• Sierra Franklin

Canceling my Beyhive membership

I am no longer a member of the world-renowned, highly acclaimed BEYHIVE. I say this with much sadness because, in this moment, the pending resolution is nothing but straight-up confusion.

This post is inspired by an article called, "Why We Must Be Careful When Watching Beyonce's 'Black is King'" and the recent discussions on social media regarding Beyonce's new production. I have not watched the full production but please read the article as soon as possible.

Part of me wants to watch it and the other part of me just wants to protect my heart and stay away.

On my podcast, I've spoken many times about how society glorifies celebrities and how celebrities engage with the public. Even when I was in grade school, people would ask who our role models were. As long as I can imagine, I've always been encouraged to look up to someone other than myself. As I got older, I started to feel like praising another human for their accomplishments made my life easier to manage because they gave me hope. They made me happy. They were beautiful. They were rich. They were all of the things I was supposed to want to be.

I'm writing this post today because I have put in my two-week notice on the BEYHIVE. This is why.

Up until recent years, Beyonce has been no one's Black activist. But conveniently, she is now. With all respect, I feel like it is irresponsible for a person with so much influence and fiscal impact to wait until we have a Black president to start putting out content that affirms our Blackness. Nevertheless, it was well needed. I am disappointed by her perpetuation of an illusion of freedom that encourages Black people to engage with the world in ways that our true freedom and capitalism cannot co-exist.

The thing that I love about Black art today is that it shows Black people doing regular things. Thanks to social media, I am constantly seeing images of Black people sleeping, Black people staring into the distance, Black people looking out the window, Black people eating, Black people cooking, and Black people dancing to name a few. Black people are being presented in a way that we don't have to be extraordinary to be seen. In mainstream media, that is not as much the case. Black people's purpose in mainstream American media is to be entertainment, to teach, to counsel, to do labor, and to be consumers. I believe that African-American consumerism is a symptom of post-traumatic slave disorder because we have been put in a position to constantly prove our humanity through our appearance. The message seems to be that if you are not 'bad and boujie', you haven't made it. If you arent trying to create generational wealth you haven't made it. If you're not staying up late 'grinding' you haven't made it. And during this pandemic, I have realized that these are the lies to keep us complacent as worker bees.

I want to be bad and boujie. I want to create generational wealth for my family and I. This post is the product of me 'grinding' at 2:27 on a Sunday morning when I could be sleep or meditating.

This Pandemic has forced me to look inside myself and unpack some psychological trauma I carry about being human. Being human has never been enough. I'm enough when I'm Black, when I'm a woman, and when I mean something to somebody, but not for being human. I have internalized the lies that I need to be special for my life to hold meaning. So like many others, Black and non-Black, I'm in constant pursuit of proving my worth or completing a task. Social media perpetuates that. Celebrities perpetuate that. Beyonce perpetuates that. It was fun to root for someone. It was fun to feel good. But I am participating in my own demise by reserving a space for her on a pedal stool I could barely reach and, struggle to take down. I lowered myself without even realizing how willing I was to further subject myself to the systems of oppression she sponsors through Black capitalistic imagery.

I saw clips of "Black Is King" and I held my chest because resisting the urge to praise Beyonce for her creative genius would also mean that I'm condemning an element of her success. That is hard to do for a person who eats, sleeps, and breathes social media. I was so used to being emotionally swept up in her photogenic prowess that it physically felt better to watch her content with open eyes than stop the video and keep scrolling. I am a person who used to turn on Beyonce's Homecoming show on Netflix to give myself a boost of stamina and motivation to complete my academic semester.

It is difficult to admit that the Black community is being brainwashed and distracted by society so we continue to borrow concepts sold to us by the same entities that enslave us so we don't build our own roads to true freedom. Black people have gotten so good at working with the system that anarchy, which could birth a movement for true liberation, is met with fear and hatred. Like I said earlier, I am confused about the next steps to take within myself and as a community member. I'm in shock that I could even bring myself to this conclusion. What now? What are some revelations you've had during this pandemic?

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