Introductory Disclaimer: Beyoncé, though I love her, may not be the best go-to for mental health advice. Black celebrities and artists are not automatically black leaders by nature of their fame. There are teachers, professors, counselors, ministers, civil servants, and subject matter experts that have devoted their lives to the communities they serve. Make sure you include them in conversations about power, pain, loss, and growth. As such, I use the word brilliance loosely to describe an artist that I have watched reinvent herself multiple times under the heavy scorn of public opinion. Beyoncé has been brilliant to witness.
It’s kind of important to remember that celebrities & entertainers are usually pigeonholed by the need to entertain.
… Until they just aren’t.
That’s when we meet the artist behind the madness of fame and blindness of commercialism.
I think of three perfect examples off the top of my head: Oprah, Jaden Smith, and Beyoncé.
(I am sure there are many, many others. Feel free to drop the names that came to your mind in the comments below.)
It is a combination of the artist + cash flow + fame so we have both visibility and exceptional content.
A Note on Capitalism: True wealth means time and discernment. Time to put into your own endeavors, arts, and industry. And the ability to be discerning about decisions involving those arts and industry. As we will outline on the Writer, the vast majority of the American populace does not have this luxury. It’s a beautiful thing to watch black, brown, gay, trans, disabled and all-historically underprivileged artists reach that place. (It doesn’t fix capitalism but no system as large as that can truly be fixed in my opinion. Just tolerated and improved upon. That’s another story though, for another day).
That is why it is exciting to listen to Beyoncé. I grew up watching her rise to fame and watching people fawn over her. Maybe I even subconsciously envied her, feeling that I would never be this attractive or happy.
Before I was mature enough to understand the truth.
Life is hard, period.
And we do each other a disservice by focusing on the things that are hard unless we can move to change them.
Plus… I am attractive and happy. Haha. I am trying to establish my life in a manner so that I would never want or need to trade it with someone else’s. And thus far, I’ve been feeling pretty successful.
#HerstunHikes #HerstunReads #HerstunArts #HerstunHoops #HerstunBeauty #LetsGrow #LoveAlways
Hearing Beyoncé announce how hard it has been and hearing her priorities provides clarity. The money will always be important because it is about survival and comfort. But the true joy in life is what I can create and what I can enjoy that humanity creates. That alongside a healthy dose of people that love you and people you love. But see for yourself. Check out my top 7 Quotes & Notes on Yoncé’s Q&A with ELLE Magazine.
Beyoncé on Power
“The more I mature, the more I understand my value. I realized I had to take control of my work and my legacy because I wanted to be able to speak directly to my fans in an honest way. I wanted my words and my art to come directly from me. There were things in my career that I did because I didn’t understand that I could say no. We all have more power than we realize.”
It would be dope to learn this lesson now. Without having to go through the painful compromises of brand and self. At some point, no matter what you attempt to start, it becomes a reflection of you. I am sure Beyoncé wants to control that reflection just like anyone else would.
I will say that having more power when you are poor is different. Honestly. We do not have the individual negotiating power that Yoncé & Jay’s healthy net worths allow. But, collectively… I can connect with her. There is a lot of untapped collective power in humanity.
Beyoncé on Pain, Loss, & Purpose
“I began to search for deeper meaning when life began to teach me lessons I didn’t know I needed. Success looks different to me now. I learned that all pain and loss is, in fact, a gift. Having miscarriages taught me that I had to mother myself before I could be a mother to someone else.”
Being rich does not make problems go away. How will you handle hardship?
Beyoncé on Motherhood & Purpose
“Then I had Blue, and the quest for my purpose became so much deeper. I died and was reborn in my relationship, and the quest for self became even stronger. It’s difficult for me to go backward. Being “number one” was no longer my priority. My true win is creating art and a legacy that will live far beyond me. That’s fulfilling.”
Humans are still chasing immortality. (Have you heard of the Gilgamesh Project?) I think that legacy building is a trend right now. Either way, Bey’s legacy will definitely live on. I am glad she’s being conscious of how she wields that legacy.
Beyoncé on Friendship & Creation
“Melina Matsoukas has inspired me to own and redefine what it means to be a director. As a woman, if you are too opinionated, too strong-willed, too anything, you are disregarded. I’ve seen this happen to Melina, but she handles it with respect and grace. Melina is a rarity; she has the sensibility to understand fashion, photography, storytelling, history, and culture and is able to seamlessly incorporate those components into her work.”
“I have trusted Melina for over a decade and created some of my best work with her—from visuals for my music to tour content and now a fashion shoot. I was so excited to work with her on this shoot for ELLE because working with Melina is effortless. We have a natural way of collaborating because of our friendship and mutual respect for each other. There’s no politics, no ego; it’s just about being in the moment and creating dope art.”
The friendship between creatives is life. I want this connection and openly seek it by trying to welcome people into my proverbial space to create with me. One day, I will meet the person it will be effortless with if I haven’t already. And together we will create. I love this. (By the way, I aspire to be the Melina in the relationship. Lol. No Bey spotlight for me please….) Friendship is so important and it’s one of my favorite parts of life even though it’s rife with pain, confusion, and misunderstanding. It is also full of laughter, fun, and people that choose you over and over again. How can that get old?
