I know it’s a random post title and Beyonce doesn’t need any affirmation from me, but bear with me for a moment. Beyonce as a public figure stirs up a lot of thoughts in my mind. I literally see news about something in her life everyday on the Brooklyn news which for me makes her fame and persona inescapable and slightly annoying. And as much as I love her music, once it catches on I hear it everywhere, which is why I’m usually about 2 years late downloading her albums though somehow I still know all the words. Go Figure. I’ve even had to
semi retire my Freek’um Dress(es).
Because of that same bit of overexposure, I was a little reluctant to watch her documentary, “Life is But a Dream.” I don’t EVER deny her as being a musical talent. I, mean I have seen her in concert. That, folks is a SHOW. But the Promos for the doc, left me a bit underwhelmed. However, after reading several posts and articles about how she didn’t reveal anything and people saying she was weird but at least she curses, I decided to look at the movie for myself. I found both the posts, the people and I as someone prejudiced against her, wrong. While there was minimal gossip exposed (this was not an E True Hollywood Story or VH1′s Behind the Music), when it came to Beyonce the artist and business-woman she laid everything bare (without being weird).
Watching her documentary was enlightening, not because she is a world-class entertainer, but because at the end of the day she is both an artist and business-woman. Though the Dynastic wealth of the Roc may currently elude me, creativity and the struggle it brings with it do not. Do you know how hard it is to be both artist and business woman? Not to mention that she is a wife, sister, aunt and daughter. Those titles all come with different responsibilities. Like many people, she’s made professional sacrifices sometimes at the cost of her personal relationships, but always in an effort to find her own independence and truth as an artist. I find that willingness to be so true to oneself to be admirable even though you see a bit of her questioning its worth in her eyes.
In viewing, “Life”, I saw the dichotomy between her work; as she writes and sings in the studio,where she artistically feels most at home, versus the business side as manages herself, declaring how things should be for a performance. Though this space is where she seems less comfortable this is where I saw the most growth. At one point during the doc, she says, “Why do I feel like no one is listening?” I uttered those same words on Friday at work. And guess what? In both cases, no one was listening to me or Beyonce. It was good to see that she too, struggles with being both shot caller and artist, as she lets go of being nice in an effort to be clear and direct when it comes to saying what she wants. She talks about the valuable lessons she learned about work ethic, drive and artistry from those most important in her life, including her father and Jay-Z just as easily as she speaks about needing the support of women, trusting her instincts and the injustice about being a woman in a male-dominated evironment. Yeah, she’s Beyonce and all, but I am sure someone has tried to talk down to her a time or two. And don’t the best lessons in life and business often come from those we look up to?
Like many women artists, balance feels hard to maintain. We want to be true to ourselves and art yet composed and respected in a room full of business people. Many of us struggle to say or ask for what we really want, whether it be money, the corner office, or a promotion, but somehow we find the guts to do it it anyway. In life we aim to not let the art consume us though it is an extension of our inner selves. In work , we as women want to channel our personal power, be respected for our talents and strategize our next steps by using our best business minds. And as we witness with in Beyonce’s “Life,” that work space can be equally lonely as we sometimes find ourselves competing with one another for no reason well as deeply fulfilling as we build and lead fantastic teams and inspire other women to follow our lead. While I don’t want to be Bey any more than when I started watching the doc, it’s nice to know, in art and business, creatively speaking, we share some common ground.
Now, I’m off to download her album. You know the one from 2 years ago.