“Not American Girl“: How Beyonce used the power of pleasure to transcend a country on fire | DayDayNews

h, to be a “non-American girl” in our Lord 2022. One of the greatest pop stars of all time knows that only she has the ability, talent and audacity to grab this middle finger — I’m the girl’s aerial nickname, “Still Pimp,” the mysterious prelude to Beyoncé’s latest masterpiece, the Renaissance. Track instantly brings us back to the Beyonce we met on 2016’s watershed Lemonade: outlaw, robber, dancer Heretic”, sister of “thugs”.But while Lemonade boldly and suggestively traces the fuel of her mistakes (holding a baseball bat, too), it goes all the way back to the historical nightmare of slavery and its enduring systemic problems—broken black intimacy, alienation Lovers, broken families and generations of black women left to clean up the mess – her seventh studio album paints a portrait of a dance floor rebel whose joy decouples from what it means to be “American” immediately requires us to completely redefine the term.

“A black ecstatic universe of wonder and erotica, drama and exploration, erotic role-playing and intense, funky games.” Photo: Mason Poole

To be “un-American” during Beyoncé’s renaissance was to be “comfortable in my skin” as she sang on tight-fitting Chicago house band Cozy. The song features trans icon Ts Madison’s soundtrack clip “Black as I want to be” and a poem designed not only to “paint the world pink,” but to dip it into Daniel Quasar’s vast Progress Pride rainbow in the colors of the flag. In other words, being “American” in 2022 means living in everyday physical, Social, political and existential danger, then count her out. As the late black feminist poet and essayist Audre Lorde put it, Beyoncé, like the rest of us on the fringes, knows that planning a radical life is “a tirade written to survive.” Conceptually, the Renaissance tended to be influenced by Lorde and the thinkers of her generation (Rod Ferguson, Kara Keelin, Tavi Nyong’o, Marlon Rose, Jafari Allen, Madison Moore, etc.) queer intellectual tradition formed by scholars of Minority): People who tap into and advocate for other places of abundance and joy in the face of intersecting violence and exclusion. As Queen of Pop Donna Summer (mentioned by Beyoncé in the closing renaissance track) and Keeling Notes I Feel Loved, this strange free music is rooted in ecstasy,” which has its roots in Greek ekstasis, which means ‘stand outside oneself’. It transforms one into many, someone Who is many. them. “

Beyoncé’s summer soundtrack is a welcome antidote to our current era: this season, six unelected jurists on the U.S. Supreme Court tell women and those with wombs that our bodies are not our own. This is the third year of the pandemic, and we continue to work hard to stay healthy and gradually learn how to get in touch with other bodies again. The ever-fresh and brutal anti-Black, anti-Brown, anti-queer, anti-trans and anti-feminine epidemic has no end. In between, Beyonce unleashes a joy found in our own flesh. “She knew how much we needed to dance” was my colleague Kathryn Lofton, a religious studies scholar at Yale, when she texted me about the Renaissance’s heady hit single “Break My Soul” on the night it fell like a spiritual shooting star in the sky — a week before the Supreme Court decided to overturn the constitutional right to abortion. Yoncé on this record is still well aware that the world is burning: despite “voting 45,” you better keep your “energies” by whatever means necessary, “because they Cullens just turned terrorists.” We mix with her as each track echoes lyrical, musical and thematic calls and responses throughout the album. Steeped again and again in the baptismal magic of the beat and the insistence on “finding something that lives within me,” she offers escape strategy after evasion strategy to resist and reject America’s attempts to break minority habits.

