Beyonce is on the cover of T, The New York Times style magazine. The profile features a Beyonce photo shoot…but no Beyonce interview. So, she agreed to appear in the publication and, for one reason or another, decided not to speak. Instead the writer discusses the Beyonce phenomenon, Beyonce’s footprint on the music industry, on pop culture, on the universe.

What does Beyonce mean?

The implication here is that Beyonce is not just a great singer, not just a great performer, not just a famous person. That Beyonce is greater than celebrity.

What does Beyonce mean?

It’s a very good question. And I don’t mean in the way that it will lead to any answers. What I mean is that that’s the best piece of writing in an otherwise really ass-kissy article.

Because that’s actually what Beyonce has been doing. Beyonce wants to MEAN SOMETHING…more. Beyonce wants to mean EVERYTHING.

Entertainer is too small of a word for Beyonce. In Beyonce’s mind, “prophet” is achievable.

If it is actually achievable, she’s one of very few who has the goods, certainly. Angelina Jolie too. But consider Buzzfeed’s recent piece on Jolie written by Anne Helen Petersen last week – click here to read. (I’m quoted!) It’s about Jolie’s “perfect game”. When I communicated with Anne about her post, she asked me, “Is (Jolie) the best at handling publicity in the business? What makes her strategy so effective?”

My answer:

“She’s the best at learning from her publicity mistakes, and getting people to forget that she made them in the first place. In 2007, while promoting A Mighty Heart, a film about freedom of the press, Jolie infuriated the press when her lawyer tried to get journalists to sign a contract limiting their personal questions and guaranteeing positive coverage. Many high profile media outlets took a stand against her and in the end, she had to back off, blaming her overzealous attorney for the fuck-up. What’s interesting is that people barely remember that incident. I barely remember it. And it’s my job to remember everything there is to remember about her. It’s because Jolie knew how to self-correct and redirect …quickly. And without ever seeming to lose her cool. Compare this to what happened recently with Beyonce, when her sister, Solange, attacked Jay Z in an elevator. Beyonce has no game when it comes to crisis management. She over-compensated (on social media), which only made the situation look worse. It made her look desperate. Angelina Jolie never, ever looks desperate.”

What does Beyonce mean?

Whatever she wants to mean, she’s not there yet. She just showed us, recently, that she still has some work to do. That’s what we should be observing over the next year or two about how she evolves. We already know that Beyonce wants control. It’s whether or not she can reshape and then take back control of a conversation once she loses it that remains to be seen.

Last night Beyonce was at Chime For Change in New York with Solange and Blake Lively, her best friend from On The Run.