Sunday, June 9, 2013

W.W.C.I.I.T.M.I. Post 5: Beyoncé

This is a series dedicated to women who despite success in the U.S. Music Industry, have est. a very complicated image for themselves.

*This post in particular marks the 50th post total for the blog. : )*

Round 5 of this post goes to Destiny's Child front-woman, singer, actress, H&M spokesmodel and receiving end of shit-storms left, right and center; Beyoncé.

Born in Houston, Texas, she emerged out like a lot of famous musicians. Shy, insecure and a badass on stage singing their heart out. Her singing talent was cultivated by her infamous mother, Tina Knowles and father, Matthew Knowles. Matthew would first nurture her stage presence by doing the "Star Search" thing. Getting her, alongside future Destiny's Child members Kelly Rowland and LaTavia Roberson they formed the act "Girl's Tyme" and like all famous musicians ended up losing.

Cut to after Matthew leaves his job with Xerox and Tina begins designing the outfits (Every outfit more or less having this reaction...O_O). Destiny's Child would be formed with Beyoncé, Kelly, LaTavia and Letoya Luckett. The group debuted with the song "No, No, No" & corresponding eponymous debut studio effort and what began apart from the career of one of the more well received U.S. based girl-groups, was needless criticism of Beyoncé's star power. The criticism amounted to pretty much this; "Too much attention is on Beyoncé!"
Let's see; her last name is Knowles...her dad is managing them...her mom is designing the costumes...hmmm, I wonder if those have anything to with the obvious. -_- No shit there was a bit of bend towards her! She was being pimped out from the start because her mom and dad had enough faith in her daughter to make it big. Also, if it were just Beyoncé and no one else, there wouldn't even be Destiny's Child as a group; it'd be "Beyoncé and the Destiny's Children backup singers" DUH! Matthew and Tina were smart enough to give their daughter but also 3 other young women the chance at stardom.

The group would emerge as a force to be reckoned with and by the 2nd effort, The Writing's on the Wall, things could only look bigger for the group. "Bills, Bills, Bills" would capitalize on the initial success the group made. Then controversy arose in 2 forms; First, Letoya and LaTavia would be stupid enough to be dissatisfied with Matthew's managing of the group claiming he'd been screwing them out of money. Even if it was true, common sense law:

NEVER Shit-talk your boss. Even if they deserve it, NEVER Shit-talk your boss.

Second, Matthew took an admittedly cheap way out by magically replacing Letoya and LaTavia with Michelle Williams and Farrah Franklin for the "Say My Name" music video [who actually played an ancillary role in the "Bills, Bills, Bills" video as a hairdresser]. Though Williams' and Franklin's vocals weren't on the album, they finished off their video debuts for the single, "Jumpin' Jumpin'". Franklin would eventually leave the group after the video (After finding out her purchase of a Bermuda Triangle condo had been approved. *shaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaade*).

Fast forward to the group's 3rd effort, Survivor. Though as a collective it received lukewarm to favorable reviews, 3 of the most recognizable songs from the Destiny's Child anthology emerged: "Independent Women", "Bootylicious" (Which ended up in the Oxford English Dictionary at around the time English teachers in the nation had reached permanent depression) and the title track, "Survivor". This helped the album reach #1 and be certified multi-platinum.
Finally, the group released its final album the bad pun but fitting, Destiny Fulfilled which would spawn 2 more recognizable hits; "Soldier" ft. T.I. and Lil' Wayne along with easily one of the most sweat inducing songs ever created, "Lose My Breath".

Even through this phase of success, Beyoncé would keep receiving more needless criticism that amounted to the obvious; "She's overshadowing them both!". 3 things with that:

1. Outside of the fact her parents were managing them, she had always been a stand out as she had the best of both singing and stage presence [that and her fucking name is Beyoncé; no one had ever heard of that name until she came along and other person any of us know is named Beyoncé.]

2. She had always been part of a group and unlike most U.S. based girl groups of the late 90s early 00s era, every member of Destiny's Child sang. As ancillary as they had seemed, Kelly and Michelle had contributed a lot to the group; all have songwriting credits and they have some of the most memorable lines in DC anthology [Kelly fit "won't compromise my Christianity" in "Survivor" and Michelle invented "vi-va-vacious" in "Bootylicious".]

3. When the solo careers of each member started after Survivor, Kelly looked to be the breakout star. Her song "Dilemma" ft. Nelly had done much better in the U.S. than Beyoncé's song "Work It Out" for the soundtrack to Austin Powers: Goldmember which she also starred in [and needlessly got read to filth for her acting chops]. *Side note: Michelle would have a moderately successful Contemporary Gospel meets R&B fusion like career*

As mentioned between Survivor and Destiny Fulfilled, Beyoncé's solo career hit a minute bump when "Work It Out" didn't make a huge impact on U.S. charts. However, she emerged out of the gates with a song Cody Belew of The Voice S3 made me realize how good it had always been; "Crazy In Love" ft. future husband Jay-Z. This wasn't the first time the two of them ("Had built castles in the sky"...shut the fuck up, bad pun emitter.) had worked together. She had been featured on his song, "'03 Bonnie & Clyde".
The song would launch the solo career everyone knows of whether they liked her or wanted her to end up "Fender Ketchup". Alongside that, would be the sex on the beach sounding single, "Baby Boy" ft. Sean Paul; the future Making The Band "3.2" audition song "Me, Myself and I" and the suggestive as hell "Naughty Girl". Those songs propelled her debut album, Dangerously In Love to commercial success.

