FRIDAY MAY 4, 2012 – BY KIRSTEN WEST SAVALI
When news broke yesterday that Beyonce Knowles was selected to receive a journalism award for herEssence feature story, “Eat, Play, Love,” by the New York Association of Black Journalists, I was stunned – to put it mildly.
In fact, my initial response on Facebook was:
“Wow…Beyonce is winning journalism awards now? I quit.”
Followed swiftly by:
“I think I’ve been going about this journalism thing all wrong. I should get some blonde extensions, learn how to make it clap while saying “uh-oh” and talk about the simple things in life like jumping off of yachts.
That’s the ticket.
*Shreds all rough drafts of articles that empower the Black community and puts on leotard.”
Stunned, I said…to put it mildly.
It’s not that Queen Bey makes a living gyrating and writhing around the globe, nor even that I would stand before a jury and sweet, fictitious 8-pound baby Jesus and claim beyond a reasonable doubt that she hired a ghostwriter. (Shout-out to the ghostwriter; you did your thing!)
No, I’m stunned because the NYABJ proved with that one insulting decision that they are willing to kiss Beyonce’s ass at the expense of hard-working journalists everywhere.
There is no way in the hell that they can convince anyone that not one, single, solitary article in the “arts and entertainment” category was more “artistic” and “entertaining” than a diary about discovering a love for artichokes and learning to appreciate the little things.
“We don’t believe you, you need more people,” as Beyonce’s husband would say.
In addition to Beyonce, a Lifetime Achievement award is being presented to Robert Naylor, a thirty-year vet who chaired the Associated Press Diversity Council and a founding member of the LGBT Task Force. Tribute will also be paid to late journalism pioneer Gil Noble, host of “Like It Is” since 1967 — not to mention the dozens of other journos who do this for little to no pay and even less recognition day-in and day-out.
That’s some pretty impressive company for the “Bootylicious” pentress to be in and there is no way that she can believe she deserves it.
But, here’s the catch.
It’s not her fault. There is no need to criticize Beyonce for the actions of what should be a legitimate journalism organization. She’s just walking around in her Louboutins, yacht jumping, breastfeeding, flashing her smile, flipping her hair and shaking her ass for her adoring public. In other words, she’s never ventured too far from her lane; unless you count “Dreamgirls” and the other movie that I only remember because of Idris Elba with his fine self, but that’s another article.
In the last 24 hours, I’ve seen vicious comments about her lack of education and pesky plagiarism issues. And while they’re at it, horribly petty people decided to speculate again if she bleaches her skin and why her hair gets blonder and blonder, and if she gave birth to Blue Ivy – better yet, is she’s carrying around some sort of fake baby to throw people off the trail?
I never use this term, so forgive me in advance:
But this is a definite case of people “hating” on Beyonce.
At the end of the day — whether you like her, love her or hate her — she’s still another Black woman (well African-American, Native-American and French woman according to her L’ Oreal ad, but you get my point) doing her thing and doing it well. If you’re mad, write the NYABJ – they’re the ones who placed celebrity over substance. Beyonce is a mother, wife, singer, actress and business woman. What she is not, is a journalist. She also didn’t ask for the award. Educated Black people always preach, scold and berate our young people for placing “stars” on a pedestal, but apparently when the scholarly among us do it, it’s entirely justified.
“This is just one award,” said Michael Feeney, the president of the New York chapter of the Black journalists association. “I know a lot of people are upset but we are honoring a lot of outstanding journalists on that night. Beyoncé is a role model. I hope this honor will inspire other girls to pursue a career in journalism.”
No, Mr. Feeney, it may possibly inspire other young girls to pursue a glamorous entertainment career so that that they too can have accolades such as a “Most Beautiful Woman in the World” thrown at them (as if there is such a thing) — and “journalism” awards for articles about a vacation. What it will not do is encourage any scholarly pursuit whatsoever. Let’s be real.
But then again – since the NYAJB has garnered more media exposure over this decision than, well, ever – maybe encouraging young people was never really the point…was it?