Tag Archives: Beyonce

Why Girls Love “Beyonce”: Redefining The Rules Of Modern Femininity

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“Perfection is so… eh.”

Like every flip wrist wearing, Lisa Frank binder toting girl growing up in the ’90s, I had the Janet album as an 8 year old on repeat. In my eyes, Janet Jackson was one of the most beautiful women I’d ever seen, so self assured and sexy as she’d slink across MTV in her music videos, grabbing men by the neck, having her way with them. Those days have come and gone, but between that time the messages were dulled with even more messages.

Meet the overachievers. Once young girls are selected to be the “smart ones,” they are bred to be high performing, high achieving scholarship winners, with pristine GPAs and even more pristine reputations. Anything that would deter her from that one track Ivy League and corner office plan was a distraction, and was therefore dangerous to the blueprint set before them.

When Beyonce dropped her latest album last week, out of nowhere, Twitter went into a frenzy, and it seemed like for women, Christmas came early. And like Janet, the album and all of its visuals have definitely ignited a spark like a moth to a flame for the women listening. You can see it in all of the status updates and every Instagram selfie with the #Beyonce hashtag.

On her terms, the perfect pop star with the perfect life and the perfect body showed us one thing: she’s not perfect. From the way it was dropped, Beyonce has shunned her pop Queen crown but retaining it, shaking it off and redefining it so that the new image fits the woman she’s become. The cool lesson in it all? She’s still the Queen B. Like only Michael Jackson has done in the past, Beyonce was able to command the attention of the world and drop the mic. Just because she could.

Beyonce’s latest is already my favorite of her catalog. Maybe it’s because she’s a peer, and I’ve felt that need to buck the stereotypes about female identity at this stage in my life. Maybe it’s because at this point in my career, I’m able to assert myself and make “power moves” in a way I couldn’t before. I’m blessed (and worked hard for) the opportunity to be innovative and lead, negotiate and nurture talent. And maybe because I’ve become in tune with my power through running that’s made me love and notice my body more than I ever have in the past. It may have to do with the confidence I feel as a girl from New York City to not feel the need to cover up when I’m walking through the streets because of unwanted attention of men who think they know everything they need to about me when I pass by in skinny jeans. And maybe it’s because I’ve been reading a lot of “50 Shades of Grey” these days.

I applaud Beyonce for the vulnerability that she’s allowed herself at this stage in her career. In a year when images of women objectifying themselves for a quick 15 minutes of fame on a reality show or on a “Wrecking Ball” seemed like the only way for relevancy, Bey owned both her art and her sexuality.

The reason I love the new “Beyonce” record, is that she let herself be vulnerable. And in that way, she carves a niche for the listener to vulnerable as well.

When she presses play, she can let go of the pressure to be perfect, close her eyes and picture the dreams, fantasies  and memories of her own story. She can do her own little bounce in the mirror as she gets ready for her day, wink at herself and say, “I woke up like dis.” She can chop off her hair, rock it in a sleek bob, or let it flow free on her shoulders. It’s all beautiful and feminine simply because the woman herself is the constant. She can be reminded that women can be powerful sexual beings who do not need to aspire to marriage when she needs a wake up call. She can envision herself making love to her man in every possible way, and take control when the mood and the need hits her.

It’s hard not to romanticize the album so soon, but I’m just a woman writing what I feel. Vulnerable isn’t scary anymore.

Thanks, B.

We teach girls to shrink themselves
To make themselves smaller
We say to girls
“You can have ambition
But not too much
You should aim to be successful
But not too successful
Otherwise you will threaten the man”
Because I am female
I am expected to aspire to marriage
I am expected to make my life choices
Always keeping in mind that
Marriage is the most important
Now marriage can be a source of
Joy and love and mutual support
But why do we teach to aspire to marriage
And we don’t teach boys the same?
We raise girls to each other as competitors
Not for jobs or for accomplishments
Which I think can be a good thing
But for the attention of men
We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings
In the way that boys are
Feminist: the person who believes in the social
Political, and economic equality of the sexes

-Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “We Should All Be Feminists”

Beyonce & Jay-Z Welcome Baby Blue Ivy

Baby, it’s you…

IV. The Carter-Knowles were so enraptured by the Roman numeral that they sported matching tattoos on their ring fingers before tying the knot. Now it’s the perfect namesake for their brand new baby girl, Blue Ivy Carter.

