There I was…imaginary conversations...
She wore patterned pencil pants and three-inch heels with long straps that reminded me of a straight jacket. Those feet weren't going anywhere but where she directed. One beefy looking male in sunglasses followed a couple of feet behind.
"What?" she said. "Weren't expecting royalty?"
"Um, no—welcome." I waved a hand towards shimmery material, hoping to remove her gaze from me. I said, "I thought your mom designed your costumes."
She made a sound, a snicker really, as she moved to a table over which I had draped jade-hued georgette trimmed in gold brocade.
It's not in my nature to dislike people, but arrogance cloaked her, and it made me queasy—and juvenile; I didn't want her fingering my fabric. "How's that new single, 'Bow Down' working out for you?" I blurted. Heat burned my cheeks—yet I was curious for an answer.
She shrugged, leaned over the fabric.
You were "Destiny's Child"—or at least one of them, I wanted to say. I remember reading that you were grounded in upright ways, that you were close to your godly parents. You were one of the few celebrities to first get married and then have a baby.
What happened? Why did you choose this direction?
She remained bent over my georgette, but lifted her head. I could feel she didn't like me, either. "My new single—is fine, juss fine. Some backward fans were juss slow getting on board. But they're on board now. Bowing down, juss fine."
Here was People magazine's Most Beautiful Woman, yet I found her repulsive.
My mind wandered to my friend's three-year-old granddaughter and her burgeoning rhyming skills. If I said "riches" to Piper, I imagined she would innocently enough get around to "Mitches" which is how Beyonce derisively referred to Mitt Romney supporters, and the "B" word which is in abundant use in her new song. The latter is who she's telling to bow down, but both references are ugly.
Beyonce is merely growing as an artist. This was the explanation given to the fans who had trouble with the lyrics. As a writer by night, I know about the struggle of wanting to tell more complex stories than I have in the past. It calls for digging into the stuff of life, of humanity—a place rife with words I don't usually use.
I'm a grown-up, I can use those words if I want—no one's going to wash my mouth out with soap. But I struggle with each one I put into print because the last thing I want to do is add profanity to a profane world.
In addition to words, live ideas. How is becoming cruder and baser in our thinking translated as growth? I thought personal growth meant (at least partially) inculcating that which is excellent and true and beautiful and good into ones spirit—thereby making us want to be better singers, writers, people.
Beyonce's attention, amazingly enough, was still riveted on my georgette—or maybe it was the gold in the brocade trim. She was unwinding the fabric's modest length around her hips. It could make a lovely costume.
"What about Blue Ivy?" I asked. "What will your daughter think when she hears those lyrics coming from her mother's lips?"
Another snicker sounded. "It's juss a matter of time—then those (rhymes with riches) will be bowing down to her, too."
Her response rang in my head. Dislike dissipated. I found pity for her beyond my own understanding. I prayed this was not how her story would end.
Because she was right—it was just a matter of time before every knee would bend and every head would bow—but it wouldn't be for Beyonce or for her daughter.
All in Goodwill,