Music

Hero Status: Beyoncé

It’s good to be the queen.

Illustration by Dylan

“All my ladies get it up / I see you, I do the same / Take it to another level / No passengers on my plane” —Beyoncé, “Diva

“She’s the queen of everything.”Azealia Banks

There are certain performers who go beyond entertaining—they make us feel braver, and stronger, and better about the world in general. Beyoncé Knowles is, for me and almost everybody else, one of those performers. In fact, I think she deserves Hero Status, and here’s why:

1. She’s incredible on stage.

It’s a rare performer who can combine style and substance. To watch Beyoncé perform is to witness someone at the top of their game: she can sing, she can dance, she always looks amazing, and she projects the kind of confidence that only people who’ve learned how to use their fears and insecurities as fuel to work harder, be better, and trust themselves more can pull off. Beyoncé is known for her badass work ethic—she’s a testament to what you can do with enough drive and dedication (and, yeah, heaps of god-given talent). Have you seen her in concert, or on any awards show? She never stops giving the audience everything she has. It’s impossible to watch her perform and not feel inspired to get up and kick some ass, work harder, do better, stand up a little straighter, and up your swagger. She is the best, and she rules, is what I’m saying.

Exhibit A: Billboard Awards, 2011

Exhibit B: Summer 2011 concert

Exhibit C: The Obamas’ first dance as president and first lady, January 2009

Her husband, by the way, agrees:

2. Her videos are fantastic.

Beyoncé has been famous—and relevant—for roughly 15 years, which is an amazing feat for any artist, when you consider how quickly our culture consumes and disposes of people. Obviously when you’re as talented as Beyoncé, you’re gonna have some staying power, but another reason she’s still huge is that she’s really good at reinventing herself, both sonically and visually. The late ’90s/early ’00s were generally hilarious for fashion (I mean), and Destiny’s Child, Beyoncé’s 1997-2006 girl group, were not immune to the ill denim winds of that era (how does Bey still manage to look amazing there?), but their videos still hold up.

“Bug a Boo” (1999)

“Say My Name” (2000)

“Bootylicious” (2001)

I love watching those old videos; they’re like a time capsule of a diva-in-training.

As a solo artist, Beyoncé raised her game. We will all look back at these videos as important moments in our pop cultural history:

“Crazy in Love” (2003)

“Single Ladies” (2008)

“Countdown” (2011)

We will remember the countless videos uploaded onto YouTube of people imitating the “Single Ladies” dance at home. We will remember this kid, whose perfect eye-flutter for eye-flutter, shoulder-roll for shoulder-roll replica of the “Countdown” video showed an attention to detail and a commitment to excellence that should get him put in charge of a company or something.

With each new album, you’re not sure where Beyoncé’s going to take you, but it’s always somewhere great, and everyone else is left scrambling to catch up with her. With 15 years of artistic evolution captured on video, she’s given us hours of creativity to draw from, and she’s not done yet.

3. She’s mysterious.

“It’s an exciting thing, as a fan, to be able to yearn for more.”Beyoncé, 2011

Beyoncé has the aura of an old-school star, in that her personal life stays relatively private—which is probably not easy for one of the most famous women in the world, you know? We know the basic facts about her life—the hip-hop icon husband and their daughter, who has inherited the most awesome genes of all time—but you never see her running over a paparazzo or fighting with random people on Twitter. Beyoncé is so famous that even famous people seem in awe of her. (Adele: “She makes me want to do things with my life.”)

And when Beyoncé does let us into her life, it’s not in an interview on E! or an ambush on TMZ. Instead, she started a Tumblr where she posts pictures of herself on tour, hanging out with her girlfriends and her sister, and vacationing with Jay-Z. Of course, what we’re getting is only the illusion of unfettered access—she is in total control of what we do and don’t see, but that’s the point. She is always in charge! It’s good to be the queen.

4. But when she DOES reveal something, she does it like this:

Is that the best pregnancy announcement ever? Yes.

5. Her tour band, Suga Mama, is great.

Here they are in action:

Every member is super talented, awesome, and a total inspiration.

6. She’s BEYONCÉ.

I mean, if you can’t see the greatness, perhaps you should take some direction from the woman herself:

48 Comments

  • alylee November 2nd, 2012 7:17 PM

    OH MY GOD I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE SUPERBOWL HALF TIME SHOW THIS YEAR!

    • letthemeatkake November 2nd, 2012 8:28 PM

      I know!!! I forgot just how much I love the video to Countdown!! And the video of the boy!!

  • lylsoy November 2nd, 2012 7:32 PM

    YES. She is a major role model for me, because she is a black woman who made it! Of course I have white and also Asian/pacific people that I see as role models, but Beyonce is still my top 3 favourite <3
    http://elia-portfolio.tumblr.com/

  • deuxiemesexe November 2nd, 2012 7:50 PM

    In ” Say My Name” is actually the “Bug a Boo” video.

