on top of that of being a baby mama, I see now that there is a reason why you should wait to be married before you have little ones. This ish ain’t easy solo. Not that having a husband makes life a cakewalk, but if you’ve picked the right dude, you’ve got a partner to help shoulder and share the responsibilities that come with being a parent, a homeowner—heck, an adult in general.
To them and others who just don’t think it’s that deep, first comes love, second comes marriage, then comes the lady with the baby carriage is a rhyme that didn’t mean much more beyond the playground in elementary school. But to me, it’s the natural order of things, the way the good Lord intended them to be, the modus operandi that makes the most logical sense.
The way God intended? Girrrl, God intended me to be free and to be of service.
Waaaay back in November 2010, my fellow Crunkfeminist @Moyazb stated in response to the No Wedding No Womb meme and the Eddie Long church and sexual violence allegations that,
Perhaps black folks’ ambivalence about marriage signals problems with the institution itself and not with black people.
We are not taught think about how there may be an issue with the institution of marriage rather than with Black people.We are not thinking about other ways to think about family BECAUSE raising children is hella work because doing it alone can lead to a nervous breakdown.
So, if Beyonce is going to be Black women’s ambassador for heterosexual marriage, then ya’ll need to go back to the drawing board.
Can we believe a Love that can’t and won’t be claimed publicly? Especially when the “Love” is constantly referred to, implicitly, in songs.
For GLBTQ folks, claiming your Love publicly can get your assed fired, get you beat on the street, get you kicked out of your biological family. Talk about relationship politics.
Or perhaps their marriage is crude and public example of what marriage in the United States, an economic, legal and property arrangement.
This is why I also believe that folks had such a hard time with the Kim Kardashian’s divorce. Her marriage and divorce exemplified just how much market forces, how much money plays a role in marriage in 2011.
Many of us romantics have a hard time accepting this. But it’s real. As real as that $3.15 latte I just bought. As real as the 35 million people in this country who are on food stamps.
Money matters in our sexual relationships. If you don’t believe me, ask a sex worker or a stripper. Ask the wife of a man who is a millionaire.
I do agree with Janelle on one thing. She states that,
Celebrities wield such heavy influence over what so many folks do, say and believe—including adults, so let’s not front—that Mrs. Carter’s decision to do it the right way (yep, I intentionally left the quotation marks off) just might spark a positive trend.
It is for this reason that I write this piece.
Do you believe Beyonce?
If you refer to your relationship in songs, and if your songs are patriarchal, do you then need to visibly affectionate in order to be believable?
Perhaps patriarchy closes off the space to be affectionate?
Is it meaningful that he put a ring on it but I/we ain’t never seen him kiss her?
#I just wrote my ass off. #Drops mic.