Nearly a decade since Beyoncé explicitly placed black feminism at the center of her repertoire (on her masterful, self-titled 2013 “Surprise” album), the Renaissance continues to deepen that determination as it brings cutting-edge pop experimentation to life. Combined with black feminist liberation principles to talk about our ever-present instability. As Black Lives Matter’s devastating body camera footage is devalued, mishandled and brutally rolled across America by the state – just this past week in Georgia and God knows where it’s next – Beyoncé’s latest album for America’s Holocaust And Another Plane blazes a path into a universe of black ecstasy of wonder and erotica, drama and exploration, erotic role-playing and intense, funky games.Our heroine’s flesh is a force to be reckoned with here – like the decorative vision on a dazzling nude figure on Lady Godiva-meets-Josephine Baker’s album cover; when she’s in ecstatic Cuff It Sing on as “Supersonic Sexual Erotica”, the seductive Get Lucky reboot back in the house with Nile Rodgers with the likes of Raphael Saadiq and Sheila E; as a heat conductor capable of “going away”[ing] You are in a daze”; a radiant goddess so powerful that “everything next to me is illuminated”.

Beyonce: Cuffs – Video

A glow like this is a necessary calling card for any great dancing diva looking to rule the night. Of course, the classics know that sparkle and hope have been key ingredients in contemporary dance music for the past half century. The Renaissance is full of everything from the Chicago house and Rogers’ highly influential ’70s sound to the Jamaican dancehall (introduced by Grace Jones on Move, a captivating cameo steeped in her signature bravado), Detroit Tech, Quinn West Jones’ lush ’80s R&B dance pop, Robin S’s ’90s pop house; Skrillex’s 21st-century EDM, Big Freedia’s Nola strumming, and dubstep, electronica, and Miami bass homages. Beyoncé’s amazingly versatile and fearless vocals tie it all together as her voice moves across the range: flirting with angelic soprano vibrato and soul angels like Minnie Ripperton and Dany Silk Williams runs, revels in Jones’ bumps and snarls androgynous, glides coolly through new wave android pop by Gary Numan and Janelle Monáe, and reigns with her strong commanding flow as MC. It’s a voice that encompasses a multitude, evoking the scale, depth and variety of black itself.

“A critical sermon to her black girls and female fans​​.” Photo: Mason Poole

Each voice forms a dense part of a seamless, vibrant history of sound that tells how to live a free life in our black bodies despite our ongoing attempts to eradicate them. Black music (and black art more broadly) has encapsulated this powerful and amazing quest in America for centuries, dating back to the exquisitely complex sacred music we compose, combined with the equally complex and rebellious “profane” blues, The will to express all kinds of human desires, fears, heartaches and dreams was captured by liberated African-Americans.

In Extraordinary Church Girls, at the heart of the Renaissance, Beyoncé traverses the gulf between the divine and sexual redemption that is always closer than it seems by singing us, giving the Clark Sisters a sample of gospel greats to ease us into a thick Thick, dirty grooves, an unapologetically raunchy twerk anthem for an era steeped in catharsis and hard-earned self-love. “I’m going to give up this body/I’ll ​​love me/No one can judge me/But me,” she sings. “I was born free.” With a throwback to hip-hop misogyny and plenty of masterful rap swagger, she delivered a critical sermon to her black girl and female fans: Drop your shackles and ditch the turn of the century Decent political women first designed by the black church as a piece of armor against the racism and sexism often suffered. As many black feminists later pointed out, this politics quickly turned into a straitjacket. “Swimming in the ocean of tears we cry,” therapist Beyoncé sings as she emerges from the water and assures us: “I’m not trying to hurt anyone / Try to rejuvenate your body…”

The Renaissance is an irresistible invitation to travel to the unknown, exciting, glorious and sensual, fantasizing and “suspending” and marching passionately side by side. “We fly over bullshit,” Beyoncé declares on Honey Dijon’s choppy futuristic track Alien Superstar — and more importantly, the album’s gift insists on taking us “higher,” pushing our imaginations to “nothing.” Where people have been”, to the America that our “wild girls” dream of. Its glowing design draws you closer to her in the sumptuous finale, Donna Summers interpolating Summer Renaissance as she asks us, “Do you see my brain open now?” Yes, and the view is breathtaking.

Daphne A Brooks is Professor of African American Studies, American Studies, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Music at Yale University and author of Linear Notes on Revolution: The Thought Lives of Black Feminist Voices

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