And although most of the world is awaiting first photos, and the chance to watch the Wonder Woman-like Beyonce transition into motherhood, all I can think of is the happiest father in New York City, Shawn Carter.

Little girls are awesome. I know this because I used to be one. They’re bubbly, a perfect blend of sweetness and sass, and are way too much fun to dress up. Moms love them dearly, but there’s something about a little girl that melts a father’s heart. I’m fortunate enough to have a great relationship with my dad, and an uncle who was like my bonus dad. They’d both let me get away with things that my mom never would, like eating pickles and drinking soda at midnight, or watching that extra episode of Married With Children. I would alter the Sunday morning New York Times into a mangled form, just to look at pictures, and they would just say, “It’s ok, she’s reading. Let her have it.” Or they would pick me up and carry me around Six Flags on their shoulders when my legs got too tired.

These are the moments, and a million more, I wish for Jay-Z. Can’t wait to see the car seat in the Maybach. And little Miss Carter has a million godparents across the world, so excited for her arrival.

Jay-Z feat. B.I.C.: “Glory”

5 Best Albums Of My Year: Beyonce: 4


“I feel more complete than I’ve ever felt. I feel more beautiful than I’ve ever felt. Stronger, and proud of myself.”- Beyonce

4 is my favorite number. I remember telling everyone I could, “It’s August 4th and I’m four!” on my fourth birthday. Luckily for me, I share my birthday with President Barack Obama, who I think is cooler than sliced bread, so I’m in very good company. And there are four letters in my favorite word: Love. So it comes as no surprise that one of my favorite albums of the year would be entitled 4. The elements that make up Beyonce’s strongest album to date, proves that good things do come in 4’s.

I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to not love Beyonce just a little this year. Maybe it was her “Run The World” show-stopping performance on Oprah’s finale show, her new fragrance, or at least one video of her never-ending collection. Or maybe it was proud Papa Jay’s huge smile when she whipped open her jacket and revealed her baby bump for the first time. Previously, I couldn’t really connect with Bey. Destiny’s Child and her earlier solo albums seemed so polished and rehearsed, and I couldn’t find the connection that I have with all of my favorite artists. This year, I could connect to a Beyonce who stepped out on her own, ending her managerial relationship with her father. I could connect to a Beyonce who rocked out with Coldplay and jammed to Diplo. I could connect to a Beyonce in love.

Every song on 4 is filled with so much emotion, backed with the strength and confidence that only comes from life experience. “1+1” finds her expressing that vulnerable kind of love, the kind of passion that just takes over good sense: “I don’t know much about fighting but I know I will fight for you. Just when I ball up my fists, I’m laying right next to you.” She loves her some Jay-Z. That fact has never been more apparent. There’s strength on “I Care,” rooted more deeply than just telling someone to “put a ring on it.” She even moved herself to tears while performing the Frank Ocean-penned “I Miss You” at her Roseland shows in NYC. Everyone’s been here before: “No matter who you are, it is so simple a feeling, but it’s everything.”

The lyrics of the summer kiss-off anthem “Best Thing I Never Had” is so much more than fodder for Facebook statuses. She thanks you for leaving her behind, because you simply freed her for the right one. She knows you want her back, but it’s just too bad.

“Rather Die Young” finds her sexy in a way that’s less Sasha Fierce and a lot more Bey. Just like any young woman, she’s coming into the kind of sexiness that pours out when she’s simply in love. The “good girl falls for edgy boy” lyrics are relatable, because, let’s face it,  we’ve all been there before, too. “Love On Top,” the New Edition-esque stunner finds her singing  with love for the person she can’t wait to meet the most. She playfully refers to her husband on the bombastic “Countdown,” in a way she never had in the past.

