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By FEMI ABORISADE
Pop star Beyonce received sharp criticism for the lyrics of her fiery song “Bow Down/I Been On,” a single that she released on her Soundcloud account March 9. While the concerns risen by her detractors are understandable, they do not necessarily fall within the context of the genre.
The lyrics in question involve Beyonce addressing women who have considered her a lame duck: “I took some time to live my life/but don’t think I’m just his little wife/don’t get it twisted, get it twisted/this my s–t, bow down b—-es,” Beyonce sings.
Felicity Capon, writer for The Telegraph, said in her March 20 article “Why I don’t want to be Beyonce’s B—h” that she disapproved of Beyonce’s change in tone from the valiant feminist in “Single Ladies” to the diva degrading the status of her fans.
While these complaints and many others regarding Beyonce’s word choice do deserve attention, the hip hop culture in which the song resides must be realized. Sadly, in many hip hop songs, the derogatory term, which originally meant a female dog, does act as a stand-in for “woman,” but it is not always used with misogynistic intent.
The rap song “B—h Bad” by Lupe Fiasco portrays the delicate, often confusing way that women claim to be the term, while the negative sense of the word lingers within its defiant connotation.
Even more pertinent, Capon’s insistence that Beyonce directs her vigor towards her fans is faulty. Capon imagined the singer pressing her foot forward, demanding that “all the single ladies” prostrate before her. It seems odd to think that fans would turn into her adversaries over her nuptials.
Moreover, the song is a statement, misguided or not, to whomever she feels necessary: naysayers of her success, fans who hope she has not wavered and even herself through some chest-pumping.