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Beyoncé: from the ‘90s to now

by Fiona Maynard March 3, 2015
Beyoncé: from the ‘90s to now

The superstar is credited with supporting feminism in her long-established career

For those who have followed Beyoncé’s career from early stardom to becoming the world-renowned superstar we all know her as today, there’s no denying her music has evolved over time.


Photo from Flickr.

She started off as the lead singer in the R&B group called Destiny’s Child which, according to Billboard, ended up being one of the best-selling girl groups of all time with recognized singles such as “Survivor” and “Bootylicious.” These tracks both have messages that shouldn’t be missed.

“Survivor” instills a sense of self-worth by defending independence and being confident in one’s achievements. Beyoncé was inspired to write “Bootylicious” based on nasty comments from the media criticizing her physique. The song praised women with curvy bodies and emphasized that all women are beautiful.

The singer/songwriter and actress then branched off to start her tremendously successful solo career. Beyoncé has always written songs about love, monogamous relationships and women’s empowerment through different lenses as each album was produced.

Beyoncé met her husband Jay-Z in 1999, and they started dating when she was 19 years old. The couple collaborated on many songs, the first of which was “Crazy in Love.” This song introduced “Bey-Z” as the ultimate rap/R&B distinguished duo. Their song “Déja Vu” openly demonstrated their chemistry and head over heels love for one another with lyrics like “Baby seems like everywhere I go I see you, from your eyes, your smile, it’s like I breathe you.” Their fearless and vulnerable lyrics inspire people to live by their own rules, follow their creative intuitions, and not let anyone’s opinion affect the final outcome of a project.

Jay-Z’s single, “On the Run,” featuring Beyoncé, put their relationship into perspective for the public, with lyrics reflecting “an innocent love un-misunderstood.” There is no doubt that Jay-Z is an enormous influence when it comes to Beyoncé’s music, however, she plays a huge part in his musical career as well. When their daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, was born, (before the Beyoncé album was released) Jay-Z vowed never to use the word “bitch” in his songs again. This was also due to the image Beyoncé painted herself as: an equal rights activist who believes that “men and women balance each other out, and we have to get to a point where we are comfortable with appreciating each other,” as mentioned in her 11-minute video, Yours and Mine, which was released in Dec. 2014 without forewarning.

Beyoncé’s work has gone from a safe mainstream pop and R&B style to a darker more risqué tone. Her latest album, Beyoncé, which had absolutely no advertising or warning that an album was in production, was dropped onto the world, leaving people in awe while her greatest masterpiece yet was revealed. On this exclusive visual album, including videos for every song, her track “Drunk in Love” gave her fans an intimate look into the star studded relationship.

The song also caused a lot of controversy for Beyoncé who is an advocate for women’s rights. Many critics analyzed the lyrics and deciphered several theories as to what the couple meant when writing this song. One of the lyrics has Jay-Z rapping “Now eat the cake, Anna Mae, I said eat the cake Anna Mae.” The lyric is criticized for being a reference to a scene from the Tina Turner biopic, What’s Love Got to Do With It, in which Tina’s (born as Anna Mae) abusive husband becomes physical to get her to eat cake. The lyrics came off as distasteful and offensive, however, the term “eat the cake” is also a common term in rap, and is used as sexual slang.

Beyoncé’s 2014 MTV Video Music Awards performance brought the F-word to the masses. The end of her performance consisted of projecting the word “Feminist” on a giant screen while she stood in front and embraced the message.

In her video, Yours and Mine, Beyoncé explained how she feels about the word: “I’ve always considered myself a feminist, although I was always afraid of that word because people put so much on it… I consider myself a humanist,” she said.

Beyoncé’s main goal is to leave a mark on the world through creative expression, and in the video, Yours and Mine, she explains that “the love that [she has] for music, for [her] husband, for [her] child, is something that will last far beyond [her] life.”

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