The strange week when Beyoncé lost control of the narrative

Last week should have been a time of unadulterated celebration for Beyoncé’s new album, “Renaissance.”

Reviews of the mega-star’s seventh solo album have been quite ecstatic, with Vulture saying its rich and exciting celebration of dance music and its “explicit nods to black queer creative traditions” have placed it at the center of pop music.

But the album’s July 29 release was hampered all week by a series of distracting “mini-scandals,” as Daily Beast entertainment editor Kevin Fallon put it. None of the scandals alone is enough to undermine the triumph of Beyoncé’s music, but the conflicts and controversies that follow have taken Fallon and other Beyoncé watchers by surprise, given that she maintains usually his public image with such tight control.

“The militant nature of the micromanagement” around Beyoncé and fellow pop diva Taylor Swift is “notorious,” Fallon said.

“Their respective publicists are infamous in media circles for how quickly they seem to crush, deny or clarify any unflattering story,” Fallon added, saying, “The most shocking part of Beyoncé’s mini-scandals is that there were mini Beyoncé scandals.

The controversy first erupted when people noticed Beyoncé used a word twice in her new song “Heated” that is considered offensive to people with disabilities, BuzzNews reported. Beyoncé faced particular outrage because Lizzo was called out two months ago for using the same word, “spaz,” in her new single, “Grrrls.”

People with cerebral palsy and others have slammed Lizzo for using the word, BuzzFeed News said, and to her credit, Lizzo’s folks quickly released a statement, saying she would never “want to promote a language derogatory” and announcing that the lyrics had been changed.

So with everything Lizzo dealt with, people were appalled that Beyoncé repeated the same mistake by using the word twice in “Heated.”

Even though Beyoncé personally missed the headlines about the Lizzo controversy, netizens couldn’t believe no one on her team, or among the song’s 11 writers and nine producers, knew about the backlash, BuzzFeed said. News. Some have wondered if Beyoncé or the people around her decided to keep the word controversial in the song’s lyrics because they thought Beyoncé was “above criticism”. As Beyoncé and her publicists soon learned, she’s not.

“I thought we changed the music industry and started a global conversation about why ableist language – intentional or not – has no place in music,” wrote disability advocate Hannah. Diviney in a column for The Guardian.

A British disability charity, Scope, has also called Beyoncé, Tweeter, “Here we go again. Shortly after Lizzo’s ableist language, Beyoncé’s new album features an ableist slur not once, but twice. Disabled people’s experiences are not song lyrics. This needs to stop.

Beyoncé’s reps followed Lizzo’s lead and promised to change the lyrics to “Heated.” A representative told Insider on Monday, “The word, not intentionally used in a harmful manner, will be replaced.”

Other mini-scandals soon followed. Singer Kelis launched a series of rants on Instagram, accusing Bey of being ‘disrespectful’ and ‘stealing’ because her track, ‘Energy’, samples the song ‘Get Along With You’, from Kelis’ 1999 debut album. , reported the Daily Beast. . Kelis said Beyoncé did not give her credit or compensate her.

In response, Beyoncé deleted the snippet of Kelis’ song, but even more angst followed when esteemed songwriter Diane Warren asked on Twitter why there were so many writer credits on Kelis’ songs. Beyoncé first.

Warren said she didn’t mean her question was “like a shadow,” saying she was “just curious,” but Beyoncé’s online fan base, the Beyhive, took offense. They were quick to teach Warren about sampling, the art of using a snippet from an existing recording, the Los Angeles Times reported. Warren ended up apologizing, saying she didn’t mean to insult anyone. “Thank you for letting me know. No need to be mean about it,” Warren said.

Unfortunately, the powerful influence of the Beyhive couldn’t protect their diva from yet another controversy involving one of her songs and someone well known. Prompted by reports that Beyoncé was removing ableist lyrics from “Heated,” Monica Lewinsky tweeted a suggestion that the singer should also consider removing a reference to her affair with former President Bill Clinton in a 2013 song. also reported BuzzFeed News.

“uh, while we’re at it… #Sheet music”, Lewinsky tweeted on Monday, a link to a Variety article about Beyoncé replacing the “Heated” lyrics. “Sheet Music,” which appeared on Beyoncé’s self-titled album, alludes to a particular sexual act Lewinsky, then 21, performed with Clinton during their affair in the late 1990s.

Beyoncé sings about a sexual encounter in which her partner “Monica Lewinsky-ed all on my gown”. This week, Lewinsky herself said that the lyrics might have said more accurately, “Bill Clinton had it all on my dress.”

Unfortunately for Lewinsky, she received mixed reactions for her request. Some have expressed confusion, saying “Partition” was released nine years ago. Others pointed out that Beyoncé isn’t the first musical artist to use Lewinsky’s name as a sexual innuendo in a song.

Lewinsky has acknowledged this point and has long tried to laugh at the number of times she’s been a go-to in rap music by including “rap song muse” in her Twitter bio, BuzzFeed News told BuzzFeed News.

By the end of the week, Lewinsky hadn’t convinced Beyoncé to go back in time and change her lyrics to “Sheet Music,” though it’s unclear if Lewinsky really expected her request to be granted. .

Beyoncé and her reps also seemed busy putting out other fires. To her credit, the singer and her reps were able to put them out quickly, with no excuses, justifications, or effort to fight back. It was like she wanted to draw people’s attention to her music, Fallon said.

But all of the missteps surprised Fallon and other observers.

“Beyoncé does not make scandals. Beyoncé controls the story,” Fallon said.

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