– L. Arthalia Cravin
Well, the Super Bowl half-time show is over and 108 million people watched. There’s been a lot a talk about the blackout. What I have to say about the blackout won’t sit well with some folks, but I say the blackout was about as black as New Orleans will ever be since the black exodus after Katrina. What I mean by this is that the word is that the “new” New Orleans is a lot less of a “chocolate city” than Ray Nagin hoped for. And it is—it was rebuilt to exclude certain folks from ever coming back. And for all his efforts Nagin just found himself on the receiving end of a federal indictment for corruption including wire fraud, bribery and money laundering. Imagine that, all the billions stolen—and not by Ray Nagin– after Katrina. And on top of that, New Orleans, Louisiana, one of the most corrupt places in history having the gall to indict Ray Nagin. But it’s all political—just as political as the “new” New Orleans which is a lot less chocolate—and the Super Bowl was supposed to introduce the “new” New Orleans to the world. Then the lights went out. Well they went out after Beyonce performance—prompting some to say that her “fire-hot” performance took out the power.
Okay, let’s talk about Mrs. Beyonce Carter’s performance. First Lady Mrs. Obama tweeted saying that “her family watched” the show and that Beyonce’s performance was “phenomenal.” One other person wrote a column wondering about a “teachable moment” in Beyonce’s performance. The teachable moment apparently came after Beyonce, dress in lacy leather, suitable for pole dancing only, began her pelvic thrusting, butt gyrating, “sock it to me” dancing before what had been a typical family viewing foot ball game. The person who posted the column wondered what to do with the children after Beyonce started to perform. They also wondered how to answer one child’s question, “Mama, what is that lady doing?
Well, I saw Beyonce’s first song and knew she was headed to “hotland.” I switched my channel to a PBS special about a naturally hot place–the history of Santa Fe, New Mexico. When I switched back to the game it was just in time for the 109 touchdown run and then the lights went out. I switched back to watching Santa Fe. I hear Baltimore won the game. But I’ve also heard that Beyonce “killed it” and that her performance was “electric.” One person was not so kind to Mr. Beyonce Carter. He said that Mr. Carter is disrespecting his wife and comes about as close to “pimping” her as anyone can get. Not my words but the words of a man who has been married to the same woman for 46 years and loves her dearly. For some reason after this man made this comment I wondered about the old George Burns and Gracie Allen show. Remember it was first on the radio back in the 1950s and then the couple transitioned to television. You know where I’m going. Would George Burns let Gracie dance like Beyonce—before of after giving birth? Bad comparison I know. But I wonder what Mr. Carter, Jay ZShawn Corey Knowles-Carter, felt while watching his wife “smack it to the world.” I hear he tweeted, “lights out.” Well, I suppose he is really the only one in a position to follow up on that one.
Still, how much is too much when it comes to pelvic-thrusting booty-shaking? Is Beyonce reinforcing the old tired stereotype about “super-sexed” black women? Is she feeding this stereotype? Is her skin color and blond hair somehow giving her an edge to “push the envelope” on public sexuality—a sort of “new Madonna? “ What is Beyonce’s personal message to young black girls? I suppose” nothing” should be the answer because after all there are other pelvic-thrusting booty-shakers out there, namely Madonna and Jennifer Lopez. In fact, musical performances that cater to the libido have been around for years. Remember Teddy Pendergrass, “Close the Door?” Remember Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing?” These men gyrated and grinded their lower anatomy before women audiences for years—prompting hundreds of women to fill many a stage with all sorts of underwear. A recent “Unsung” episode about Isaac Hayes said that he asked his lighting and stage men not to show his lower body during a few of his songs because he “made himself hot,” if you get my drift. And, there is a crop of new artists who engage in all sorts of simulated sex acts while performing. So what is the teachable moment to our kids about all of these performers—other than the well known “sex sells?” And sell it does. I hear that Beyonce signed a $50 million deal to sell Pepsi, gracing a can of Pepsi in her usual butt-focused scant attire. Still I had to wonder about what recently happened to Susan Rice after President Obama nominated her to become the new Secretary of State. Remember how the “dogs” came out to derail her nomination? Remember how Rice was vilified by folks like John McCain for events that Rice had nothing to do with? I wonder if John McCain watched Beyonce’s half-time performance and “enjoyed” it. How is it that a woman who climbed the ranks at the State Department cannot use her brain in service to America but someone who can “sho shake her booty” can get center stage? What is the real message about black females in all this? Or, as some folks are saying, “Hey, it’s just a foot ball game—just fun—stop being so critical—lighten up.” I say “maybe—and then again maybe not.”
Copyright 2013 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.