Tag Archives: Beyonce

Number One Records: Perfect

Audio: Ed Sheeran – “Perfect” (Duet with Beyoncé)

Ed Sheeran - Perfect Duet (with Beyoncé) [Official Audio]

After eight weeks in the top spot of Billboard’s Hot 100, Post Malone’s terrible song “Rockstar” (ft. 21 Savage) has finally been dethroned by gnomey little Ed Sheeran and her royal highness Beyonce.

“Perfect” sold 181,000 downloads and 34.9 million streams in the week ending Dec. 7, with 102 million all-format radio audience impressions in the week ending Dec. 10.

It’s a pleasant enough ditty. Pretty acoustic guitar with Sheeran’s doughy vocals coming through so earnestly. When Queen Bey comes in, you wonder what she’s doing hanging out with a wimp like that. But what can you do? It’s pretty. A silly love song. You’d think that people would have had enough of them, but apparently it isn’t so.

This is guaranteed to be played at countless weddings for the foreseeable future. And why not? It’s completely inoffensive and expresses a very nice, loving sentiment in a format designed to appeal to as many human beings as possible. As much as I want to hate Ed Sheeran’s saccharine corn, I can’t. You’d have to be a real grouch to come up with the energy to actively hate this.

For insightful commentary on why this song is No. 1, read Chris Molanphy’s column in Slate.

Continue reading Number One Records: Perfect

Formation: The Call for Black Girls and Femmes

Formation (Explicit)

It was around 2:50 PM Eastern Time, I was in my room in front of my desk talking on the phone with one of my closest friends, Amo. We were talking about how to navigate workplaces, and other spaces we wanted to access as a Black woman. We talked about how we were learning how to be productive and how life was popping at the moment because we were doing so much. Also, how do we pick and choose battles? Which battles are worth fighting? To what extent are we willing to be uncomfortable until it’s acceptable to pop off? We needed to get employed and answer these questions in order to survive. As we’re talking about being the young, Black hustlers that we are, “Formation” interrupted our conversation and honestly, I couldn’t even remember what I was saying before the video dropped, all I remember after that is saying “I love Beyoncé” repeatedly as I watched the video and Amo was on the other side of the line wheezing.

“Formation” dropped at the perfect time for me, just as I thought that I needed to tone my blackness down, I was uplifted and encouraged to do the stark opposite. “Formation” was necessary and to underestimate Beyoncé’s timing on all this is to underestimate her ability to use the power that she knows she has. We’re talking about a woman here that works day and night and makes sure that every aspect of her artistry is perfection. She is known for this. ‘Formation’ is a late entry into the dialogue about black lives, and it largely sidesteps the politics. Still it feels essential. But how? Do you really think she didn’t know that she was going to perform at the Super Bowl? Do you believe that she wasn’t preparing to release the video the day before she performed it in the Bay Area, where the Black Panthers Party was started? If you believe this a money-move, I worry about how someone like you exists among the human race.

Unapologetically celebrating your blackness isn’t palatable to a white gaze and Beyoncé is more likely to lose money by having done this. But she doesn’t need more money, and she’ll continue to make more money regardless of what some myopic, racists think of her. At this point in her career, she doesn’t need to care.

This song made a lot of people angry, people expect Black women to be inclusive. That everything Black people do needs to include everyone else even though Black people are excluded from most spaces. This video and song was exclusive, it’s the embodiment of the lyric “how you gon’ hate from outside the club—you can’t even get in.” An outsider looking in wouldn’t be able to understand all of the references in the song. “Formation” is a Black femme anthem. It’s not for all girls like “Run the World” was. She spoke about her experience as a woman. In “Run the World,” it was about how “we run the world”, but the specification of her black womanhood and her usage of the word “I” is important in this song. This song is made for Black femmes to chant in clubs, it’s not meant to be inclusive. If you don’t understand why she carries hot sauce in her bag, if you don’t have a negro nose—”Formation” was not written with you in mind and you better not be caught chanting that you like your negro nose, ever. What was interpreted by some as a display of grandeur was a gift to this Black girl’s Instagram captions, and more importantly, it was spiritually uplifting for me as a Black woman. Before Beyoncé even mentions that she’s the Black Bill Gates in the making, before she mentions that she works hard and she grinds till she owns it, she says: “Earned all this money but they’ll never take the country out me” and that’s followed by “I got hot sauce in my bag, swag”. You can’t take the country out her no matter how high up her paper stacks up because she’s Southern and Black AF and hot sauce in her bag, swag.

