I’ll admit it: I used to hate Beyoncé. Straight up. For many years, I did not mess with her.
Let me start from the beginning. Growing up, I was a Mariah Carey, TLC, Gwen Stefani, every other girl group-loving little girl. I was even in one, we called ourselves “The Baby Girls.” We’d practice in my living room for hours then perform our favorite song, En Vogue‘s Don’t Let Go (Love). Oh, the 90s.
I remember the first time I saw the Say My Name video, my excitement quickly turned to confusion. “What is that?” I wondered. I recognized Beyoncé & Kelly but where was LeToya & LaTavia? Apparently, LeToya and Latavia were wondering the same thing. I later learned, through MTV News (remember when we got music news from MTV?), they had been replaced.
Then, I saw an interview where Kelly and Beyoncé were asked if they had seen LeToya and LaTavia since the split and before Kelly could answer, Beyoncé interrupted and said, “Don’t even say her name.”
That was it for me. Bey was so shady! See the many clips of her notorious shade here. That was the year I stopped being a Beyoncé fan. It also didn’t help her case, 2001 was the year Alicia Keys dropped her debut album and Aaliyah died. There were plenty of other R&B artists to enjoy.
By the time Dangerously In Love was released the summer of 2003, I was disinterested in hearing any Beyonce tunes. Jay Z was my favorite rapper, but at that point, I hated his collaborations with Bey. ‘03 Bonnie & Clyde was trash and so was Crazy in Love. (I still stand by this).
But Me, Myself & I was the truth and my roommate and I spent plenty of time dancing to the Baby Boy video in our dorm. Don’t get me wrong, a good song is a good song, but I wasn’t feeling Bey as a person.
Fast forward some years.
The boom of social media and rabid fans combined to bring forth the #Beyhive and many careers were ruined in the process. Cough, cough. Keri Hilson. During this time she tried her hand at acting (terribly if we’re being honest) and even covered Alanis Morissette’s classic You Oughta Know at the 2010 Grammy Awards. Alanis may have been fine with it, but I wasn’t.
But in 2011, something shifted. Beyoncé released 4 and Love on Top was released. It’s like she released it just for me. I LOVE THAT SONG! My friends looked at me crazy when I started singing Love On Top like the gospel it is. My notorious disdain for Bey had suddenly been overturned. They were confused. Was I really jamming to Love On Top hard? Yes I was!
Giving birth to the adorable Blue Ivy Carter also helped. But it was December 13, 2013, when she shocked the world and released her self-titled album that she earned my respect. The album completely changed the music industry. But more importantly, there was Beyoncé loudly and proudly proclaiming that she was a feminist. She had my vote.
When news of the ‘On The Run tour‘ hit the Internets, I actually stayed home from work just to make sure I got tickets. I wasn’t going to miss that show for the anything. I saw the sold out On The Run Tour in Chicago at Soldier Field stadium. IT WAS LIFE! If you’ve ever seen Beyoncé live, you know home girl puts on a damn good show. I was baptized in Bey-zus holy water that night.
Don’t mistake it, I haven’t reached #BeyHive stan level, but I’ve come a long way. Years ago, you couldn’t even get me to watch a Beyoncé performance. Now I anticipate them. I still critique her moves but I appreciate her contribution to music and I’m obsessed with new photos of Blue Ivy.
I’m just no longer President of the ‘I Hate Beyoncé’ Club and I’m perfectly fine with that.