From her early beginnings with Destiny’s Child’s first number onehit, “Bills, Bills, Bills,” to the solo self
proclaimed diva’s Grammy award-winning, “Single Ladies (Put A Ring on It),” Beyonce has been extremely influential in pop culture. So influential, that the singer and song writer is now being studied in the college classroom.
Kevin Allred, an instructor in Women and Gender Studies department at Rutgers University, encouraged his students to think critically about the influence Beyonce has on race, gender, and sexual politics.“I think studying pop culture is so important,” said Allred. “It’s everywhere.”Allred says his class, “Politicizing Beyonce,” takes a deeper look into the way that Beyonce uses her voice to send subtle suggestive messages that influence society.Everyone knows Beyonce, which is one of the reasons Allred chose her as a topic for the course. Be the response positive or negative, all of his students had strong opinions. He, however, describes Beyonce as a strong positive role model.
Her music and the image she puts out in her music videos contain subtle subversive political messages,” explained Allred. ”In my opinion she is a progressive, positive, black feminist role model.”
Allred focuses his study on the subtle messages in Beyonce’s music to examine her influence on pop culture. Inspired by Allred’s study, Chiq For Her talks to Beyonce fans to find out what they think makes Beyonce a positive influence.
“She’s a timeless performer and singer whose ability to capture audiences of all ages keep her relevant,” said Aubrey Roberts.
Roberts also feels Beyonce embodies the image of a strong black woman.
“Even though she is married to one of the wealthiest men in America, she hasn’t deterred from achieving her own goals, which is a good example for young women,” said Roberts. “Women need to see that it’s not about having a man take care of them.”
What’s most intriguing is the element of mystery about Beyonce’s personal life. Arron Joiner argues that this allows fans to paint this perfect picture of Beyonce as America’s sweetheart.
“Because Beyonce keeps her personal life private, it is nearly impossible for people to say anything negative about her,” said Joiner. “From the outside looking in she seems perfect.”
Despite her seemingly picture perfect image, when Beyonce hits the stage she let’s the fierce diva inside shine. The alter ego that she once named Sasha Fierce is no more. Beyonce is comfortable enough with herself to let loose without the alias.
According to Kelly Wright, the ability to balance the good and bad girl gives her an edge that wins people over. Her music touches a variety of topics including love, romance, heart-break, and sexual independence.
“One of the biggest appeals to the audience is being able to relate to what the artist is saying,” said Wright. “People hear her music and apply it to their lives. A wide range of people– particularly women listen to Beyonce and can relate.”
Rather it be Beyonce’s musical messages, career accomplishments, or the reach her voice has, many agree that she is a positive social change agent. It is discussions like this that Allred wanted to provoke when he made the proposal to teach the class, “Politicizing Beyonce.”
“To grab them with something like Beyonce is a way to draw students in and get them thinking critically about their lives, or other people’s lives through something they know,” said Allred.
Beyonce Positively Influences Pop-Culture
By: Angelica Robinson
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