I've seen this pop up in comments multiple times on the gazillion posts about Beyonce over the last few days, but often times it's getting drowned out by 50 or so Black Feminists vs. White Feminists epic battle threads. Here's the low down, as originally written on Black Girl Dangerous:
Here's my biggest issue with the album:
In her new song "Drunk In Love, " featuring her husband, Jay-Z, he raps the following lines:
"Catch a charge, I might, beat the box up like Mike" and "Baby know I don't play…I'm Ike Turner…now eat the cake Anna Mae."
In case you're not up on your wife-beater trivia, that second line is a reference to an infamous incident in the verbally, physically, psychologically and sexually abusive marriage of Ike and Tina Turner wherein Ike forced Tina (Anna Mae) to eat cake by smashing it in her face.
It was one of the last videos I watched and after some legit pro-woman awesomeness, it felt like a slap in the face. A very intentional one. In the middle of this big ol' so-called feminist triumph, Jay-Z pops in to glorify violence against women and…that's just cool with Bey, New Black Feminist Superhero of the Universe? And everybody else, too?
I guess so, because over on Crunk Feminist Collective's blog, Crunktastic is writing stuff like:
"I'm here for anybody that is checking for the f-word, since so many folk aren't. (Except Republicans. Ain't nobody here for that.) What we look like embracing Queen Latifah and Erykah Badu even though they patently reject the term, but shading and policing Bey who embraces it? If Bey is embracing this term, that is laudable."
No shade to the homies at CFC. But are we really arguing that calling yourself a feminist while allowing your husband to spit incredibly disgusting anti-woman shit alongside you on your album is just as legit as not calling yourself a feminist while demonstrating consistent feminist ideals?
Have Jay-Z's incredibly problematic lyrics on "Drunk in Love" been discussed yet? Also, has anyone tried to parse out the huge problem that arises when pro-woman artists continually work with other artists who use degrading, sexist language or promote sexual or domestic violence? I myself have some issues with the idea that you can never completely subvert or undermine a problematic framework while working within it that framework (basically, I think it's on a theoretical level virtually impossible). I'm not making any argument that Beyonce's album isn't positive in a ton of ways (it is, in many), but I don't think you can slap a feminist manifesto sticker on any album that features a man posturing via likening himself to a specific instance of domestic abuse. My main issue with how Beyonce has been discussed here over the past few days (and a large part of why I haven't commented) is that everything is getting painted with really broad strokes. People want to say Beyonce is a feminist or she isn't— but to me the more important conversation is, what are the ways in which Beyonce (or any other woman artist trying to make a quasi-feminist statement) compromises in order to get her message across, make money, and be well liked. This instance of allowing (really, endorsing) misogynist lyrics seems to be one of them.