The Diplo-produced “End Of Time” is hands down my favorite track of the year. For those who read my blog often, there isn’t much more I can say about this song that I haven’t said already. It’s the most rhythmic song on 4, and it’s known that I adore anything resembling dancehall. But when I hear it, I close my eyes, and immediately think of jumping into that one person’s arms, and feeling the world melt around me. She follows up with the Trent Reznor-sampled “I Was Here,” bringing my love of rock and r&b together with words that I hope to live up to in my own life:

I just want them to know, that I gave my all, did my best, brought someone happiness. Left this world a little better just because… I was here.

Over the course of just one year, Beyonce can consider her mission accomplished.

The J List: The Dirty 30 Edition

Happy Birthday, Brit Brit! This playlist is a collection of music from the artists who turned 30 this year, from Bey to Lil Flip, and everyone in between!

xo,j

The J List: The Dirty 30 Edition

Video Premiere: Beyonce: “Dance For You”


I wanna show you how much I really care about your heart…

It’s a classic scene from any black and white film: Show up at your lover’s door in nothing but a raincoat and sexy lingerie. Of course, Beyonce pulls the scene off flawlessly in her new video, “Dance For You.” The hot mama channels 1940s movie star Veronica Lake, and performs a sexy boardroom desk dance for a special agent.

Beyonce is the gift that keeps on giving this year. Having dropped videos for nearly every track on her latest album 4, she’s now releasing clips for her bonus cuts. The Dream-produced “Dance For You” is one of my favorite tracks from Bey, and the visuals surely do it justice.

Check out the video here. It reminds me a ton of Ciara’s “Promise,” another one of my all-time favorite videos.

Video Premiere: Beyonce: “End Of Time” & “I Was Here”

I’ll be your own little star, let me shine in your world…

When I first heard “End Of Time,” I must have played the track for an entire day. I hoped Beyonce’s video spree, that spawned clips for practically all of her 4 album,  would provide visuals for easily my favorite song of the year. But as her baby bump grows, the possibility seemed unlikely. I forgot that King B rarely disappoints. Shimmying in glittery minis and belting those lyrics I wish I wrote, the “End Of Time” clip, a compilation of scenes from her Roseland concerts in NY, is all I needed. Grabbing those heels and practicing her moves as I write.

I love that as she sings, “I’ll be your baby,” she clutches her belly in front of a crowd completely in the dark ,  until she revealed her happy news at the VMAs just a week later.

The mom-to-be also released a clip for my second favorite song of the year, “I Was Here.” She belts the track as footage from her road to the top plays in the background, featuring Young Bey hitting the running man and Bey the Woman meeting Nelson Mandela. Pop that moves the soul.

New Music: I’m Lovin’ It

You a bad girl and your friend’s bad, too.

I’ve been a busy girl with the new writing jobs… I woke up one morning and my Carrie Bradshaw dreams suddenly came true. Thankful.

But some great music dropped this week, and I just had to take a minute to share! This is what I’ve been listening to all week– aside from my 80s playlists. Phil Collins, I will always love you.

Wale feat. Big Sean- “Slight Work”

Where Diplo goes, I follow. He produced the workout banger, “Slight Work.” Wale gets an assist from Big Sean, but the true star of this track is its sick beat.

Trey Songz- “Find A Place”

I’ll admit it. I’m very late to the Trey Songz party. But now that I’m here, I’m making up for lost time. This man is sexy! This is a track off his Anticipation mixtape, that drops next Tuesday. My iPhone eagerly awaits.

Beyonce feat. J. Cole- “Party”

The Beyonce video machine churned out another off her 4 album. The house party vibe fits the song’s ’round the way vibe. And my rap crush J. Cole makes a cameo. I may be young but I’m readdddayyy.

Hope you enjoy. xo,j