The Pressures Of Being African-American According To Beyonce


It was approximately a year ago, in December 2013 that Queen Bey released her most stealth album. The self-titled ‘Beyonce‘ was released on iTunes with no fanfare, and sold over 600,000 digital downloads in the first week, setting a new record.

It has been a big year for the singer, who embarked on a massive tour with husband Jay-Z, and also made a bold statement for feminism at the VMA’s by standing in front of a massive sign claiming what she identifies as.

In true Beyonce form, she has once again unleashed a piece of creativity on the world, one which gives you a glimpse into the woman behind the fierce on-stage persona. It is a short film titled ‘Yours and Mine’ which shows a series of images of Beyonce, while a voice-over plays over the video. In the voice-over she talks about fame, feminism, body image, happiness, marriage, and being African American.

Given the recent spate of high profile police shootings against black males (Eric Garner and Mike Brown), it seems like a timely message.

The biggest takeaway from the video is that Beyonce, like all women, is a flawed and complex human being. We often forget that celebrities are humans, which is something she touches on at the beginning.

“When you’re famous, no one looks at you like a human being. You become property of the public. There’s nothing real about it,” she says, which is kinda confronting. Over the course of 12 minutes she opens up about other issues that the public may not be aware of, given that the media likes to focus on what they know will make headlines (aka, THAT elevator fight between sister Solange and husband Jay Z).

Her body image is something that has been the cause of contention lately, and not necessarily in a good way. She has been accused of photoshopping a thigh gap in her Instagram pictures. Perhaps this video was about setting the record straight to hear things from her mouth directly.


“I feel like my body is borrowed, and this life is very temporary. I watched my friend’s body deteriorate, and to see someone pass on so gracefully put everything into perspective. We do not value ourselves enough—especially young people do not appreciate how brilliant our bodies are. I’ve always been very specific and very choosy—very choosy—about what I do with my body and who I want to share that with.”

In the recent months Beyonce’s “brand” of feminism has come under attack from many news websites, but more notably, from singer Annie Lennox who accused her of promoting “lite” feminism. Here’s what Beyonce had to say about feminism:

“People feel like they lose something when they get married, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s nothing more exciting about having a witness to your life. I always considered myself a feminist, although I was always afraid of that word, because people put so much on it, when honestly, it’s very simple: It’s just someone who believes in equality for men and women. Men and women balance each other out, and we have to get to a point where we are comfortable with appreciating each other.”

Appreciating each other is something perhaps Annie Lennox should do more of and understand that different generations of feminists are going to operate in the world differently.

As for the issue surrounding African American men, Beyonce says she understands the pressures they face.

“I have a lot of empathy for men and the pressures that they go through and the cultures that have been created, especially for African American men. I have the same empathy for women and the pressures we go through—the woman has to provide so many things for their children. I consider myself a humanist.”

If all this Beyonce is still not enough for you, you may want to consider enrolling in Rutgers University in New Jersey, which are offering a course called “Politicizing Beyonce” as part of the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. The course uses Beyonce’s career as a way to explore American race, gender and sexual politics.

Her iconic status shows that there is more to her persona that believed in the media. It’s not about putting her on a pedestal, in our opinion, it’s about allowing ourselves to think critically about what she is saying and portraying. Don’t believe the hype. The issues of body image, feminism, race, politics and relationships are complex on any level.

Watching a video like this may just be a piece of entertainment to some, but we view it as an encouragement to her fans to think about such issues on a deeper level.



  1. Thank you for this!..finally got to watch it. and loved it!

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