There is no greater pop star in the music industry than Beyoncé. She’s managed to stand out and develop her artistic freedom, inspiring people all over the world.
There’s a saying that goes “chop your own wood; it will warm you twice.” And Beyoncé is living proof that hard work and persistence allow you to become the most celebrated artist of your generation and the entertainer of the century. Nonetheless, the road to success was tough. Back in 1999, her contemporaries Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears ruled the music charts and were known as America's princesses. Both women came from Disney, where “pret-a-porter” personas answered the needs of the early era of globalized media. Beyoncé, however, was just the lead of a "girl band" and had to work twice as hard to earn a spot in an industry that limited pop to certain looks and styles.
Beyoncé, who was born on September 4, 1981, has kept a strong influence from R&B in her music. That’s probably why she didn’t make it to the top right away. The music industry hesitated about anything strayed a little from “plastic pop” (and yes, it had to do with racism), so Beyoncé was aware that she had to play the game. When she launched her solo career, she decided to downplay her blackness in a way that made the industry comfortable, dying her hair blond, for instance. And she was criticized for it. However, she did not completely compromise her identity as a black woman, she just knew she had to wait a little before she could be more political and outspoken. In other words, she decided to cement her spot in the industry before doing anything that compromised her career.
Back then, I was a teenager who blindly believed what the industry told me pop should look and sound like. I also thought that Beyoncé didn't deserve her status as a star since she was just another “pre-fabricated” singer with no real merits other than her relationship with Jay-Z. And boy, was I wrong. Years went by before I was able to appreciate Yoncé's work: Beyoncé, her fifth studio album, was mind-blowing and astonishing: feminism, gender equality, her embrace of sexuality were topics that thrilled me. However, my full devotion came with Lemonade. This album broke my heart, and I discovered how art saves people. The lyrics spoke to me, these stories were mine somehow; everything I ever wanted to say, everything I had ever experienced, everything I thought about myself was in that album. She preached and saved me from myself. Now, I look back and analyze the album's narrative and it just dazzles me: it's perfection.
She's a great example of someone who, through hard, constant work has achieved greatness. She found a voice to talk about topics that make America uncomfortable. No other pop artist has done it the way she has. No other pop artist has called out social, racial, political, and gender inequality as she embraces a culture that has been relegated as second best in the arts. It took some time, but now she’s made herself a part of the conversation, as she becomes the most celebrated and influential artist in the world. It's so inspiring to see how an artist grows, so I invite you to look back at her career in ten tracks as a celebration of Beyonce's birthday. Bow down for the baddest woman in the game! Long live Queen Bey!
"Crazy In Love"
"Check On It"
"Drunk In Love"
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