Before I went to bed last night, I was considering several content options for this space. There was so much information dropped last night for Disney Investor Day (Sarah is covering the various Marvel and Star Wars updates) and I can always write about BTS (that’s coming later) and Timothée Chalamet is hosting Saturday Night Live this weekend but…
Beyoncé has spoken.
And when Beyoncé speaks, even if it’s just for a few seconds, Beyoncé opens the day. She presented the Rising Star Award to Chloe x Halle last night during the Billboard Women in Music event.
Chloe x Halle are signed to Beyoncé’s label so of course she would show up to support them but, I mean, she also doesn’t have to show up anywhere if she doesn’t want to. We know how selective Beyoncé is with her presence. She knows we’re always wondering about her presence. Well, at least I am. As we approach the end of 2020, one thing I keep thinking about is what the year in Beyoncé would have looked like if not for the pandemic. Not that she didn’t give to her community so much this year, including “Black Parade” and Black is King and the countless, unpublicised contributions she made to frontline workers and marginalised neighbourhoods experiencing unimaginable loss. But she herself said that for the first time in her life, she had to slow down this year.
Seven years ago this weekend it was definitely not slow for Beyoncé. Seven years ago she literally changed the game when out of nowhere she dropped her self-titled album because, as she said, she was “bored” with how music was being released up to that point. That album marked a cultural shift for the entire music industry – but there will always be those naysayers who call that an exaggeration. Part of the reason for that is because after Beyoncé did it, so many others followed, normalising the process. Normalisation has a way of dulling the impact of the original. I guess that’s what happens when you blaze trails.
Self-titled was also Beyoncé’s most experimental sound up to that point. That’s the other way she innovated on that album – by actively deciding to NOT be radio-friendly and just make music that she wanted to make. As she told Edward Enninful last month for British Vogue:
“You can decide what success looks like for yourself. Being number one does not mean better quality. And commercial success certainly doesn’t equate to being impactful. Cultural currency is invaluable.”
She’s right. After all, “I woke up like this” became part of our lives, much more than most of what was on the radio.
This, I imagine, is part of how she’s been guiding Chloe x Halle. This has been their most successful year to date – and so here’s one of my favourites of 2020 as part of our year-end series: Chloe x Halle’s album, Ungodly Hour. It’s such a chill mood for the weekend.
Yours in gossip,