So Beyoncé delivers yet another gob-smacking performance for the power, the beauty and the genuineness of which I have ran out of superlatives to describe. Guiliani, on the other hand, has not: “shame”. Why? Because he has saved more black lives than she did.
…What?… (And yes, I had to read the Daily Mail…)
Lemonade is about women resilience. Black women resilience from the heart of their home to the most outside world. The album is crystal clear about it. It tells the story of all black women who were, have been and will be comforted to being considered as the lowest citizen of the American society, from the white people in power to the deceiving males of the same blood. It’s about black women having to scrap a living on their own because their male peers are in prison or dead. It’s about their journey towards independence from the words of their father to the lessons they learnt through experiencing life and hurt on their own.
Lemonade puts the spotlight on the black American woman: the most neglected, disrespected, forgotten and overlooked person in the society and their struggle. The black man is not even the centre of the narrative, he’s such a trigger, a reason, a consequence but their feelings, their excuses, their reasons are irrelevant. The black woman is everything.
Lemonade does what it says on the tin: turning the sourness of countless lemons that hindered the path of your life into lemonade to keep yourself refreshed and strong. And her performance at the MTV VMA was exactly that. She sang the black women’s sadness, their anger, their desperation and eagerness at being simply respected. She screamed the raging lioness in each of them, one they have been taught to tame and keep quiet, as a warning to all men that women are not to be contained.
And somehow, out of all of that, out of all the clear lyrics she sang about betrayal, the obvious feminism, out of the Venus Cross at the end, Giuliani took one thing: she is questioning him and his tenure as a mayor of New York.
His whole intervention on Trump TV…Sorry, Fox News was to champion his own achievement as a mayor of NYC fifteen years ago. He has made New York a better place, he has revived Harlem…Okay but what does it have to do with Beyoncé performance? Well, at the beginning, she is surrounded by women in white halos who fall on the floor covered in red light. These women are the black people killed by the police. She even mentioned it later when she asked about funerals.
So not only had Guiliani not understood the performance at all, he also has no idea what Lemonade is about. He’s stuck on outrage-mode after her performance at the super bowl, the Black Panther outfits et al. Giuliani reminds me of those christian fundamentalist parents whose children killed themselves under the weight of beliefs that were more important to their parents than they were themselves. But then who went on to blame some rock bands for the death of their offspring, claiming you can hear the devil or some encouragement to kill yourself if you played the vinyl backwards…
Alike these parents who refuse to see the impact of their actions and would find any excuse to blame someone else while praising their own hard work, Giuliani sees Beyoncé as a problem because in his eyes when she questions the whole society and the terrible consequences of centuries of bad policies, she questions him personally. He cannot fathom that maybe she is touching issues bigger than him because there is nothing bigger than him. It’s all about him. So he feels it is necessary to defend himself when no one has attacked.
The problem is that he talks about it as if it was high time black people realised they owe more to someone like him (a proud supporter of Trump) as a former mayor of NYC than they do to a black singer from Houston but the two don’t compare.
Beyoncé is not an elected representative, she is an artist who decides to express herself, shows her understanding of the world and fights for causes through her art. It’s her job and she is being rewarded for that job exactly. She had not received some of Humanitarian Worker of the Year award for service to the nation so why is Giuliani opposing his record to her art?
She is being political.
Yes. Everything is, nowadays. It’s her choice to address societal issues that are eventually political, to choose a battle and let her music and art speak for it. Why just feminism? Because she’s a woman and talks from experience. Why just black people? Because she’s black and talks from experience. And she can do it, she can decide to pick some battles before others because she is an artist. No one has elected her and she doesn’t have the responsibility to represent and serve even the ones who disagree with her or voted against her during some elections.
Which is what Giuliani had to do as a mayor: be there for the ones who supported you but also be selfless enough to understand that you have a mission to serve everyone, even the 45-49% who voted against you. And maybe he’s absolutely right when he says he was a great mayor, maybe he did his job perfectly. He was knighted by the queen after all. So was Beckham…or Fred Goodwin…Maybe he did save more black lives than Beyoncé but as far as I know, no one is pretending otherwise.
She is? How?
She came with Eric Garner’s mother and he was killed in NYC. Yes, but he was killed in 2014 and Giuliani was a mayor until 2001 so nothing to do with him. The other mothers? Well, they were the ones of Trayvon Martin was killed in Florida, Michael Brown killed in Saint-Louis and Oscar Grant III murdered in Oakland, California. So what has anything Beyoncé did that night got to do with Giuliani?
Beyoncé has decided enough was enough and let her art kick doors open so the US face a problem that’s been lingering and rotting its core since its birth: race. But she does it with a twist of feminism that makes the narrative even more complicated to fathom, I agree, although reading the lyrics and listening to her makes it frankly easy to grasp the message. It’s obvious that in her quest for change, she will encounter the usual when it comes to fighting sexism and racism: a cohort of angry white males who cannot understand a world that doesn’t revolve around them so they feel feminism and the mention of race is a personal attack. Which is exactly what Guiliani has proved.
Guiliani has become a poster to the typical and what Fox News and Trump are begging for: a male blast from the past who will take any opportunity to bring the spotlight back on them to remind us that they are the main actors in the world and should be praised as such.