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“You’re never too big to lose, and you’re never too smart to lose” – Beyoncé, Part 2: Imperfection.
“At that time you don’t realize that you could actually work super hard and give everything you have and lose.” Wise words from an artist that should’ve took top honors at this year’s Grammys. If you haven’t heard, Queen Bey (favored to win) lost to Beck. Beck, really? Honestly I saw it coming. You aren’t allowed to go against the rules of the music industry and expect for them to reward you. So no this post isn’t about the AOTY snub, but rather how you and your cousins acted when Beyoncé performed “Take My Hand, Precious Lord.” First let me tell you, it wasn’t the Grammys idea to even have that song performed on their stage. It was Beyoncé’s. She thought that with everything that is going on with the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the song would be the perfect song to lead into John Legend and Common’s song “Glory.” The song would help bring light to what is happening currently. Again Beyoncé’s idea. Not the Grammys. So imagine my dismay, when I saw instead of people saying ‘Great to see a powerful message about Black lives on the main stage.’ There was instead ‘This is Ledisi’s song. She should’ve sang it.’ Um dear Mr. and Mrs. Loud and Wrong that is not Ledisi’s song.
“Precious Lord” is hymn from 1844. It has been sung by Elvis, Mahalia Jackson, Leontyne Price, Aretha Franklin, and Nina Simone. So no it’s not Ledisi’s song. And honestly if Ledisi had sung this song at the Grammys, no one would care. The problem here is of all the things that should have you guys up in arms, you chose Beyoncé’s song selection. How come no one is mad that basically Common was the only rapper to perform? (Kanye sung, badly.) How come no one is up in arms that the Rap/Hip-Hop awards were pre-telecasted? How come no one is pounding their keyboards about the fact that the general field nominees (ROTY, AOTY, SOTY) were 98% White? But you all chose to get upset about Beyoncé’s song selection.
Sorry to tell you this, but a lot of you readers and your cousins suffer from the ‘Crabs In A Bucket’ syndrome. Yes, you do. You feel that if a Black person gets too high up, he/she is in the Illuminati or wants to be ‘White.’ Back in 1988 at The Soul Train Awards, your uncles and aunties booed Whitney Houston. Whitney Houston. The Voice. Folks felt her cross over was too easy and she’d gotten too ‘Famous.’ And Whitney Houston isn’t even the beginning. Michael Jackson is another. Hell, look how you all discuss Jay Z and Beyoncé’s child. You talk about her like she’s 30 instead of 3. Too many of you feel that if a Black artist reaches too high of heights that he/she isn’t ‘Black’ anymore. So you create these imaginary wars to bring these artists down. And you do it by bringing some unknown artist with you, to prove your point. And that unknown artist is just glad someone said their name.
I understand that when it comes to Beyoncé, that folks will be extra critical because she’s at the top. But don’t give me that ‘Black people need to be unified;’ speech, then you hop on Facebook and bash every successful Black artist. Now everyone is a Beck fan if he’s up against Beyoncé, but if he was up against Jazmine Sullivan, all you Sistah Souljas would be in army fatigues ready to fight. I’m not saying you should bow down to Beyoncé or even like her music, but can you at least give her the same respect you give Ledisi, Jill Scott, Fantasia, and countless others. It’s bad enough the music industry don’t want to see Black artists win, so don’t turn your back on them (unless they turn their back on you first). Stop arguing about who should’ve song what song and start arguing about why the deserving Black artists aren’t being acknowledged. -Pooh Bailey