In Case You Didn’t Believe Me

I am obsessed with Beyoncé. I even included it in my Bio. So I decided, let’s talk about Beyoncé.

She’s a pretty popular topic right now, so I thought I would weigh in. (See her most current video.)

Starting off, the video for Formation is a piece of art. Beautifully shot and produced, the outfits and compositions belong in museums. Each moment is captured with an intensity and attention to detail that is unusual to find in mainstream culture and art these days. This video was made for a purpose, obviously. It is historical and current. It is beauty and grit. It is Beyoncé.

And the song itself is also a piece of art. It is much deeper and more complex than the usual pop song, referencing documentaries and other artists alike. Formation lingers for a while with that twanging sound providing the primary driving force. Finally, we arrive at the climax, the queen repeating the mantra “I slay”, a powerful and empowering phrase, pushing the song harder and farther.

She is pulling no punches with this release.

Which leads me to what I appreciate about Beyoncé most. She has a position of great power and influence and she is using it to its advantage. She has wealth and beauty, but she isn’t squandering these resources. She is giving back- to charity, to her community, and to the public at large.

Someday I hope to emulate that tenacity and honesty through my career as a scholar and professor. I never want to sacrifice my morals or beliefs for my job or in my life again.

I will be in a position of some influence and I want to be able to use that to support equal rights and education. And I believe I can do that through both parts of my profession- through teaching and mentorship with students but also through scholarship.

The second area, my scholarship, is what I’m trying to figure out as I’m moving forward in my PhD program. I know of a few scholars who study LGBTQ+ issues in public administration and policy (Greg Lewis at Georgia State being possibly the most prominent) and hope to contribute to this literature someday. Luckily I have resources in professors who are very interested in representation who could be able to support me in these endeavors.

It took me this long to understand how important representation is. Seeing Beyoncé’s video helped me realize that. Listening to Troye Sivan’s album Blue Neighborhood helped me realize that (which a review of might be my next post). Representation is important because even if change at an institutional level is slow (something all political scientists know) it can lead to very immediate, important, internal changes for individuals. Just seeing someone who represents me or someone who represents the ideals I believe in has made me more comfortable in myself and the beliefs I hold dear.

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