How fast we grow up. Seems like yesterday I was watching a silly young assistant dance down the halls of the office singing “put a ring on it.” Married for more than a decade, I thought a better line would be “wrap an anaconda around it.”
I had written off the songstress urging wedding rings. Marriage is, after all, the most dangerous activity we all partake in. I have more than one friend who was either murdered or disappeared, always at the hands of the husband. Men take their wives’ money and take off, unloving from start to finish. Men are as equally victimized in different ways but I have to leave their defense in their hands because I only understand my side, the wife’s.
But back to the pop singer. She released the offensive “Single Ladies” in 2008. We assume, then, that Jay-Z had his affair with the fashion designer in the years between ’08 and when she began work on the magnificent LEMONADE.
Magnificent it is. Some of the visuals are derivative (This performance piece was on display at the Modern Museum of Art in 2006). The long grass evokes the best of director Terrence Malick as his soldiers slither through it to take the top of the Japanese-held hill. It has a life of its own, that grass. It sees all of humanity’s foolishness and just keeps softly moving in the wind.
That gentleness has been banished in her amazing song with Jack Black DON’T HURT YOURSELF.
Here are some of my favorite lyrics to her philandering narcissistic husband:
You hurt yourself, don’t hurt yourself
When you diss me, you diss yourself
Don’t hurt yourself
When you hurt me, you hurt yourself
When you love me, you love yourself
I am the dragon breathing fire
Beautiful man, I am the lion
I am not broken; I’m not crying
I’m not crying, you ain’t trying hard enough
You ain’t loving hard enough
When you lie to me, you lie to yourself
You know I give you life and if you try this shit again, you’ll lose your wife.
Between the song “Girls” and “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” something happened to Beyonce that was no doubt very painful. But in those 4 years something miraculous happened too. She felt every crook and cranny of her power as a beautiful, talented, rich woman. Jay-Z is now beside the point.
Beyonce grew and became a real artist, a transformation that never fails to leave me in awe. She was on the edge of the an emotional pit and she jumped in and faced it. Then, she did what is even harder. She crawled out, stood up in front of her tormentor and the whole damn world and told her truth.
Beyonce, you are my new hero.