When it come to speaking her mind, Beyoncé’s been keeping the media at arm’s length. Despite being on the cover of the most coveted issue of Vogue of the year, Bey stayed mum–literally. She didn’t grant the venerable publication an interview, something the New York Times pointed out is a regular occurrence for the singer who’s been giving other mags the shaft as well.
But as celebs like Amandla Stenberg and Janelle Monáe speak out about feminism, police brutality, and racism, some are calling on Queen Yoncé to be more outspoken as well.
Suppose, for example, that she’d used this grand moment—as the third black woman to ever cover Vogue’s September issue (and only the 19th to land a solo Vogue cover in the history of the publication) to speak out against the racism that plagues this country—all the way from Ferguson to the halls of Condé Nast. Or suppose she’d used it to bring more awareness to the work she’s been doing with her BeyGOOD foundation in Haiti. I can’t imagine Vogue would have begrudged her time to speak on any of these subjects. Consider the possibilities if she’d taken a few moments to talk briefly about her husband, a product of Marcy Projects in Brooklyn and no stranger to racial profiling and systematic poverty. Would she have swayed the Vogue readers on any of their political ideals or beliefs? Not necessarily. But she would have made a powerful (and empowering, for others) show of solidarity for those longtime fans who are hoping for a bigger, louder voice to emerge from a sea of celebrities posting endless selfies and images of yacht trips, with no public acknowledgement of the Black Lives Matter movement or the issues it’s taken up.
Suppose that, instead of Janelle Monáe, Beyoncé had shouted “Say Her Name: Sandra Bland!” on a track, or released something akin to “Hell you Talmbout”? If she can sing for the President and sing for Pepsi, why can’t we ask that she sing for her people? (We know she grew up listening to many singers, like Aretha Franklin, who did.) Wouldn’t that have been more “empowering” than one more gorgeous, glossy photo spread? Wouldn’t that have been more refreshing than this flaunting of a privileged silence?
Though Houston admits Beyoncé isn’t the only celebrity to remain silent on #BlackLivesMatter, she–along with her husband–are perhaps one of the few who’ve actually put their money into the cause.
Back in May, the Carters’ close friend dream hampton let it slip that the couple bailed out protesters in Ferguson and Baltimore, wiring “tens of thousands” in mere minutes. And when the BlackLivesMatter organization was trying to ramp up and establish chapters across the country, the Carters again “wrote a huge check” for the cause, claimed hampton.
But does #BlackLivesMatter need Beyoncé’s voice more than her money?
It’s hard to say, but Bey didn’t get this far in her career by not playing to her strengths. I’m not sure why her support for the movement would be any different.
We all have our roles to play in the push for freedom, some write checks, other speak passionately about the issues, and others take their concerns directly to the streets.
But what should Bey do?
Sound off in the comments section below!