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  • Writer's pictureDr. Chi

While You Were Away #1

Dear Christiana,

You have lived in France for the last twenty years and so much has changed. I have not gotten tired of explaining all of the things that you missed while you were away. Nevertheless, I thought it would be helpfu; for you to keep track of all of the things that you missed. A lot has changed since 2001 when you first moved to Paris. Now that we are no longer the young whippersnappers that we once were, things can be confusing. Makes complete sense. In 23 years, the United States is a very different place. But it is still home and I hope that this list will help to illuminate social dynamics that you may be confused by.

Let me begin with what is most important:

B is for Beyoncé.

I don't even think that we knew her name back in 2001 as we both planned to live in Europe for a year. I know it turned into many more years for you-- Congratulations!-- but her solo album did not come out until 2003. I know in France everybody already know who Beyoncé is yes. But I don't know if you know what she has built.

Beyoncé has many different iterations over the years. I know that her music has played everywhere in the world. But over the years, we've definitely seen. Beyoncé become more militant about her blackness. We have seen her husband, Jay Z, spouting dreadlocks like Basat Haitian, American artist. We have seen her talk about her "Jackson 5 nose." we have also seen her wear black Panther style outfits telling us to get information. Last but at least, a huge moment was her recognizing the magnificent magnificent of HBCU with her several performances her HBCU inspire performances. She is not just a pretty girl, but the girls asking where the girls at. She really does because she isn't too. I know you still remember that Oprah interview where she did not sound very bright, but that is not her now. She's a multimillionaire and a force to be reckoned with. Which is why you may not speak public.

First of all, you cannot speak ill of Beyoncé in public. Just don't do it. Her followers are called the Beyhive. Do not ever make a mistake of calling it the "BAYhive," because people will ridicule you. It is pronounced like the letter B, just like her name. But, her followers are everywhere and many of them are very fierce, so denigrating her in any way could be violent.

Whether she made a house music album featuring top queer performers and musicians, whether she made a country album, whether she decides to put down some operatic bars for us, her fans will love it. They will eat it up.

You can never speak ill of her in public because you may be ostracized. If anybody ever asks you if you are a fan, the worst you can say is "I really respect her as an artist." When you say it, take advantage of your big eyes and make them really wide. That way they will really believe you. If they ask you if you've heard her latest album, it doesn't matter if you don't know the name of it, if you didn't know there was a new album, or if you don't even like her album. All you have to do is smile and say something like, "I don't know how she does it! She's such a hard worker!"

Then pivot! Pivot!

But if you hear to the grapevine that Beyoncé has a new album out, just give it a listen on Spotify. Protect yourself! It doesn't matter if you like it or if you don't like it. What matters is that you demonstrate that cultural capital that is so important these days. (You see what I did there? A sociology term. That PhD counts for something!) One of the key ways you can demonstrate your worthiness as a human is by respecting or liking Beyoncé. It's even better if you can name a song that you actually like on the album. That way, you can say something if asked.

While you were away, Beyoncé, the lead singer of Destiny's Child, became the queen of pop culture . She has a huge cult following and you never know who is a member of her beehive, so be careful what you say in public.

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