Beyonce’s got folks riled up again. The current focus is on her latest single, “Bow Down/I Been On,” which includes Beyonce calling some folks b*tches and telling them to bow down, with sonic variations and feminine falsettos.
Rush Limbaugh stated, “She’s got a new song … a total 180….Beyoncé’s now saying, ‘go ahead and put up with it.’ And you know why? I’ll tell you why. Because she got married. She married the rich guy.”
Media personality Wendy Williams criticized Beyonce, drawing parallels between Beyonce’s fame and the singer’s reminders of it. “If you have to say bow down then, there’s no need to bow down. It’s like, if you call yourself a diva, then you’re not really a diva. There are certain things that don’t need to be said.”
Singer Keyshia Cole, whose tweets made entertainment news during last month’s Super Bowl halftime show when she lambasted Destiny’s Child singer Michelle Williams, also tweeted about Beyonce’s new song. “Can’t stand when people all self righteous when … it makes them look good.”
Then feminist discourse lingers about if Beyonce is the leader of a new generation, an opportunist or both, as her previous songs encourage everything from independence to partying to submission. In “Bow Down,” Beyonce alluded to naysayers.
“I took some time to live my life, but don’t think I’m just his little wife.”
Here’s the thing. People should expect artistic growth, riskiness and provocation from an artist whose oversaturation in the market likely leaves her team in trances about different ways to gen up even more Beyonce talk.
Beyonce’s stilleto’d toes toe the line of pop culture deity and label-challenging diva. Of the inherent inconsistencies and inquiries connected with the performer, many are uncomfortable. Despite all of her success, and since she is a woman because of her success, a newish self-absorbed track with noted profanity seems against the rules. It’s not how nice women express themselves. Apparently unfiltered bravado belongs to the boys—still.
But, what about status? Do boss women do boss things? Beyonce nabbed a Super Bowl slot, released a documentary, married one of the most influential rapper moguls ever and has given parts of her life to the public for much of her life.
Maybe the larger conversation isn’t about calling fans, foes and undecided people the b-word. It is about space and place for women in entertainment, spheres of influence, and society. When male rappers, male rockers and male pundits make self-important statements it kind of goes without saying; however, when a global icon sings about her own grind to riches tale, some listeners turn cold.
“I know when you were little girls/ You dreamt of being in my world,” Beyonce sang. And despite the veracity of her statement in a culture that still has American Idol and various other reality shows to give people with artistic dreams a public platform to follow them, Beyonce can’t avoid the uterus talk.
In 2010, rapper Nicki Minaj spoke about sexism and entertainment. “When I am assertive, I’m a b*tch. When a man is assertive, he’s a boss,” Minaj said.
She also stated, “When you’re a girl, you have to be dope at what you do but you have to be sweet, and you have to be sexy, and you have to be this and that. And you have to be nice. I can’t be all those things at once. I’m a human being.”
Human beings do run the spectrum. So, it is only fitting that Limbaugh would speak on and arguably misconstrue “Bow Down.” Last year Limbaugh slut-shamed Sandra Fluke for advocating insurance coverage for birth control before Congress. He routinely makes headlines for expressing restrictive worldviews, and couldn’t miss the chance to use Beyonce’s single to remind the public of a woman’s place.
He said, “She now understands it’s worth it to bow down.” While only Beyonce and Jay-Z know if that is true, whether other people bow down or not remains their choice.