Did you know that Black women were at war? Yeah. Neither did I. But in an attempt to illicit a response from established Black Twitter intelligentsia and to prove its general “bout-it, bout-it-ness”, The Huffington Post went live with a story titled “Beyonce’s Album Sparks Black Twitter Feminism War”. Oh. Word?
In truth, B’s surreptitious album release has sparked a lively and meaningful debate among Black women regarding Beyonce’s claim to the feminist title . One faction regards her latest album as a feminist manifesto, embodied by the song “Flawless” which features a compelling call to feminism orated by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. Others see “Flawless” as a feminist sample on an otherwise contradictory album that instructs women to “bitch, bow down” and features hubby Jay-Z delivering lines like “I’m Ike Turner, turn up/Baby know I don’t play/Now eat the cake, Anna Mae.”
For many Black women, even those who don’t walk around spewing Bell Hooks, Beyonce’s brazen sexuality and uxorious lyrics don’t stand up to the feminist critique, and certainly not the Black feminist critique which rejects hyper-sexual representations of Black womanhood.
Personally, I think its fair to elevate Beyonce to cultural icon status without haphazardly slapping on the title of feminist just because she sang several songs with a girl-power theme. First of all, the implications of what it means to be Black and to be a feminist are constantly shifting so not one of us can definitely set the parameters. Secondly, as an artist Beyonce is entitled to contradictions that would more than likely conflict with her feminist status. And furthermore, I’m inclined to agree with the brilliant ladies at Real Colored Girls when they write, “Can’t we just love Bey as an amazing corporate artist without selling out the hard-won accomplishments of our black feminist and womanist foremothers? ”
Beyonce’s role or lack there of in advancing the feminist agenda can’t be argued in the 140 characters that Twitter allows and to be honest, few Black women have tried. To be really honest, the greater source of backlash against B’s new outlash has come from the mainstream feminist agenda, but that’s another story for another day.
Huffington Post’s story is just a brazen example of the media attempting to shape Black social dialogue across the internet, and because we’re not here for that, Black twitter used the HuffPo story as a launching pad for another amusing trend topic titled #BlackFeminismTwitterWar. The hashtag happened quickly, like within the time span of a good lunch break, but in that time BT’s finest tweeted urgent and often hysterical messages from the trenches.
Ayesha is a writer, dancer, and the founder of WomenLovePower.com, a tech-enabled brand that provides resources on charm, seduction, sacred sexuality, and feminine warfare. A self-confessed afromantic, Ayesha's first love is romantic fiction and poetry. When away from her keyboard, she enjoys New Jack Swing throwbacks, 90's sitcoms, running, sleep, and Cabernet.
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