Beyonce has earned a lot of titles during her career, from a modern feminist to Queen of the BeyHive, but now feminist scholar bell hooks is deeming the “Partition” songstress a “terrorist.”
On Wednesday night, the New School hosted a panel discussion between Black women activists and creative that led to an intense debate over Beyonce’s impact on young women.
During the discussion, hooks (who chooses not to capitalize her name in order to indicate the importance of text and content over the name of the author) argued that Beyonce had little to no control over her scantily-clad Time Magazine cover that makes her image far from that of a powerful feminist.
“Let’s take the image of this super rich, very powerful Black female and let’s use it in the service of imperialist, white supremacist capitalist patriarchy because she probably had very little control over that cover – that image,” bell said.
Two other ladies on the panel, author Marci Blackman and activist Janet Mock, didn’t necessarily agree with hooks’ sentiments.
“I think she had control over what she wore… I would argue that she has a power now that she has final-cut approval and she chose that image,” Mock said. “I don’t want to strip Beyonce of her agency, of choosing that image, of being her own manager, of all this stuff.”
Hooks then responded by suggesting Beyonce is purposefully creating an image of herself that makes her a “slave” rather than a “liberatory” feminist.
That’s when Blackman suggested that Beyonce was merely using the images that were once used against her and many other Black women and molded them into something she could benefit from and take control of.
“…She’s taken control of it and saying, ‘If y’all are going to make money off it, so am I,’ “ Blackman said. “There’s collusion, perhaps, but there’s also a bit of reclaiming if she’s the one in control.”
Mock then added that she felt somewhat empowered by the images of Beyonce’s “Partition” video and her decision to regain control of her image from her father.
That’s when hooks made her view of Beyonce very clear by slamming the global pop and R&B star as a “terrorist.”
“I see a part of Beyonce that is in fact anti-feminist,” hooks said. “That is a terrorist, especially in terms of the impact on young girls. I actually feel like the major assault on feminism in our society has come from visual media, and from television, and videos. Just think, do we know of any powerful man of any color who’s come out with some tirade against feminist? The tirades against feminism occur so much in the image-making business, and what we see.”
She then asked, “Why don’t we have liberatory images that are away from, not an inversion of, what society has told us?”
The full discussion lasted for a little under two hours and can be watched below: