I recently read this terribly lazy preview of Beyonce’s Formation tour (which is coming to Pittsburgh in four days and OH MY GOD I AM SO EXCITED) and was inspired to write a letter to the editor. Because, in addition to writing pages-long theses about “Lemonade” in a blog, I am now also compelled to call out music critics who are bitter that their bosses make them cover Beyonce when they’d rather talk about The Avett Brothers. Or Neutral Milk Hotel, or something. I probably don’t know the name of the band he wants to cover, because I’m not that fleek.
I crafted the letter carefully, hoping to strike just the right tone of condescending mansplaination. Only, of course, I’m not mansplaining; I’m Beysplaining. Shindancer suggested I post the letter here (I don’t know if it’ll be published or not.)
So at the risk of being as smug and self-aggrandizing as this guy, here’s my best crack at Beysplaining Formation. Let me know how I did.
Scott Mervis’ preview of the Beyonce Formation tour was one of the most depressingly lazy examples of music journalism I’ve read. Not only does he joke in the first three paragraphs that Beyonce herself will take a bat to attendees’ cars–a joke that, at best, is obvious, and at worst, foments ridiculous rumors that she’s personally violent–but he also says she depicts cops as “the enemy.” If anyone with critical thinking skills listens to the album, or watches the film, they’ll understand that’s patently untrue.
Later, he says “Daddy Lessons” includes a gun that “you fear might go off in the third act.” That little dramatic hyperbole unnecessarily feeds the rhetoric about Beyonce, as well. Lastly, “Becky” isn’t slang for “white girl.” It’s slang for a narrow-minded white girl who uses sex to climb the social ladder.
I have no idea whether Mervis likes the album or if he’s seen the tour and can speak to it personally. My suspicion is that he’s annoyed that he has to cover a female pop star’s tour, conducted his research on Buzzfeed, and opted for rabble-rousing over a real review. (Aside from the shoutouts to local Pittsburgh musicians, of course.)
That said: I’d like to see a more in-depth piece about the “local industry insider” who believes that “women don’t want to see other women” at concerts. As a woman who’s attending the Formation tour with three other women (and we’re all also seeing Dolly Parton later this summer), it seems to me that a reason women aren’t seeing other women is because the men in power aren’t actually bringing women here.
Newsflash: Women like music by women. Women have friends who also like music by women. And women have money. In the words of the Queen Bey: “Boy, bye.”