Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage from

Beyonce, what have you done?

By LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor
updated 7:53 AM EDT, Thu March 13, 2014
In 2014, there's been no denying Beyonce's power. From releasing a surprise album to emerging unscathed from a potentially damaging family squabble, Queen Bey's reign has yet to end. <a href='http://www.forbes.com/sites/dorothypomerantz/2014/06/30/beyonce-knowles-tops-the-forbes-celebrity-100-list/' target='_blank'>Forbes magazine</a> recognized the 32-year-old's prowess in June, naming Beyonce as the most powerful celebrity in entertainment. Here's a recap of the superstar's life and career: In 2014, there's been no denying Beyonce's power. From releasing a surprise album to emerging unscathed from a potentially damaging family squabble, Queen Bey's reign has yet to end. Forbes magazine recognized the 32-year-old's prowess in June, naming Beyonce as the most powerful celebrity in entertainment. Here's a recap of the superstar's life and career:
HIDE CAPTION
Beyonce through the years
Beyonce through the years
Beyonce through the years
Beyonce through the years
Beyonce through the years
Beyonce through the years
Beyonce through the years
Beyonce through the years
Beyonce through the years
Beyonce through the years
Beyonce through the years
Beyonce through the years
Beyonce through the years
Beyonce through the years
Beyonce through the years
Beyonce through the years
Beyonce through the years
Beyonce through the years
Beyonce through the years
Beyonce through the years
Beyonce through the years
Beyonce through the years
Beyonce through the years
Photos: Beyonce through the years
Beyonce through the years
Beyonce through the years
Beyonce through the years
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Beyonce appears in two popular new videos; one is to encourage girls to be assertive
  • The other is a suggestive music video partly about having sex in the back seat of a limo
  • LZ Granderson says Beyonce's music appeals to grown-ups, but is it appropriate for girls?
  • He says it would be better if she didn't mix messages for those who look up to her

Editor's note: LZ Granderson writes a weekly column for CNN.com. A senior writer for ESPN and lecturer at Northwestern University, the former Hechinger Institute fellow has had his commentary recognized by the Online News Association, the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. Follow him on Twitter @locs_n_laughs.

(CNN) -- There are two Web clips featuring Beyonce that have been getting a lot of attention.

Clip No. 1 features a host of celebrities and community leaders, including Bey, involved with a movement trying to ban the use of the word "bossy" in reference to young girls. The reason being that "bossy" is often used in a derogatory way to describe girls who display leadership traits, thus discouraging them from asserting themselves.

"I'm not bossy, I'm the boss," the superstar says.

LZ Granderson
LZ Granderson

Clip No. 2 features Beyonce wearing a bedazzled thong and not much else, as she sings about ejaculate landing on her dress after performing oral sex in the back of a limo.

"I just want to be the girl you like," she pleads to her husband, Jay-Z, in the "Partition" video, the second single from her latest release, "Beyonce."

The first single, "Drunk in Love", included a line from her husband that made light of a domestic violence scene documented in the Tina Turner biopic "What's Love Got To Do With It."

Beyonce the artist is above reproach. With 17 wins, she has only one less Grammy than Aretha Franklin. She has more than 13 million Twitter followers despite only tweeting eight times. And she famously crashed iTunes by releasing a full CD without any promotion.

However, Beyonce the role model is questionable as hell.

I'm all for handcuffs, hot wax, stripper poles, whips -- whatever it is two consenting adults want to do in the privacy of their bedroom to keep the relationship fresh. But increasingly, Beyonce has chosen not to keep such things private.

Beyonce's steamy video for 'Partition'

The lyrics to "Partition" pale in comparison with some of the more graphic phrases heard on her latest CD, and many parents complained that having her sexually charged performance open this year's Grammys was inappropriate given the time of night.

Beyonce: Gender equality is a myth

I was not one of those parents, mind you.

But then again, I have a 17-year-old son, not an 11-year-old daughter.

