Fierce and outspoken: Beyoncé’s latest album is causing some raised eyebrows because of the singer’s bold move towards political activism

 

Television personality and journalist Piers Morgan has complained that Beyoncé’s new visual album, Lemonade, is too politically-charged for his liking. He goes as far as to say that Beyoncé has become ‘inflammatory’ and ‘agitating’, and that she has ‘exploited’ grieving black mothers to sell albums.

Let’s get one thing straight before we begin: Lemonade was not made for your enjoyment, Piers, nor was it made for any other middle-class white male’s enjoyment. The references to police brutality and black oppression are not merely inconveniences in an otherwise enjoyable music album, they are integral to the purpose of the record and to Beyoncé’s role as a voice for oppressed Black Americans. Clearly this has escaped you; the fact that you’re essentially asking Beyoncé to abandon her socio-political beliefs and fight for racial justice in exchange for some easier-to-listen-to pop — something that is quite frankly, embarrassing, and highlights just how socially unaware you are. No one is expecting you, Piers Morgan, to relate to the  struggles and appalling injustices faced by black people in America, but the least you could do is make yourself aware of them and empathise.

Piers’ argument is based pretty much entirely on his opinion that entertainers should not ‘go all political’, that they are there to entertain, and nothing else. Aside from the plainly obvious fact that an entertainer, singer or musician is allowed to use their talent for any purpose they wish — is this not generally a good thing?

At a time when racial bigots like Donald Trump are spurning hateful rhetoric left, right and centre, we should embrace those using their fame as a platform to highlight social injustices and political issues. The fact that someone as famous and influential as Beyoncé is stepping up and confronting society’s treatment of racial minorities is hugely beneficial for all of us. Piers also writes: ‘The new Beyoncé wants to be seen as a black woman political activist first and foremost, entertainer and musician second’. But why must it be one or the other? Why can’t she be both — a politically active musician? It would hardly be the first time a singer or musician has done so.

As Lemonade quite clearly addresses the topic of police brutality against Black Americans, I find it bizarre that Piers has accused Beyoncé of exploiting the mothers of murdered black men. I highly doubt that it’s an attempt to shift more albums; given the controversial nature of the issue, it’s actually a really brave move. My theory is that Piers didn’t want his article to come across as totally unsympathetic towards Black Americans, so he threw in a bit of faux-sympathy, appearing to defend the black victims’ grieving mothers.

Maybe Piers feels uncomfortable seeing an entertainer — who is also a black woman — confronting and condemning an oppressive, racially prejudiced, white-dominated society. Maybe he feels left out because he can’t relate to everything Beyoncé is saying. Whatever the reason, Piers needs to understand one thing: Lemonade was not made for his enjoyment. Its politically charged message is supposed to be uncomfortable. Once Piers Morgan gets over who he wants Beyoncé to be, he’ll realise that the racial oppression and prejudice she speaks of is what’s really worth getting angry about.