Ever since the surprise-release of her self-titled new album, Beyoncé's been pissing people off left and right with her "messages." Is she a feminist because she sampled a speech from Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie talking about women's equality? Or does her feminism come with a "side of Ike Turner" as more than one social media critic has suggested, in reference to Jay's mention of Tina's abusive ex on "Drunk in Love"? It was the pop culture argument that closed the year and pushed Miley Cyrus’ twerking, Chris Brown's probation status and all other shenanigans of 2013 into the background. And now, just days into 2014, Bey is back at it.
In "Liberation," the fourth in a series of YouTube videos that she has released to explain the inspiration behind the album, she opens up about the many (many) times she is near-naked or very sexual in the videos and lyrics that accompany the songs. "I was very aware of the fact that I was showing my body," she says — in case anyone thought those scenes of her in a thong or lingerie were just by accident. But Beyoncé did it because she had something to prove, and it wasn't that she's still got it; it was that she's got it again.
The "again" is because just before giving birth to Blue Ivy, the singer says she weighed 195 pounds. And although the rest of the world thought she was Superwoman when she emerged no time later looking curvy and slimmed down, Beyoncé stresses that she got back to "kapow!" through an intense amount of exercise and diet. "I worked crazily to get my body back," is how she explains it in the video.
And she didn't do it for the applause; she did it as a way to reclaim some sense of herself that motherhood threatened to diminish. "I know that there's so many women that feel the same thing after they give birth. You can have your child and you can still have fun and still be sexy and still have dreams and still live for yourself. I don't have any shame about being sexual. I'm not embarrassed about it, and I don't feel like I have to protect that side of me because I do believe that sexuality is a power we all have."
And that is the part that might launch the next battle over whether Beyoncé is the voice of Reason or the voice that should Shut the Hell Up.
Many may be mad that Mrs. Carter felt it was acceptable to say that she is like every mother and wanted to show that you can "work hard and you can get your body back." They could take issue with the fact that she has money and time and trainers and a host of other things that the average mom does not. Or maybe they'll be mad at her need to use what she calls sexual power in a public way. Or perhaps the debate will be about how she felt there was a chance that by having a baby she might not be able to "live for herself."
In reality, if people are going to force Beyoncé into the position of being the spokesperson for something, as opposed to a woman just giving her opinion, then they should applaud her for her honesty. It can't be easy to go from being celebrated as one of the sexiest women on the globe to being 195 pounds in a world that is not kind to largeness. It also can't be easy to have spent a life since childhood being groomed to be perfect and professional and then suddenly dive into the messy, imperfect, figure-it-out-as-you-go-along realities of new motherhood. And, best of all, instead of giving one more of those celeb interviews where all a star does is coo about how cute their child is and how this is all they need out of life, Bey offered up a healthy bit of realness, including her plan for how she got what she needed.
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(Photo: Courtesy of Columbia Records)
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