Beyoncé as the newest political icon

 

Cover

Two University of Denver students view Lemonade. [Photo by Shea Geary]

If you left your house this past weekend its likely you heard someone talking about Lemonade, and no I’m not talking about what you drank on the sizzling Friday afternoon. On Saturday, Apr. 23 Beyoncé released her most recent album, a video album titled Lemonade. The visual album took fans by storm with its intense lyrics and meaningful sound as well as mesmerizing film styles.

With the 2016 election coming up in November, political opinions are at a high and with the release of Lemonade Beyoncé has put herself on the forefront of multiple political issues, specifically the black lives matter movement and women’s rights. During Beyoncé’s last tour she took to empowering women through her song Girls Run the World and having only two men working on her tour. The newest video album covered topics ranging from infidelity to police brutality, bringing more of her views into the spotlight.

With all of these issues brought up by such a prominent pop culture icon it is important to ask how Beyoncé’s statements will affects smaller communities like that of University of Denver.

While Beyoncé made some strategic marketing moves with the release of her album only being initially on HBO for 24 hours and then eventually moving to Tidal and then iTunes, profit so far does not seem to be the goal. The hour-long Lemonade video is filled with lengthy visual affects but is being sold in a package with the album on iTunes. Beyoncé is not aiming to please and profit from the audience but rather to bring issues to their attention.

The album is quickly gaining popularity for both it’s sound and politically ideologies, though on the DU campus for those who have only heard of the video they seem to be missing some of it’s key points. Amelia Schwartz, second year student spoke about the video saying it is, “also to be a fun video because we all love Beyoncé.” The thoughts of Schwartz reflect that of students on campus who only hear the biggest gossip of the video, which seems to be the buzz about Jay-z cheating on Beyoncé.

Other students on campus have taken in the messages Beyoncé was conveying. “…even without people knowing the purpose, with her power and influence she has over people, her using her influence in this way is amazing for her and a positive thing to do,” said second year student Camille Muscariello. Much appreciation has been shown for her using her power as a celebrity for such big issues.

“I think its good that she is a black woman and she advertises herself as that because there are some celebrities that label themselves as feminist but she is very outspoken about it,” said Annie Borge.

With a large and expansive fan base, Beyoncé has grasped the ability to reach young audiences and spread her message to students across the nation. “She reaches a wide variety of audiences and can relate to young women and young men and up to older people as well,” said Rachel Moentman, second year student at University of Denver.

 

RAchel

Question: How do you feel about Beyoncé

Place and Time of Interviews: Anderson Academic Commons; Apr. 24, 2016

Rachel Moentmann, 20, Student at University of Denver

“I don’t know much about her leadership in politics in the African American community but with the women and feminist community her words are very powerful and she reaches a wide variety of audiences and can relate to young women and young men and up to older people as well.”

 

Camille

Question: Do you think that Beyoncé has become more of an influential political icon since her Lemonade video album release?

Place and Time of Interviews: Anderson Academic Commons; Apr. 24, 2016

Camille Muscariello, 19, Student at University of Denver

“Definitely, everyone loves Beyoncé so her coming out with that, even without people knowing the purpose, with her power and influence she has over people, her using her influence in this way is amazing for her and a positive thing to do. For her to take this experience she has had and make it a positive thing is incredible. I cannot imagine what she is going through and to turn it around and make it into a positive thing for people around the world is so empowering.”

Amelia

Question: From what you know of the Lemonade video, what do you feel the significance of it was?

Place and Time of Interview: Anderson Academic Commons; Apr. 24 2014

Amelia Schwartz, 19, University of Denver Student

“For Beyoncé it is always to empower women and I have also heard that it is to stand up to her husband Jay-z for not treating their marriage well. Also to be a fun video because we all love Beyoncé.”

 

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3 thoughts on “Beyoncé as the newest political icon

  1. This is a really interesting story Shea! I am a fan of Beyonce, but I never made the connection between the release of her new album to the upcoming elections, so it was really cool to read about that. It makes me think more about how pop culture and the political world are always intertwining, even though we don’t always realize it. Great job!

    Like

  2. This is a very interesting read. I really like that you pointed out how, with this album, Beyonce is not trying to profit or appeal to her fan base, but rather she is bringing important issues to the forefront of the pop culture industry. I think that more pop icons should follow Beyonce’s lead by bringing important political topics such as the black lives matter movement and women’s rights to the main stage. Although these are topics we often see in the news, I’m glad that Beyonce is promoting them in her music as well because it forces an even larger audience to think about these important issues.

    Like

  3. This is a very interesting read. I really like that you pointed out how, with this album, Beyonce is not trying to profit or appeal to her fan base, but rather she is bringing important issues to the forefront of the pop culture industry. I think that more pop icons should follow Beyonce’s lead by bringing important political topics such as the black lives matter movement and women’s rights to the main stage. Although these are topics we often see in the news, I’m glad that Beyonce is promoting them in her music as well because it forces an even larger audience to think about these important issues.

    Like

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