Fox's Bill O'Reilly was mocked recently for his pseudointerview with Russell Simmons, in which instead of talking about Simmons' new book on meditation -- which the hip-hop star came on the show to do -- he ranted about "Partition."

"Teenage girls look up to Beyonce, particularly girls of color," O'Reilly said. "Why on Earth would this woman do that?"

And by "that," he means sing about having sex in the back of a limo.

"I believe an entertainer like Beyonce, and a mogul like you, have an obligation to protect children. Not put out exploitative garbage that you know harm impressionable children," he said.

Now as a fan of many genres of music, I know O'Reilly could replace Bey's name with any number of popular artists and the question would still be applicable.

For example, country artists sing about getting drunk and having sex in the back of pickups quite often. And in 2011, the National Center for Health Statistics reported teenage birth rates for 15- to-19-year-olds were highest in states such as Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas and Kentucky, where country music is most popular.

So O'Reilly singling out the music of Beyonce can certainly be seen as either unfair or even a not-so-subtle attack on the White House, given Beyonce's ties to the administration.

But O'Reilly's motives aside, Beyonce does position herself as a role model for young girls.

Like the "Bossy" video encouraging young girls to be leaders.

Or the "Move Your Body" video released in conjunction with Michelle Obama's anti-obesity campaign directed at kids.

I doubt the first lady would be happy to see Sasha or Malia dancing to "Partition" the way Beyonce does in her music video. Not because dancing seductively or expressing sexuality through song is inherently wrong. But doing so at 15 and 12 -- while singing "I just want to be the girl you like" -- isn't ideal. Currently, Vevo is heavily promoting the video, and the song jumped from No. 97 to No. 23 on Billboard in one week.

Of course the President and first lady are excellent parents who will guide their daughters down the appropriate path.

Unfortunately, too many daughters, too many children have TVs for baby sitters.

That isn't Beyonce's cross to bear. Nor is it a cross O'Reilly should attempt to leave on her doorstep.

But it is a cross any artist who brands herself or himself as a role model for young impressionable minds needs to be aware of. Beyonce makes grown-folks music, and I love it. But if she truly wants to be kid-friendly, she should consider leaving the foreplay in the bedroom because trying to have it both ways makes parenting for some harder than it should be.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook.com/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of LZ Granderson.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:49 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Patrick Cronin and Kelley Sayler say the world is seeing nonstate groups such as Ukraine's rebels wielding more power to do harm than ever before
updated 6:05 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Ukraine ambassador Olexander Motsyk places blame for the MH17 tragedy squarely at the door of Russia
updated 7:42 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Mark Kramer says Russia and its proxies have a history of shooting down civilian aircraft, often with few repercussions
updated 2:53 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Les Abend says, with rockets flying over Tel Aviv and missiles shooting down MH17 over Ukraine, a commercial pilot's pre-flight checklist just got much more complicated
updated 9:17 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Mark Kramer says Russia and its proxies have a history of shooting down civilian aircraft, often with few repercussions
updated 12:37 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Gerard Jacobs says grieving families and nations need the comfort of traditional rituals to honor the remains of loved ones, particularly in a mass disaster
updated 10:13 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
The idea is difficult to stomach, but John Sutter writes that eating dog is morally equivalent to eating pig, another intelligent animal. If Americans oppose it, they should question their own eating habits as well.
updated 12:30 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Bill van Esveld says under the laws of war, civilians who do not join in the fight are always to be protected. An International Criminal Court could rule on whether Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rocketing are war crimes.
updated 8:05 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
LZ Granderson says Ronald Reagan went horseback riding and took a vacation after the Korean Air Crash of 1983. So why does the GOP keep airbrushing history to bash Obama?
updated 9:38 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Aaron Miller says Kerry needs the cooperation of Hamas, Israel, Egypt and others if he is to succeed in his peacemaking efforts
updated 8:51 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Errol Louis says the tragic death of Eric Garner at the hands of the NYPD has its roots in the "broken windows" police strategy from the crime-ridden '80s.
updated 10:08 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Gordon Brown says the kidnapped Nigerian girls have been in captivity for 100 days, but the world has not forgotten them.
updated 7:27 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says Texas Gov. Rick Perry is right to immediately send 1,000 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border in response to the border children crisis.
updated 9:56 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Ukraine's president says the downing of MH17 was a terrorist act, but Richard Barrett says it would be considered terrorism only if it was intentional
updated 4:15 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Robert McIntyre says the loophole that lets firms avoid taxes should be closed
updated 11:35 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Jeronimo Saldana and Malik Burnett say Gov. Perry's plan to send National Guard to the border won't solve the escalating immigration problem.
updated 1:42 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Sally Kohn: The world's fish and waters are polluted and under threat. Be very careful what fish you eat
updated 8:42 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Les Abend says threat information that pilots respond to is only as good as the intelligence from air traffic controllers. And none of it is a match for a radar-guided missile
updated 8:35 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Frida Ghitis: Anger over MH17 is growing against pro-Russia separatists. It's time for the Dutch government to lead, she writes
updated 8:27 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Julian Zelizer says President Obama called inequality the "defining challenge" of our time but hasn't followed through.
updated 7:57 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Gene Seymour says the 'Rockford Files' actor worked the persona of the principled coward, charming audiences on big and small screen for generations
updated 10:17 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Daniel Treisman says that when the Russian leader tied his fate to the Ukraine separatists, he set the stage for his current risky predicament
updated 12:42 PM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
Andrew Kuchins says urgent diplomacy -- not sanctions -- is needed to de-escalate the conflict in Ukraine that helped lead to the downing of an airliner there.
updated 9:50 PM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
Jim Hall and Peter Goelz say there should be an immediate and thorough investigation into what happened to MH17.
updated 11:07 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
Pilot Bill Palmer says main defense commercial jets have against missiles is to avoid flying over conflict areas.
updated 1:55 PM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
Valerie Jarrett says that working women should not be discriminated against because they are pregnant.
updated 3:53 PM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
David Wheeler says the next time you get a difficult customer representative, think about recording the call.
updated 3:33 PM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
Newt Gingrich says the more dangerous the world becomes the more Obama hides in a fantasy world.
updated 6:11 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
Michael Desch: It's hard to see why anyone, including Russia and its local allies, would have intentionally targeted the Malaysian Airlines flight
updated 3:14 PM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
LZ Granderson says we must remember our visceral horror at the news of children killed in an airstrike on a Gaza beach next time our politicians talk of war
updated 8:06 AM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
Sally Kohn says now the House GOP wants to sue Obama for not implementing a law fast enough, a law they voted down 50 times, all reason has left the room.
updated 8:14 AM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
A street sign for Wall Street
Sens. Elizabeth Warren, John McCain and others want to scale back the "too big to fail" banks that put us at risk of another financial collapse.
updated 4:16 PM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
Newt Gingrich writes an open letter to Robert McDonald, the nominee to head the Veterans Administration.
updated 12:01 PM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
Paul Begala says Dick Cheney has caused an inordinate amount of damage yet continues in a relentless effort to revise the history of his failures.
updated 10:04 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
Kids who takes cell phones to bed are not sleeping, says Mel Robbins. Make them park their phones with the parents at night.
updated 8:37 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Buzz Aldrin looked at planet Earth as he stood on talcum-like lunar dust 45 years ago. He thinks the next frontier should be Mars.
updated 2:04 PM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Mark Zeller never thought my Afghan translator would save his life by killing two Taliban fighters who were about to kill him. The Taliban retaliated by placing him on the top of its kill list.
updated 11:18 AM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
Jeff Yang says an all-white cast of Asian characters in cartoonish costumes is racially offensive.
updated 9:24 PM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Gary Ginsberg says the late John F. Kennedy Jr.'s reaction to an event in 1995 summed up his character
updated 12:41 PM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Meg Urry says most falling space debris lands on the planet harmlessly and with no witnesses.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT