In the last two decades, Queen Bey (Beyoncé Knowles-Carter) has become one of the world’s biggest and most revered musicians in the industry. Her precision when it comes to her live performances and otherworldly vocal ability has given her legendary status.
I am a Beyoncé fan as much as the next Beyhive fanatic, but with her latest release of Break My Soul, I’ve noticed a trend within the artist’s business model to garner fans and listenership.
The dance song follows suit with a long tradition of burnout songs, such as Freddie Mercury’s Under Pressure and The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night.
In a time when the great resignation is at its peak and businesses are struggling to find young employees to fill their posts, Beyoncé took the metaphorical bull by the horns and clustered our stresses into a song that also sounds like the pinnacle of LGBTIQA+ pride and ran with it.
With lyrics that read:
Now, I just quit my job/I’m gonna find new drive /Damn, they work me so damn hard/ Work by nine, then off past five/ And they work my nerves, that’s why I cannot sleep at night.
I began to look at how she’s been capitalising off of popular movements to retain her relevance in the mainstream industry.
With a long list of accolades and standing as one of the world’s most decorated woman musicians, Beyoncé knows a thing or two about being ahead of the trend curb, and who can blame her? After all, being a musician is hard work.
When she first reached icon status, the singer was the new girl on the block ready to take the world on with hits such as Crazy in Love and Me Myself and I, which soared to the top of the charts, making her one of the top dogs in the industry.
First came her flawless era, a beacon of hope in the feminist movement, or so we thought.
Using activist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s voice as the backdrop for her moniker album, the song Flawless soon became a feminist anthem, personifying the struggles that women went through in society.
After declaring her solidarity as a raging feminist on journalist and author Maria Shriver’s blog, it seemed like we were headed in the right direction with a powerhouse such as herself leading the next wave of feminism.
We were instead met with the stark reality that through all her rants and songs, her brand of feminism would remain safe and not really impactful for the women at the forefront of the movement risking their livelihoods for real change.
Her feminism was nothing but trendy in the wake of real problems that women were and are still facing to this day.
We forgave Queen Bey for her rather lacklustre approach to feminism, and instead decided to look towards what she would do next to elevate the voices of those in disadvantaged positions, but were met with yet another disappointment through her Formation era.
This time, Beyoncé was at the forefront of advocating for the same hustle culture that had been causing major burnouts among the youth.
Sometimes I go off, I go off/ I go hard I go hard/ Get what’s mine, take what’s mine ... Slay trick, or you get eliminated.
Okay Beyoncé, those were definitely the kind of words that motivated young women, especially during the Obama era when the song came out.
Now, we have the Break My Soul era that we are watching in real time. With a sample from the great Robin S’ ’90s hit Show Me Love, which became a queer anthem, frequenting gay bars and LGBTIQA+ spaces, Break My Soul has become more like a ploy to garner the support of this community.
We have seen the trends that frequent the media when International Pride Month comes around, where companies use the pride flag as less of a statement of their stance on equality, but as a money-making scheme with their false ally.
If this wasn’t enough, her misguided understanding of what it means to be a part of the working class definitely put the cherry on top of the cake.
In a world where most people don’t get to take fancy private jets and wear prestigious designers, there is really no point where Beyoncé can relate to our struggles, let alone sing about them. This makes Break My Soul a double slap in the face for her fans who live in the real world.
There’s no doubt about her talent, capabilities and ability to empathise with disenfranchised and oppressed groups, such as Black women in America. However, as her cultural and societal status continues to soar, I wonder if she will continue to use the disadvantages of others for personal gain and if the idea of celebrity is dying in real time.