On Beyoncé

My third sponsored post. A big thanks to Lauren McIntosh for donating to our Oxfam team and for nominating today’s topic: Beyoncé. If you want to sponsor a post, all you need to do is donate money (https://trailwalker.oxfam.org.au/my/team/24094), nominate a topic and I’ll write about it.

Friends in high places

On to the post…

To get a proper appreciation of Beyoncé’s career. You need to cast your mind back to the late 1990s. It was a weird time in music: dominated by boy bands, pop starlets and the pop-rap styling of Nelly, Cisqo and Ja Rule. Seriously — have a look at this song list — it’s awesome.

If you’d been picking any of those individuals to climb the mountain and establish themselves as a cultural icon, Beyoncé would’ve been very long odds. Sure, Destiny’s Child was big but it certainly wasn’t the biggest. Beyonce was a black woman in an industry dominated by white men and straight out of the gate it looked like it might be Kelly Rowland who would be the most successful of Destiny’s Children.

And it’s not as though Beyonce really surged out of the gate either once Destiny’s Child broke up. Her first album received less than glowing reviews (the New York Times said “she’s no Ashanti”) and calling her film roles in Austin Powers and the Pink Panther underwhelming is probably kind. Sure her acting was fine and she was definitely charismatic but neither pointed to any sort of enduring stardom

And yet here she is the undisputed queen of the music industry. With the partial exception of those unflattering Superbowl photos, she hasn’t put a foot wrong in well over a decade and despite being constantly under the brightest of spotlights she’s avoided scandal of any kind (Jay-Z’s infidelities notwithstanding). At this point she can do almost whatever she wants — like releasing a secret 60 minute album / music video — and everyone fawns over it.

It used to be the case that you knew you’d made it when you were known just by one name. Cher, Madonna, Prince, Britney etc. etc. But the Queen B has taken it one step further — she’s got it down to a single letter!

Now that is A-List.

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