Editor’s note: This article contains graphic images and lyrics.
The Internet is buzzing with excitement over Beyonce today, who had the only solidly good performance at the Video Music Awards (VMAs) this year. Beyonce’s medley lasted an eternity by VMA standards (over 16 minutes), and was a mashup of some of her most recent hits. She dominated Twitter’s trending topics and has been the subject of most of the entertainment blogosphere’s coverage of the event. The health of Beyonce’s marriage to Jay-Z, which has been the topic of endless speculation, was center-stage, along with her daughter, a beloved staple of an entertainment press corps which is rarely offered a glimpse of the girl, the product of two superstars.
Mollie discussed how incredibly ridiculous the “FEMINISM” banner behind Beyonce was as she performed with scantily clad women in thongs, shaking their you-know-whats. What was most striking to me about the entire performance was Beyonce’s wide-eyed, impressionable toddler taking in the entire performance from the front row, bouncing on her father’s knee. I watched the performance, half-paying attention until the camera panned to Blue Ivy sitting on Jay-Z’s lap about halfway through. After that point, I was rapt with attention, horrified at what Beyonce was performing in front of her impressionable young child.
If you’re unable, or just unwilling (can’t say I blame you) to sit through the entire performance, here’s a list of the most shocking moments of Beyonce’s performance in order of appearance, keeping in mind her toddler was looking on from the front row for the entire performance:
1. This was just the first time a male dancer had his arms around Beyonce.
3. These female dancers, wearing S&M face masks, performed alongside Beyonce as she sang the following lyrics:
You want me?
I want it done my way
You like it?
The bedroom’s my runway
I’m pinned to the doorway
Kiss, bite, foreplay
4. Yet another male dancer stroking Beyonce during the performance. Not only is Blue Ivy watching another man touch her mother, but Jay-Z is watching another man touch his wife along with her.
6. The female dancers in the background here spread their legs as Beyonce sang:
Oh baby, drunk in love we be all night
Last thing I remember is our beautiful bodies grinding up in the club
7. Some air-humping of benches from the estimable background dancers mentioned previously. Imagine how proud the parents of these young ladies are.
8. With roses blooming in the background, and as Beyonce stroked her leg, she sang the following lyrics, from her song “Rocket”:
“Let me sit this ass on you. Show you how I feel. Let me take this off. Will you watch me? Yes mass appeal. Don’t take your eyes. don’t take your eyes off it. Watch it, baby. If you like, you can touch me baby. Do you, do you wanna touch me baby? Grab ahold, don’t let go. Let me know that you ready.”
9. There was a great little number involving background dancers in nude costumes as they pole danced. Here’s the link if you really want to see something that disgusting. This article is already lecherous enough.
10. How does Beyonce define “feminist?” “A person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.” Before this definition was given, a narrator explained, “We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.”
Instead of teaching her daughter, and ours, many of whom view Beyonce as a role model, that girls should be equal to boys in their sexuality, why not teach boys and girls to be just that: boys and girls. Leave the sexuality for manhood and womanhood.
Oh, and here’s a shot of her young daughter and her father watching on, looking worried and maybe a little confused. Perhaps just tired.
11. And she’s back at it, showcasing a shaking behind along with other scantily clad backup dancers.
12.After the entire performance, Beyonce closed with a video montage showcasing tender moments between herself, her husband, and their newborn daughter. Highlighting her role as a mother to a young girl was quite an interesting way to end a performance showcasing how hyper-sexuality is somehow feminist.
Female musicians and performers are well within their right to have scandalous performances on an awards show airing after 9 p.m. They can be mothers and daughters, just as male performers can be husbands and sons. What is shocking about this particular performance isn’t that Beyonce is a mother, it is that her very young daughter watched it live, from the audience. With all of the media coverage of her performance and the event the next day, that doesn’t seem remotely odd or disturbing to any commentators watching. It was nice to have Blue Ivy co-present Beyonce with the “Vanguard Award” but I suggest, as the mother of a daughter myself, perhaps Jay-Z should’ve been waiting with her before that part of the show, sitting in a greenroom watching Sesame Street instead.