Edd’s MANtra: Is Beyonce all about the benjamins?

A continuation of the “Is Beyonce a feminist” conversation:

Let me take you back to 1999, when the radio was flooded with songs where women were berating men. TLC’s “No Scrubs” and Destiny’s Child’s “Bills Bills Bills” has dudes mighty salty. No one had really called us out on our crap before.

Honestly, I didn’t have a problem with the songs. I knew I wasn’t a scrub – I was straight ballin’ off my part-time video-game store salary. But what bothered me then and now was that many women got the messages of those songs all screwed up.

Yes, it’s been said that Beyonce and company were trying to empower women with those songs, but since the majority of women I knew back in ’99 took “pull your own weight” as “buy me my weight in diamonds,” I feel the message was muddled. And I think Beyonce and friends did it intentionally.

Exhibit A:

From Destiny Child’s “Bills Bills Bills”:

Can you pay my bills

Can you pay my telephone bills

Do you pay my automo’bills

If you did maybe we can chill

OK, I’ll give her the first two lines. If a dude runs up bills, he should pay for them. I have a beef with the third line, though. I guess you can take “automo’bills” as “replace the gas you used in my car” OR you can take it as “pay my car note.”

Line four seals the deal – “if you did maybe we can chill.” That sounds to me like “we can go on a date IF you pay for all this stuff” not “you’re not living up to your responsibilities.”

Exhibit B:

From Destiny’s Child’s “Stimulate Me” (from the Life soundtrack):

You say you want my sweet body

But first you gotta pamper me

Say you gotta phat crib in the hills

don’t mean a thing to me

Unless I got a key

If you split half goes to me

Hmmm. Bey and the crew could be saying “I don’t care that you have expensive stuff, it doesn’t matter as long as we’re together.” OR she could be saying “Your money doesn’t matter unless I get a piece of it. And if you leave I get half for free!”

Exhibit C:

From my review of I Am…Sasha Fierce‘s “Diva”:

This is a stick up, stick up

I need them bags uh that money

A stick up stick up

You see them ask where that money

All my ladies get it up

Well, then. Bey could be saying, in the most ghetto way possible, that she’s an independent woman who has achieved her own financial success. Or, according to line four, she could be urging ladies that when they see “them” (i.e., men) to go for them bags uh that money.

That’s three songs, in the span of nearly 10 years that COULD be telling women to demand more from their relationships and to find their own happiness OR she could be brainwashing a generation of young women to suck money out of their men.

You don’t think she’d intentionally be vague so she could change her story at a whim, do you?

Nah, she’d never do that. Just ask the girls who discovered they were kicked out of Destiny’s Child while watching BET.

2 Comments

  1. You hit the nail on the head, as my mama would say. I’m a Beyonce fan, I defend “Bills, Bills, Bills” and the summer I was working two jobs seven days a week so I could buy my first car the song “Independent Women” was my little anthem. But “Diva” left me scratching my head. I thought (hoped) it was just a song about women on top of their game, pulling in their own paper, but those lines you pointed out are exactly what left me confused. Bey does have a tendency to send mixed messages and I think that may be why even some of her more positive songs are misunderstood. Which is too bad, because I think overall she’s a pretty good “I am woman, hear me roar” symbol in the pop arena.

  2. i think that is exactly why i can’t get into Beyonce. because her songs are confusing.

    unlike most women independent women just wasnt my anthem. not because im not independent but i guess because i dont feel the need to boast about paying my own bills and etc. its just a given. i mean who else go do it. lol

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