What a time to be alive and a black woman. 2016 and 2017 have been phenomenal years to grow up and see the Black Girl Magic that had been suppressed by white supremacist systems. Naturally, we celebrate when good things happen to other black women. We’ve had the honour of witnessing two greats (Serena Williams and Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter) creating life and doing it in the most fabulous ways.
While we were celebrating with them others were criticising how a black woman who openly admitted to having had multiple miscarriages chose to celebrate the birth of her healthy babies. Stylist magazine, published an article written by Lucy Paget. Lucy put pen to paper to whitesplain to us, “The problem with Beyoncé’s impossibly perfect baby announcement”
In her article she writes, “Oh Bey. We expected nothing less, but we deserved so much more.” First of all, WHO ARE YOU? How dare you place expectations on how a black woman chooses to celebrate the birth of her children? Lucy writes, “the eye is immediately drawn to your flat stomach” If amid the array of bold colours and textures you find yourself drawn to the barely exposed stomach perhaps, your gaze is the problem.
Lucy addresses her article directly to Beyoncé and uses the second person. That in and of itself is a problem. It is a problem because of the existing power structures that place black women at the bottom. A white woman addressing a black woman as though she has authority over her is a problem. A white woman demanding that a black woman behaves in a certain way is a problem. You and your expectations are the problem here. You cannot impose your feminism on another woman. If you want the world to see imperfections then you go ahead and do just that, but to expect another woman do it is absolutely ridiculous.
Indy100 then, published an article entitled, “This is what Beyoncé’s baby pictures would look like if she was just a regular mum.” A white woman with twins, (Sharon Kellaway) decided to recreate the photoshoot of Beyoncé introducing her twins, Rumi and Sir Carter to the world. According to the article she did it because, “she thought her friends would get a giggle.”
What one woman did as a joke has been turned into yet again a dog whistle attack on black women and how we choose to celebrate ourselves. The use of the word “regular” in this article is odd. I wasn’t aware that “regular mum” meant white women. Are all “regular” mums white?
In his book, White: An Essay on Race and Culture Professor Richard Dyer speaks of the invisibility of whiteness. He argues, the dominance of the media and TV is the voice of homogenisation. These platforms continue to speak for whites while, “claiming- and sometimes sincerely- to speak for humanity.” That is precisely what this article does in describing Sharon Kellaway as a “regular mum.”
The entire thing is odd to me, Beyoncé is nothing but ordinary and it baffles me how there is that expectation for her to appear to be regular. She’s one of the world’s best selling artists with a net worth of 350million. I’m confused as to why anyone would expect her to have a “regular” photoshoot.
When Melania Trump released her all gold baby photo where was the backlash and why didn’t anyone criticise her for being ostentatious? Is being ostentatious solely reserved for white women because countless celebrities have had similar style photoshoots but none have received quite as much backlash? For example, Demi Moore’s Vanity Fair shoot in 1991 was heralded as iconic and is still to this day praised. Why is Beyoncé any different?
A word of advice to these publications, hire WOC, stop with the coded language and just generally do better. Stop your attempts to intellectualise your disdain for black women. You simply hate to see black women being bold, and you especially hate to see us shine. Your misogynoir is showing.
To paraphrase Beyoncé, ashes to ashes dust to shit think pieces.