As the the anniversary of Lemonade approaches in April, and Women's History Month is coming to a close, I think it's important to address what the Queen herself has done for my identity as a black woman. Growing up in a very Christian home, I was limited in how much secular music I was allowed to listen to. However, Beyoncé was always one person my parents let slide. Growing up a Beyoncé fan has allowed her to help shape what being a black woman means to me. For that reason, I'd like to pay homage to all the times Beyoncé has made me proud to be a black woman.
1. When she wore invisible braids.
I'm not even sure what this style was, but this was when preadolescent me knew she was a trendsetter. If she could wear her braids and Yaki like a weave, so could I.
2. When she and Destiny's Child made a song called "Bootylicious."
At the time, and even now, anything with "licious" at the the end seemed associated with sexuality. Black women are so often hypersexualized. For that reason, anytime I saw Black women owning their sexuality and their attractiveness while making it fun, I was in awe. The song is literally called "Bootylicious," which turned a lot of heads. Now, the word is in the dictionary which speaks volumes.
3. When she made a song called "Independent Women" on the same album.
At the same time that women were being open and free about being fine as hell, they turned around and let you know they were about their business. For a young girl like me, I realized that women are multidimensional. You don't have to be one or the other.
4. When she let every man know that they are, in fact, replaceable.
Instead of hitting from the angle that she is irreplaceable, she let these men know that they are not. I don't need to beg for a man to stay because I could have another you in a minute.
5. When she came out with House of Deréon.
House of Deréon came out right before the decline of "urban designers." Being a young black girl in a predominantly white setting, I was often the only one up on game. Everyone else loved singing about the brand, seeing that Beyonce sometimes referenced it in her lyrics, but I was usually the only one wearing it.
6. When she didn't hesitate to let everyone know who runs the show.
If you've ever seen a Beyoncé show, she goes above and beyond to turn her concert into a full out production. All of her projects are masterpieces. It takes being firm in what you want, and not letting lackluster effort pass. Some may say she's bossy, but she shuts that down and let's everyone know that she's the boss. There's no need to apologize for striving for perfection, no matter what labels get thrown at us.
7. When she showed that no matter how much money you have, the no nonsense Black mama in you always comes out.
Even an heir like Blue Ivy has gotten that index finger pointed at her for acting up in public. I can hear her saying, "you got one more time to act up or it's me and you," through the picture.
8. When she never hesitated to uplift other black women.
Beyoncé continues to honor and show respect to black women from all ages and walks of life. In a world that still disrespects the black woman everyday, it's important that we support and uplift each other. Never waste the platform you've earned.
9. When she didn't go to Kim and Kanye's wedding.
Look, let's be real. We know how many black women feel about the Kardashians. We also know that it's always been speculated that Bey doesn't like Kim. Of course Bey will never confirm or deny that to us, but for her to not go to the wedding seemed very telling. The shade of it all is that during their wedding, she posted a selfie with some bomb ass cornrows.
10. When she let her baby's hair be free and natural despite negative backlash.
I've heard every negative comment you can think of about Blue Ivy, especially when it comes to her hair. People aren't thinking about what kind of effects such nasty comments will have on a little girl's self confidence; they're worried about sticking to what they know. Most black celebrities on Beyonce's caliber wouldn't let their child's hair go untamed and free. Bey let y'all know she does not care what y'all think by letting her baby's hair flourish. Now her edges are thick and strong. Go awf, lil sis.
11. When she very calmly told you to stop minding her business, and worry about your coins in "Formation."
Beyoncé addressed all the negative comments y'all have about her, her career and her family all while telling you to get your paper up. Not to mention, she had Big Freedia on the track and let us know that she keeps hot sauce in her bag. What a black and beautiful way to slay us all.
12. When she then went on to perform "Formation" at the Super Bowl, letting all the girls know that she's Black and proud.
She made all of Trump's America upset for paying homage to the Black Panthers. Despite efforts to "boycott Beyoncé," she let all of the United States, and the world, know that she loves her negro nose with Jackson 5 nostrils, and there's simply nothing you can do about it.
13. When she broke down the narrative of black women's pain in a visual album.
"The most disrespected person in America is the black woman."
Beyoncé let us know that even she was not above the pain that so many black women face generation after generation. While pairing her visuals with poems from Warsan Shire, she got vulnerable and addressed the hurt we feel.
14. When at the end of it all she encouraged us to turn those lemons into Lemonade.
She turned the story around and made it one of redemption and healing. The narrative of black women doesn't stop at pain, but at hope and perseverance.
15. When no matter how much fame and millions she has, she's still out that H-Town, coming down, dripping candy on the ground.
Earned all this money, but you'll never take the country out her. No matter what, she stays true to her roots and encourages us all to be proud of where we come from. After all, it's not where we come from, it's where we're going.