Part of the Melina aspiration is learning to deal with the ‘too much’ comments with grace, peace, and all that. I know that I have to get better at handling these moments and meditating. You are too much for a lot of people in this world, but you are just right for your Beyoncé.
Beyoncé on Balancing Business & Family
“I think the most stressful thing for me is balancing work and life. Making sure I am present for my kids—dropping Blue off at school, taking Rumi and Sir to their activities, making time for date nights with my husband, and being home in time to have dinner with my family—all while running a company can be challenging. Juggling all of those roles can be stressful, but I think that’s life for any working mom.”
Bey is struggling with the same thing so many people are. People are finding the weight of their dreams, mortgages, and children harder and harder to bear. Even if life has been about survival for black people in America for generations, what if I want to do more than just survive? Am I allowed to thrive? If I am, what does that look like? More kids and more time with my family? More access to better jobs and healthcare? – And what if it is ALL OF THE ABOVE? Is there enough of me to do it all? Clearly, these are group meditations.
Beyoncé + Sir & Rumi as seen on Beyonce.com
Beyoncé on Gender Revolution, Diversity & Inclusion, Confidence, and IVY PARK.
“After finding out that men were also flocking to IVY PARK, she widened her audience even further with the announcement that the collection will feature gender-neutral styles going forward. I love experimenting with fashion, mixing high and low, sportswear with couture, even masculine and feminine. This new line is fun and lends itself to creativity, the ultimate power. I focused on designing a unisex collection of footwear and apparel because I saw so many men in IVY PARK. The way they have embraced the brand is an unexpected gift. I appreciate the beauty of gender-neutral clothing and breaking the so-called fashion rules. I took a chance on myself when I bought my company back. We all have the confidence in us to take chances and bet on ourselves.”
“For me, it is about amplifying the beauty in all of us. I rarely felt represented in film, fashion, and other media. After having a child, I made it my mission to use my art to show the style, elegance, and attraction in men and women of color. We are living in a beautiful time of real progression towards acceptance. I’m so proud of the progress being made in and around the LGBTQIA community. Masculinity is being redefined. Women are not competing with women. They no longer strive to be the best female anything. They strive to be the best. Diversity and inclusion go beyond race.”
Andgrongy is one of my favorite trends and I hope it’s more of a revolution. Imagine, one day I will write about how I lived through the Gender Revolution. I love watching the shapes of gender fall apart and reform around the many complex shapes humanity takes. That’s what visibility will do for you. Every Herstun Writer shirt off the press currently is co-gendered. It’s not just the fashion, it’s the ever-evasive idea that women can do it too. And the understanding that so can men. Men can do it too. They can feel, nurture, love, warm, and encourage. They can. And I think that in the future, they will do so more openly than ever before. Black men too. Yep. Gender constraints and constriction have caused more pain than a lot of people admit.
Thought Experiment: At least women can work and earn a wage, can you imagine an environment where only men were allowed to earn? Only men were allowed to bear the burden of providing? And only women were deemed worthy & pure enough to nurture? That world creates twisted perceptions of self and twisted expectations of others.
Life is too short to dedicate as much energy as we do to figuring out how to be a ‘good woman’ or a ‘good man’. What does that mean? It’s easier to ascertain what it means to be a good person. A good version of you. Be the best version of you that you can, and enjoy everyone else’s versions of themselves… Because humanity is dope and life is a gift to be enjoyed.
Beyoncé’s Mom on Creativity & Fear
“My mother instilled in me the idea that creativity starts with taking a leap of faith—telling your fears they are not allowed where you are headed.”
This is golden because I do think a lot of fear is irrational. It is okay to be nervous and afraid right now but make sure to get started anyway. Just to see what happens. Life is tough regardless. Might as well be tough doing what you love or making a small start. Not to mention fear is based on an emotional response geared towards survival. Our homo sapiens ancestors used fear to keep them alive. But, we deserve to thrive which means moving away from that fear and realizing that the unknown is okay. That’s what I think anyway. Who really knows. Got a lot more reading to do!
Written & Edited By W.D. Herstun
This is a bear of a research effort. Holy moly. Lol. I am practicing for pulling together more extensive pieces. I am ok with this write up but there is no storyboard at all. Just a conglomeration of thoughts on Beyoncé. Haha. I appreciate celebrities for driving industry & supporting culture and for giving me something to gossip about that isn’t so close to home, I guess. She’s so stinking rich but there are so many people richer than her. Kind of excessive if you dwell on it. Lol. Additionally, I learned Beyoncé keeps a really extensive photo journal on her website which is cool. #WildeThoughts
For more pop culture check out Dame Las Dos: Nicki + Cardi – Diasporic Jewels.
Sources: ELLE Magazine, Beyoncé’s Instagram, & Personal Website. Click anything above for more information.