QOTD: Does Beyonce Represent Black Women Well?

In March of this year, French fashion magazine L’Officiel celebrated its 90th anniversary and selected international pop icon Beyoncé for it African-inspired cover. The video above is a behind the scenes of the cover shoot that sought to pay homage to African queens.

One month later, Beyoncé’s official video for “Run The World (Girls)” was released with African-centered dance moves and sounds; it was categorized by the artist as part of a “B Revolution.” The controversial video had many feminists arguing that girls do not in fact “run the [real] world.” This coupled with dialogue about her preference for blonde hair has kept the entertainer consistently in controversial media headlines.

Reflecting on how Beyoncé’s artistry, public persona, cultural appropriations, and decision-making as a businesswoman, would you say that Beyoncé depicts black womanhood well? What messages (both good and bad) about black womanhood is she sending to young girls? Should this even be the concern of an entertainer?

UrbanCusp.com is a cutting-edge online life.style magazine highlighting progressive urban culture, faith, social change and global awareness. The site offers a platform for young adult perspectives, profiles inspirational visionaries and artists, and serves as an online community for change agents who are like-minded. Founded in 2011 by Rahiel Tesfamariam, Urban Cusp highlights voices, ideas and images not commonly found within mainstream media.


  1. Freda

    October 21, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    I think Beyonce doesn’t outright embarrass us, but that’s not to say she reps us well. She’s the most inarticulate female entertainer with way too many “uhmmms” in her simplest statements. Her parents did raise someone who has morals and is a great entertainer, but beyond that I don’t see anything about her to emulate for young girls. And the tight grip she has on blonde hair dye it too much for me personally. The same phenotype as what’s beautiful in our community is soo tired.

  2. Jelissa Brooks

    November 2, 2012 at 8:07 am

    Does Beyonce represent Black women well? I would have to answer both yes and no to this particular question. I say yes because she is one of the many embodiments of what it is to pursue and achieve dreams through hard work and dedication. She is a full out entertainer and has territorialized the industry as her domain while still managing to pursue a seemingly healthy marriage as well as being previously introduced to the world of motherhood. These aspects of her are commendable. However, I say no to her representation of black women because rarely is she heard giving her opinion or response to negative media press that involves her. It’s almost as if her musicality is the only tool she uses to be vocal; never commenting on key issues that in my opinion require a response. For example, in a former magazines, L’Oreal and L’Officiel her skin underwent a dramatic change in shade. Within the L’Oreal ad her skin was lightened and within the L’Officiel ad her skin was purposely made to be extremely darker than her actual complexion. Gaining lots of negative media coverage, both online and through television, Beyonce’s never became vocal about the comments. Although these skin transformations may seem minimal when compared to the larger scope of important issues of today, it is still relevant to young girls and women alike who maybe have self-esteem issues and dislike their dark skin and resort to using lightening products to achieve the “Beyonce” look. It is needed to have a black female figure to speak up for both herself and her audience. I feel during her career she has shown the decision to take the back seat when confronted with issues that don’t revolve around selling or promoting herself through music. Being an artist of her stature, I believe she has failed to use her power or notoriety to confront crucial issues through her music as well. She often dilutes the topics of her music to discuss only the concerns of love and relationships as if these are the only genre of problems or subjects the world deals with on a regular. Nonetheless, as a young black woman I realize that we come in all forms. We are so versatile and that’s what makes our culture so vibrant, yet there are ways to deal with all situations and in some of those situations vocal responses are required for both herself and her followers. In Beyonce’s case she has been given a lot. But to whom much is given, much is required.

    • GiGi

      February 28, 2013 at 1:58 pm

      Well said