There’s a Chinese expression that applies to almost everything:
One kind of rice feeds a hundred kinds of people.
Sometimes it’s about how, despite our differences, in one way we’re all the same. Other times it’s an observation about the opposite – that you can’t expect everyone to be the same even if we eat from the same source.
This is what I try to remember when someone comes at me to tell me that they don’t like Beyoncé. Not sure how that’s possible but one kind of rice feeds a hundred kinds of people. What’s harder to understand though is the criticism against Beyoncé about her “exploiting her personal life” or “sharing all her personal baggage” in her work. First of all, it’s hers to share but also, she’s not the only legendary artist to have done the same – and she’s not the only legendary female artist to have gotten pushback for it.
I’ve been in Nashville this weekend, my first visit. Yesterday we went to the Country Music Hall of Fame. The first exhibit there right now as you enter he museum is Loretta Lynn: Blue Kentucky Girl, the Coalminer’s Daughter. I mean, if you’re talking about “sharing personal baggage”, holy sh-t, Loretta Lynn shared that f-cking baggage. Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’? It doesn’t get more personal than writing a song about how your husband comes home drunk off his ass expecting to get inside you. Isn’t You Ain’t Woman Enough the country music version of “Becky with the good hair”? Loretta was singing about her relationship with her husband Doolittle and back then, they tried to ban her songs, uncomfortable with a woman singing about the trauma of women. She wrote songs about the burden of motherhood, she wrote about birth control, she wrote about the double standard of sex and divorce, she was speaking specifically to the female experience…and, like Beyoncé, back then they weren’t all that comfortable with her “exploiting” her pain either. Nobody’s sh-tting on Loretta these days though. Some people might sh-t on the fact that I just compared her and Beyoncé. But so much of the work comes from the same place. Adele’s work also comes from that same place. Few people complain about how much money Adele makes off her work though the way they complain about Beyoncé. Why is that, do you think?
There’s a book idea in there somewhere. About art and women’s pain and our reaction to it when that pain results in success – and, in Beyoncé’s case, a success that is actively aggressive. About how it’s almost held against her like she hasn’t earned it.
More on Beyoncé later today. Of course we went apesh-t over Apesh-t. The Queen gave us life – again! – this weekend. There will be multiple posts.
Yours in gossip,