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Beyoncé, Inc.

Beyonce performs in 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Beyonce performs in 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.

You know Beyoncé Knowles Carter. And you likely love her. She was one of the top 10 most admired women, according to a 2017 Gallup poll. Her net worth was $355 million in 2018.

She has famous friends, too.

So, when Beyoncé showed up on the cover of the hallowed September issue of American Vogue, it was pretty predictable that people went nuts.

She had the first black photographer in the magazine’s 126-year-old history, Tyler Mitchell, take these portraits.

When she was on the cover of the September issue in 2015, her photos were accompanied by an essay about her popularity with no direct quotes from her. But this issue contained longer comments from her, as told to Jezebel culture editor Clover Hope.

Here are some excerpts:

I think it’s important for women and men to see and appreciate the beauty in their natural bodies. That’s why I stripped away the wigs and hair extensions and used little makeup for this shoot.

If people in powerful positions continue to hire and cast only people who look like them, sound like them, come from the same neighborhoods they grew up in, they will never have a greater understanding of experiences different from their own. They will hire the same models, curate the same art, cast the same actors over and over again, and we will all lose. The beauty of social media is it’s completely democratic. Everyone has a say. Everyone’s voice counts, and everyone has a chance to paint the world from their own perspective.

There are many shades on every journey. Nothing is black or white. I’ve been through hell and back, and I’m grateful for every scar. I have experienced betrayals and heartbreaks in many forms. I have had disappointments in business partnerships as well as personal ones, and they all left me feeling neglected, lost, and vulnerable. Through it all I have learned to laugh and cry and grow. I look at the woman I was in my 20s and I see a young lady growing into confidence but intent on pleasing everyone around her. I now feel so much more beautiful, so much sexier, so much more interesting. And so much more powerful.

But her life hasn’t been completely drama-free. Her marriage has been plagued by rumors of infidelity by her husband Jay-Z, she has had a miscarriage and many consider ‘Lemonade’s’ Grammy snub racially motivated.

After a long career in the entertainment industry, what is it about Beyoncé that allows her to continually dominate media as a musician and a mogul? How will her brand of celebrity influence generations of artists to come? And how is her ability to be a shot caller affecting everything from feminism to social justice to record label releases?


Fredara Hadley, Visiting assistant professor of ethnomusicology, Oberlin College; @fredaraMareva

Soraya McDonald, Culture critic, The Undefeated; @SorayaMcDonald

Kimberly Adams, Senior reporter, Marketplace; @KA_Marketplace

Candice Marie Benbow, Freelance writer; educator; @CandiceBenbow

For more, visit https://the1a.org.

© 2018 WAMU 88.5 – American University Radio.

Copyright 2018 WAMU 88.5

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