September 4, 2006. A day that will live forever in infamy.
A simple day that should be like any other was twisted into the turning point in the flow of American culture. A day before she turned the quarter century mark, Beyonce Knowles released the album B'Day, her first album completely free of the shackles of Destiny's Child. She headed off the critics early by explaining the short length and uptempo song choice on the album. Since Dreamgirls was forthcoming, the ballads and Beyonce fire they craved would be satiated in due time. Reception was initially lukewarm after the release of her regular Jay-Z duet "Deja Vu" didn't exactly recapture the intrigue created on "Crazy In Love." She still came out #1 though and Beyonce's power was so strong that even my little boys at work could be heard singing "To the left, to the left" as if they were "Irreplaceable."
Then the promise of Dreamgirls came true. Even though her co-star Jennifer Hudson received most of the accolades and eventually the Oscar, it was still Beyonce who had the first single and video from the movie in the form of "Listen". But now, Oscar season is over and it has been seven months since the release of B'Day. Surely now we can be spared of the behemoth that we've created.
"No," says Beyonce
"Excuse me, what," says a cowering public hoping for peace.
"I don't think you've had enough of me yet," she coolly states.
"But how much is there? You had four singles off your album and another single off one of the highest grossing films of the year, which you starred in," the public replies, hoping its logic can persuade the power-hungry diva.
"You are correct. But to solidify my grasp upon this land I must inundate you with more of myself so that you may not forget your true path."
Alright so I lost it there towards the end but you get my drift. You may be wondering how Beyonce has decided to smother us in her presence even further. Television? Another movie? Pray tell, what will it be?
"Well first, let me add this track with Shakira to my original album. Yo you know what, let's just do like seven songs in Spanish. Nah really. I mean they got cash too. but they ain't got hot beats. Como se dice 'To the left' en espanol?"
"Cool one more video and a deluxe re-release of the album. I'm not sure about all that Spanish but whatever works. That should be good."
"Nah dude. I want to do more."
"Girl there is nothing else. Take a break for a little. You need to rest up for the world tour this summer."
"Let's see I can't act but I want people to see me. What can I do?"
"I'm gonna go get something to eat. You want anything while I'm up?"
"I can shoot a video for every video I didn't release and come out with a DVD album. That's it"
"I hope that boy didn't eat my ribs and .... What the hell you just say?"
That's right. It seems she did eight videos in two weeks just to make sure it would be on shelves along with that deluxe re-release. She's crazy. I fear the trappings of fame have twisted her little mind. And I also feel that she's too willing to sacrifice herself for some confused idea of success. But ever since the "No, No, No Part 2" video there was something especially different about her, and that's when she couldn't dance. The voice isn't really all that, but the girl has charisma out the wazoo and the shape don't hurt either.
I offer two examples from the DVD album. The first is my favorite track off the album, though I have to re-evaluate it based purely on this girl's work ethic. "Suga Mama" is just funky and mentions Jolly Ranchers. The second is "Freakum Dress" which is the video my boy Black Of All Trades pointed me to originally. Colorfully executed concept.
I hate to contribute to the developing hegemony but credit is due. Even if you hate her, you still have to witness it just for the sheer extravagance.