Reinterpreting Beyonce

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because of the websites I frequent (social analysis with a heavy dose of emphasis on pop culture), I get to read a lot of great analysis on current media trends and celebrities. 

One thing I’ve noticed though, is more than a few times while authors of various articles/blog posts are providing historical context, various readings of the text/image/etc and possible hidden subversiveness of an artist message, some writers then attribute the message that they have divined from the text to being the actual intent of the artist.  I began to realize this after reading posts about Beyoncé and to a lesser extent, Rihanna, in particular.  For Beyoncé, I think this is has been happening for years, which is why she has been hailed as a feminist (since her “Independent Woman” days) years before she finally came out this year, 2013, and declared that she herself was a feminist.

Having artists who seem to embody and or present some of the values that we hold dearly feels incredible.  But it’s a mistake to attribute our values to the artists without their explicit say so.  For one, it’s inaccurate, we don’t really know what these people were thinking when they were making their music.    

First, again, because it attributing your interpretation of a piece of work to an artists intention may not be one in the same.  but also because  it erases the artists agency and intent.  It can feel as if you, the reader, analyzer, are saying that you know what the artist is really saying/or meant to say/and even that you know better than them (the artist) about what they are trying to say.

For me, this has been an important distinction to remember, after I have fallen in loves with books, music and believed that the author saw the world as I did only to read an interview later and find that nope, no, no way, their views did not align perfectly with mine and/or they believe and feel something totally different. 

 

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