Cut to after her song for the 2006 adaptation of The Pink Panther, "Check on It", was scrapped for the soundtrack but was placed on the Destiny's Child greatest hits compilation, #1's. Her sophomore effort, B'Day would emerge to success with the lead single and 3rd collaborative effort with Jay-Z, "Déjà Vu". [Personally, this is the best Beyoncé and Jay-Z collaboration they have. Keep in mind, only Cody Belew made me appreciate how well the song had apparently aged when he performed it on The Voice.] Her follow up single, "Ring The Alarm" while an instrumentally bombastic tune had a little less success on the charts while still peaking in the Billboard Top 15.
However, the single would mark another bit of needless controversy; a supposed rivalry with Rihanna who'd always been rumored as Jay-Z's "side piece*" as opposed to an artist he signed to Def Jam when he became the head of the label (* Code for sexual liaison outside of a romantic relationship) The song was read to filth in the aspect that she had been putting the supposed tryst on notice. Why read something to filth up and down and round and round if there's no goddamn proof?
After that "controversy" died down, she went on to release one of the biggest and most overrated #1 singles; "Irreplaceable" (This is MrSwearword V.S. Everyone for a reason) *Fun fact: this song was originally written by Ne-Yo for his use, but due to societal gender stereotyping he shopped the song to many a female artists before Beyoncé decided to take it for her use* Add the scintillating "Beautiful Liar" ft. Shakira and B'Day had been proof that Beyoncé's solo career was no fluke.

Cut past her roles in the film adaptation of Dreamgirls and Cadillac Records to her 2009 effort, I Am...Sasha Fierce. This would be Bey's most artistic effort to date as the album would be a 2 disc concept; "I Am" being Bey and "Sasha Fierce" being her alter-ego taking over on CD as opposed to stage. "Sasha Fierce" was the personification of Beyoncé's stage presence taking over the quite reserved and private singer. Despite the album reaching #1, the songs would be unintentionally some of the most divisive she had released. "If I Were A Boy", "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)", "Diva" and "Sweet Dreams" would be the more positively received songs from the album (And out of those I like "Sweet Dreams" and "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)") "Halo" would be the most divisive of the songs the album had. I don't understand why; the song is good and is one of her strongest ballads no matter how much contributor, Louis Virtel hates this song (Fuck anonymity; I name names proudly).

Fast forward to more needless controversy around her birthing Blue Ivy [a supposed fake pregnancy while a surrogate would actually birth Blue Ivy -_-] her most recent effort, 4, would be a more positively received collective than I Am...Sasha Fierce would be. Although that didn't seem to be the picture when the lead single "Run The World (Girls)" was met with mixed reviews, backlash for its sample of "Pon de Floor" by Major Lazer and lukewarm chart performance [peaking at #29 on the Hot 100 O_O]. The video would make up for the aforementioned elements, but 4 teetered close to being "86'd".
However, things improved when the deliciously vindictive ballad "Best Thing I Never Had" was met with better reception and slightly better chart performance. Then, "Countdown" while catchy didn't exactly last long on the charts and ushered in more criticism. Here it is in a nutshell because I find it pointless; some Belgian choreographer claimed Beyoncé had ripped off some elements of hers for the music video. She claimed she was neither offended nor flattered at the "liberal using" of her elements.
Oh really, bitch? Then why speak up about it? Say something only if you plan on suing Bey for ripping off something from your damn "Achterland" and "Rosas danst Rosas" pieces. Other than that, keep your damn mouth shut and be glad people now know the names of those fucking things. [That has always been something that irked me; if people admit that they took inspiration from something but get shit on for being "too much" like what they took inspiration from; shut up! Be glad some shitty, esoteric nothingness gets some recognition by a relevant artist] *Sorry, I can get really pissy when people shit on Beyoncé for seemingly no reason* Add on the New Edition inspired "Love On Top" and its #1 peak on the Hot 100 R&B/Hip Hop charts and the era of 4 concludes.
Add her kickass SuperBowl half-time performance that made up for Madonna's crappy performance the year before, her new Pepsi deal and her new singles "Bow Down/I Been On" and "Grown Woman" alongside becoming the latest H&M designer/model (with her still functioning House of Deréon fashion line to her name) and the question below is begged.

So what exactly makes Beyoncé one of many W.W.C.I.I.T.M.I.? A lot in terms of overall image. Early Destiny's Child era saw the "overshadow" criticism along with her skin tone being castigated by the black community for no reason. When she fell for Jay-Z that brought along the dumbest rumors of her; the Illuminati membership crap (It's like the Freemasons if they worshipped the devil). Everything from her songs played backwards "spelling out occultist spells" bullshit; music videos containing devil praising things like triangles and horses; the "Roc-a-fella" hand gesture being Illuminati code as well and even Blue Ivy being dragged into this shit. Add on to that, constant fuckery by people who hate her music [and frankly are stupid for doing so] and that's one aspect of her image; constant non-controversy being drawn.
On the other hand an actual scandal emerged when it was revealed by documents given to WikiLeaks, she alongside the likes of Mariah Carey and Usher had received a shitload of money for concerts to family members of fallen and deceased Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi. Beyoncé's case was a 2009 New Year's Eve gig on the island of St. Bart's. However much she had received by the time the scandal hit, the sum amount had been donated to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund to aid those who'd been affected by the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

So even if quality hadn't deteriorated over the years, unneeded backlash and/or controversy only hinders Beyoncé's reign as a goddamn megastar. Something that really can't be said for 3 of the other women covered in this series (Christina Aguilera is fucking fabulous as well so figure out the rest. : P)

Next up; Madonna fans will be seething with rage once they know who I'm Gaga over instead of her.

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