The median wealth for a single Black woman in the United States is $5. When people call Beyoncé a titan for capitalism, the only reason I’d understand why they’d call her that is because she’s worth millions, and when she says she just might be the Black Bill Gates in the making that isolates a lot of non-millionaires from relating to her. What I don’t understand is the unmitigated anger that people have for a Black woman getting her coin. People aren’t hiring Black women, and when they do they short us and we have to deal with microaggressions and not so subtle racism. So when Beyoncé says “I dream it, I work hard, I grind till I own it” she knows that every Black girl in the club on a Friday night after having that deposit hit is chanting this because we worked hard, and we need to grind for every. single. penny. we have. And when she sings “I slay” Black girls everywhere are feeling cocky fresh with their baby hairs and afros.

In the “Formation” video, the girls are lined up or, in formation with their afros and glistening melanin, not a non-black person is in sight, well except for the cops. Black women have been in the frontlines in every movement. The Black Panther Party wouldn’t be anything without the women involved, the Stonewall riots were started by a Black trans woman, the Black Lives Matter movement was started by Black women—black women get in formation and then get shit done. “Okay ladies now let’s get in formation” is a call to Black girls only, the “okay” gives us a sense of familiarity with this, we know what we need to do, we’re together in this struggle and together, in formation we run the world.

Najma Sharif is a Minnesotan living and studying in New York City. She likes her coffee like she likes herself— bitter and strong.

Why You Should Respect Performers

Beyonce Fan

If there ever was an argument for the superiority of Dyson products, it was made earlier this week in Montreal at the Bell Centre when Beyoncé had her hair tangled in a fan. Had there been a Dyson Air Multiplier on stage rather than a thing with whirling blades, hair stylists everywhere wouldn’t have had a heart-in-the-throat moment. Still, credit must be given to the stalwart performer, who kept on keeping on, singing “Halo,” tonsorial issues notwithstanding.

There must be something about performers, hair, and a contract with Pepsi. Who can forget Michael Jackson in 1984, when his hair caught on fire during the third take of a Pepsi commercial? In Beyonce’s Pepsi spot, there are shattered mirrors, but no fireworks.

(Was Beyoncé’s hair mishap an accident. . .or something else of a more spectral variety, a thriller, as it were?)

While people might think that the life of a musician is all limos and lager, living life large, performing can be deadly. Like the case of Les Harvey, of Stone the Crows, who was electrocuted by a microphone in 1972. Or Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson who had a fatal gripper on stage in 1996, as did Miriam Makeba in 2008. And there are more who gave up their lives so we could be entertained.

Make no mistake: Performing can be hazardous to your health. Of course, if you’re a musician and not performing, it can be equally untoward (cf: Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison. . . .).

Google Blocking Video for Big Business

In addition to being a great repository of long lost videos and concert footage, YouTube was always a great place to find embarrassing footage of your favorite stars. There was a wasted Britney sputtering gibberish in a hotel room; there was Hasselhoff sloshed and sorting through a hamburger; Paula Abdul clearly off her rocker on morning news…

But with the sale of YouTube to Google, thus folding it under a massive corporate umbrella, how much longer can we expect these gems that humanize our heroes? Ok, nobody considers Paula Abdul a hero, but you get my drift.

A search today of “Beyonce Falls” leads me to believe our days are numbered. Notice that fan footage of Ms. Knowles face planting at a recent Orlando show has been removed from YouTube by dint of a “copyright claim by Sony BMG.” Copyright to what? Beyonce hitting the floor? The video I attempted to view was all of 13 seconds so I think any claim to the music could be written off as fair use. So why has YouTube caved? Because Big Business helps Big Business.

Party’s over, assholes. Back on you heads.