    • Anaheed November 2nd, 2012 7:55 PM

      Ah sorry — fixing. Thank you! Had to edit this one in a hurry because I was JUST ABOUT to run out of interent access.

  • umi November 2nd, 2012 7:53 PM

    beyonce is most definitely my role model….she’s just amazing

  • Kathryn November 2nd, 2012 7:53 PM

    Hey, I think you guys forgot a beginning bracket in the description of the AMAZING picture by Dylan.
    (I only know that because of learning HTML on neopets in middle school lololololol)

    Also, BEYONCE!!! I have never heard anyone EVER say they didn’t like Beyonce.

    • Anaheed November 2nd, 2012 7:57 PM

      Good catch, Kathryn! Thanks.

    • pocketmouse November 4th, 2012 2:41 AM

      glad I’m not the only one that learned HTML from neopets xD

      • Kathryn November 4th, 2012 9:04 PM

        so many hours of my life from 4th-6th grade were wasted on neopets and it was this HUGE secret because my brother always made fun of me for playing it

        also i just looked at my profile on it lolz
        neocrazy999999 yo (HA)

  • TheAngelBlushes November 2nd, 2012 8:03 PM

    Beyoncé is perf :’)

  • Hazel November 2nd, 2012 8:15 PM

    ALL HAIL.

  • Eryn November 2nd, 2012 8:26 PM

    I do this reading buddies volounteer thing at the library and the little girl I got paired up with is NAMED BEYONCE. How fantastical is that?!?!?

    • Kathryn November 4th, 2012 9:05 PM

      i want a reading buddy

  • Teez November 2nd, 2012 8:29 PM

    not even joking i refuse to associate anyone who does not love beyonce. there is no denying this woman

    • georgie fruit November 3rd, 2012 12:13 PM

      glad I’m not the only one employing this social strategy.

      • Marijose November 4th, 2012 9:22 PM

        all hail queen beyonce

  • raggedyanarchy November 2nd, 2012 8:50 PM

    Gotta love Beyonce. She’s like…the perfect human being. For real.

  • evagm November 2nd, 2012 9:12 PM

    This made my day. Beyonce is queen!

  • katrinaexplainsitall November 2nd, 2012 9:21 PM

    PRAISE BEYSUS. Seriously, she is too perfect to put into words.

    http://www.katrinaspice.blogspot.com

  • puffling November 2nd, 2012 10:19 PM

    Beyoncé is my religion, I would follow her off the edge of the Earth.

    Me and my former flatmate had a Beyoncé wall between our bedroom doors, see here:
    http://i.imgur.com/35PzB.jpg

  • MartiLee November 2nd, 2012 11:30 PM

    Oh, oh, I agree so heartily, but you didn’t mention THE BEST Beyonce video: “Why Don’t You Love Me” is a masterpiece!

  • Mags November 3rd, 2012 12:52 AM

    She’s okay. I can’t deny that her performances are great, but what about all those allegations of her stealing songs from less-known performers. There is something so untruthful about her. She seems like the kind of person that would do anything to get ahead, including stepping on other people in the process. She is just not my idea of a role model. And I can never forgive someone for stealing songs and pretending they are her own just to get all the royalty money. For me her “mysteriousness” is more akin to phoniness.

    • Cyrena Lee May 5th, 2013 8:52 AM

      I totally agree with this — she is obviously talented, but I really don’t like how divisive she has become. The number of comments here, let alone in other pats of the internet/real life, that hold the sentiment “if ANYONE who DOESN’T love Beyonce, then I can’t associate with them” is kind of weird. It almost seems like the music industry wanted to manufacture this kind of insane loyalty to a person who then dubs herself a “Queen”… which reminds me of her latest song, “Bow Down”. She’s lightened and crowned, but the song itself is filled with SO much negativity — “bow down bitches”, glorifying her own success, which she clearly define as fame/money.

      So, I guess I don’t really like Beyonce. Don’t hate me because of that, please.

  • frankiebaker November 3rd, 2012 1:31 AM

    Whenever I feel really down I just dance to Crazy in Love like nobody’s bidness and everything is good again

    http://francesbaker.tumblr.com/

  • streaked lights November 3rd, 2012 3:27 AM

    Beyonce is perfect and everyone else can go home, because no one is as bootilicious as her.

    TO INFINITY AND BEYONCE.

    http://www.anooshadraws.blogspot.com

  • Mary the freak November 3rd, 2012 6:54 AM

    I have never been a huge beyonce fan – she always seemed too perfect to me. But now I know what always fascinated me – this old school hollywood aura. And although I am no big fan of hers, I cannot resist dancing to her music, cuz her songs are really …. dance-y. I guess she really seems like the queen.

    http://birdiewearsatie.blogspot.com/

  • Dayzee November 3rd, 2012 8:32 AM

    i totally agree with everything Beyonce is my queen

  • soretudaaa November 3rd, 2012 8:40 AM

    there is only one word to describe my feelings for Beyonce: meh.

