Is Beyonce’s “Bow Down” getting blown out of proportion?
Baddie Bey still has the Internet streets and media going nuts days after she released her new buzz single, “Bow Down/I Been On” over the weekend. Since then, everybody but Oprah has been talking about the new track, while debating the lyrics’ affect on her female empowerment movement. This week, in an article titled, “Beyonce sabotages her female empowerment efforts with ‘Bow Down,” Raheil T. of The Washington Post wrote:
Two years later, she returns with a song that is anything but empowering in that it promotes female subordination and division. […] While intentionally deciding to have an all-woman band was a cutting-edge and progressive decision for Beyonce to make, why would she undermine it by releasing a song that says she reigns supreme over other women? As a mother and sister, how does she not see a problem in referring to women as “b–ches” and “tricks”? Does she get a pass for being domineering and crass whenever her alter-ego Sasha Fierce decides to resurface?
Wendy Williams brought a panel into her show this week to discuss the new record, and stated that she didn’t think it was a good look after Beyonce just performed for the president and at the Super Bowl:
If you need to say bow down, then there’s no need to bow down. It’s like, if you call yourself a diva, then you’re not really a diva. There’s certain things that don’t need to be said. A few weeks ago she was singing at the inauguration, then she was performing at the Super Bowl. You’re on a Pepsi can for goodness sakes. To tell b-words to bow down and then you’re saying girls run the world? The thing about Jay-Z — here’s how I think, if she wanted to say something slick, she couldn’t said it on his album where she just popped in the studio and did a verse. And that’s it.
Do you ever wonder if Sasha and Malia will be listening to this CD? And how do you align yourself with the president and then say…?”
Rush Limbaugh also took to his radio show to talk about “Bow Down,” saying now that Beyonce has become “Mrs. Carter,” she’s totally changed her persona and has “shelved Beyonce.”:
“[Destiny’s Child] songs were attempts to inspire young women not to take any grief from men. She’s done a 180.[…]Beyoncé, now having been married, having been impregnated and giving birth to Blue Ivy … she’s got a new song, ‘Bow, Down B——’ … Beyoncé is now saying, ‘Go ahead and put up with it!’ You know why? I’ll tell you why. Because she married a rich guy. She’s even calling herself Mrs. Carter on the tour … She has shelved Beyoncé.
Meanwhile, the feminist site, Feministing came to Beyonce’s defense by saying that Beyonce is long overdue to demand some respect:
Women do not have to be humble, nice, and modest all the damn time! She has been running sh-t as a performer, as a singer, as an artist for quite some time now, all the while with people telling her that her music isn’t good, that she’s anti-feminist, that she’s a narcissist, that her baby isn’t hers, that she sucks because she lip synced, that she isn’t black enough, that she isn’t a good role model for women, that she’s a hypocrite, the list goes on. I think Bey is long overdue to demand some f-cking respect, from men and women alike. And no, she didn’t have to say it in a “nice” way.
And those self-affirming, self-glorifying lyrics? Those descend from a tradition of self-glorifying verses that the creators of hip hop took to in rap battles and cyphers. That is the culture of hip hop to say: I’m the sh-t. Respect it. Bow down to it.
To that, Clutch Magazine’s response was:
You don’t need to answer your haters. YOU KNOW THE OBAMAS. All messages to haters should come through the form of record sales and sold out tours. Stunts like this make you look shook and I know you can’t be shook. That’s not possible. Even if you are, you have to fake it. […] Beyoncé, girl. Ya crazy is showing (unless you want to finally let that out, but I don’t think you do. You’re kind of image conscious). Cram it back in. CRAM IT BACK IN.
Well I’ll be damned. There are some good points on both sides but I haven’t seen this much discussion over some lyrics in awhile. King Bey definitely did whatever she set out to do, and that was to get people talking. To that, I will gracefully, bow down.
Now, bring on the rest of that album.
Check the clip of Wendy and her panel discussing the single below: