Beyonce Isn't Afraid to Get Ugly on New Track
A lot has been said (including on this blog) about the sort of affable empowerment that is ubiquitous in Beyonce's chart-busting hits, especially on her latest record, I Am... Sasha Fierce, but the third single, "Diva" is more "fierce" than what you might expect. Unlike the Eisenhower-era feminism found in "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)," which shows a woman who says she wants a man who "makes me and takes me, and delivers me to a destiny," "Diva" shows a woman who is entirely - and unapologetically - in charge of her own destiny. Claiming "Diva is a female version of a hustla," Beyonce takes the word the final step on its journey from a put-down used for women who were seen to be too self-absorbed into a badge-of-honor for women who are merely pursuing the money, power and fame that men take for granted (perhaps in much the same way that "bitch" is often used to describe women who speak their mind). She borrows Lil' Wayne's menacing snare from "A Milli" to deliver lyrics which celebrate "getting paid" and "ladies who talk back." In the video (which dropped just before Christmas), she borrows more than just the figurative swagger of male hip-hop stars for her dance moves, and ends it by literally exploding a metaphor for the way women are usually treated in rap music: a beat up pimpmobile full of female mannequin parts is set ablaze by Beyonce's cigarette as she turns her back and walks away. It's not a pretty image, but Beyonce seems to be saying that being a successful woman in the music biz isn't always about being pretty, either.
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