    (I’m sorry I just do not get the hyyyype!!!)

  • Tasya November 3rd, 2012 10:33 AM

    listening to beyonce as i read this

  • karastarr32 November 3rd, 2012 11:09 AM

    If Beyonce started a political party, I would join it. In an instant.

  • Chloe November 3rd, 2012 12:33 PM

    the other day in philosophy class i posed the question “What can’t Beyonce do?” but really… what can’t that woman do?

  • Vasia November 3rd, 2012 1:46 PM

    OMG I love you so much for posting this!!! Beyonce is my ultimate role model! She’s everything I admire in a person and, like Chloe said, there’s really nothing she can’t do!!!
    <3

  • Kathting November 3rd, 2012 1:52 PM

    It’s because of how fierce Beyoncé is that I decided it would be a good idea to learn the entire ‘End of Time’ dance, and also the entire ‘Love on Top’ dance. I now know them off by heart. That’s not sad right? I’m not ashamed. Maybe. Nope. Not ashamed.

    • puffling November 3rd, 2012 10:01 PM

      It’s my ultimate dream in life to have a best friend to learn Beyoncé dance routines with. You are definitely winning at life.

    • Teez November 6th, 2012 11:23 AM

      so much respect for this. i did this with crazy in love

  • Erykaneisha November 3rd, 2012 11:00 PM

    I grew up listening to her & Destiny’s Child.
    It was among the R&B my babysitters would religiously play EVERYDAY, and I’m not complaining ;)

  • victoria November 4th, 2012 6:49 AM

    omg you guys I cried SO MUCH when I saw her live. it was a deluge of tears. she is incredible.

  • cheese anna November 4th, 2012 3:21 PM

    This is like someone entered my brain and put its contents into words. kjfb<skufjgbinö she's an angel

  • theatreandcostumes November 5th, 2012 7:32 AM

    I think that regardless of how wonderful I think her music is, what’s so admirable about Beyoncé is her dedication to her craft as an artist. So yes, 15 years is a “long” time in the music industry, but for those artists who never make it as big as Beyoncé (will anybody, ever??) 15 years isn’t long at all. I think that since following an artist’s dream is considered to be sort of crazy and not a good bet for job security, EVERY artist needs to have the drive that Beyoncé has to make it half as far.

    AND I ADORE HER.

  • rockslita November 5th, 2012 9:43 AM

    I do VERY MUCH agree.

  • mismatchedsocks November 6th, 2012 11:42 AM

    I think Beyonce does deserve credit for proving that Black women can ‘make it’ (metaphorically speaking) but I really struggle to have any admiration whatsoever for her actions and the influence she has on young women. I’m not going to lie, I’m a little embarrassed at seeing so many respectable ladies on the comments above saying things like ‘I worship Beyonce!’ But I’m not triyng to be a Negative Nina here, just hear me out if you like. :P I know everyone makes mistakes but she’s used her status to do some pretty unforgivable things. Like the time when she gave birth to her first child. She’s a human being, like everyone else, but she got a bulletproof room with a whole set of nurses (everyone else in the hospital shared a nurse with 18 other women). I know her husband paid $1 million for this but what was the need for FOUR flat screen TVs? Also, the security at the hospital at the time intimidated other women giving birth and some men were kept in the neonatal unit for hours which prevented them from seeing their wife and newborn. I also read an article about ‘The Beyonce Syndrome’ that says that a lot of black women from underprivileged areas have been so influenced by Beyonce that they think substance abuse is totally okay because it’s the ‘thug life’ that her music promotes (listen to her song about her ‘little thug’. Jay Z (her husband) also refers to women as b**ches every single time. It’s degrading to ladies. Very sad.

  • hollievr November 6th, 2012 4:03 PM

    The fact that Beyonce and Jay Z are in the process of branding their own child is absolutely rank.

  • disfordelightful November 7th, 2012 11:35 AM

    so I went through a phase in life where I hated beyonce (I know) because random people as in people who I had never met before in my life in my school would come up to me and be like ARE YOU A FEMALE VERSION OF A HUSTLA because my name is diva and I was like who are you and like everyone changed their ringtone for me to diva and I was like thanks beyonce
    Except now I realize how lucky I am and I regularly brag about the fact that I share the name of a beyonce song it is my biggest achievement till date
    no i do not see the relevance of sharing this ok bye time to listen to beyonce and sob

  • Annie November 8th, 2012 1:26 PM

    queen b 4ever

  • dreamgirl3 January 22nd, 2013 4:55 PM

    Beyonce is on a whole ‘nother level!