Is Beyonce a hypocrite? I'm starting to think that the only thing that matters to this entertainer is the size of her bank balance and the brightness of her star. Not a bad thing in itself- who am I to judge someone's desire for fame and money- but it becomes increasingly jarring when viewed alongside the conflicting attempts made by the singer to prove that her concerns are of the loftier, more socially conscious, kind.
This month we had Beyonce's 50 million dollar, mega-bucks deal with Pepsi finalised. A deal that will see the "Crazy In Love" singer schilling cans of pop in exchange for the funding of "media placements and promotions around the world...and a “creative development fund". Who pays who to do what isn't something I'm usually bothered about. Besides, Beyonce has been sponsored by Pepsi before [here].
But it becomes more of an issue this time around because just last year B was fronting the "Let's Move" campaign to tackle childhood obesity with Michelle Obama. Obsesity that has been linked to the very type of drinks Beyonce is now going to promote.[Source].
I understand that no one's forcing anybody to drink Pepsi, or to drink in anything but moderation, but with the amount of money herself and husband are pooling- a reported half a billion dollars- how can this look like anything but ham-fisted greed and a lack of integrity.
Then we have Beyonce's involvement in the World Humanitarian Day 2012. An annual event orchestrated by the UN to highlight the heroic action of those helping to bring humanitarian aid to dangerous areas. As it would bring their message to a much wider audience, it made sense for the UN to involve a big star like Beyonce in their campaign. And how did she decide to help the cause and show her honour in being chosen for the role? She used it to promote her floundering album 4 by singing "I was here" at the United Nations.
But she didn't stop there! As well as the handful of interviews, she also donated the profits from the sales of the Diane Warren penned song to the UN charity fund. But it didn't shake the whiff of self promotion from the gesture. Besides, surely it wouldn't have taken much, and certainly would have meant more, for a prolific songwriter/producer/creative force like Beyonce to write an original cut for such a great cause, giving away her own song writing royalties in the process.
If shoehorning her own songs into noble causes wasn't icky enough, today we have Beyonce featured in a video calling for a change to gun laws in the United States[see below]. A great cause, no doubt. But it's sentiment that would have been more believable if she wasn't glamorising guns in her own "art," or her husband, Jay Z, wasn't known for his own violent past [link].
Just check out the stills from the trailer of "Video Phone," below. These are images taken from a song that makes no reference to guns, or violence whatsoever. So why are they present? If that's not glamorising guns, then I don't know what is.
In fairness to Beyonce, a lot of the celebrities in the video calling for changes to the law are people who glamorise the use of guns in their own respective industries, but it doesn't take away from the inconsistencies that mire the singer's own career.
All I ask for is some consistency and a modicum of conviction in the endeavours you pick, Beyonce. Either that or just say it's all about the money and building a holier-than-thou legacy, and keep doing your thing as you are. But I suppose I shouldn't really be surprised by the inconsistencies. You only need to look at her back catalogue to see she's a serial flip-floper. One minute she's calling other women "Nasty Girls", then she's trying to sell me female empowerment and solidarity- "Independent Women"/"Run The World"- all while writing subservient lyrics like:
My life would be purposeless without you, Let me help you take off your shoes, Untie your shoestrings ,take off your cuff-links, what you want to eat Boo? Let me feed you, let me run your bathwater whatever you desire, I'll aspire...Baby I'm yours I want to cater to you
"Cater 2 You"