July 14, 2011
Last month I was stunned while watching and listening to Beyonce being interviewed by Piers Morgan (from CNN). Beyonce was promoting her new album and agreed to do what would normally be considered a routine interview.
Morgan asked Beyonce one question that was totally inappropriate. I was quite offended that he would totally disrespect his interviewee; but what was even more offensive was the response that was given by the interviewee—Beyonce. You can watch the interview at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUT4k9brYB4&feature=related (begin at the 10:10 mark)
Up until the part of the interview in question, this was just your normal celebrity interview. No trick questions, no gotcha moments.
You can tell a lot about an interviewer based on the questions (and how they are asked) he chooses to ask. For example, it is inconceivable that a reporter would have ever asked Bush (the elder) whether he wore boxer or briefs as his choice of underwear. But Bill Clinton was asked that very question on MTV when he was running for president in 1992. Of course, one could make the argument that Bush would have never agreed to go on MTV!
Bill Clinton ran a campaign targeting the youth vote and created the image of himself as a “cool dude.” So, he played right into the MTV generation’s hands—they have no boundaries and no respect for decorum and manners. Thus you get a girl like Monica Lewinsky who had the gall to literally show her butt to the President of the United States.
So, with the MTV interview and the Lewinsky affair, the question is: what was it about Bill Clinton that he created an environment where an interviewer and an intern felt comfortable enough to do what they did?
What was it about Beyonce that made Morgan feel comfortable asking her about her booty? The White House has used her extensively to promote positive images among young girls and to teach them how to demand respect from the opposite sex.
Could Beyonce have created this environment by making her money off of prancing around on stage damn near nude? She seems to be incapable of keeping her clothes on while on stage, though she is talented enough not to need these types of gimmicks to sell her product.
Below is the aforementioned dialogue between Morgan and Beyonce:
Morgan: “The big question really that I need to ask you; you are J-Lo?”
Beyonce: “Me or who?”
Beyonce: “WHAT? (laughing like a little kid, noticeably taken aback with the question)
Morgan: “Who has the best booty?
Beyonce: “You are crazy (giggling). J-lo (referring to her having the best booty—again, laughing nervously like a little kid).
Morgan: “You don’t honestly think that?
Beyonce: “I love J-Lo. She’s great. I’m not comparing my booty to J-Lo’s.
Morgan: So, you think she’s got a better booty”?
Beyonce: “I’m not saying anything. I’m not comparing my booty to J-Lo’s.
I cringed at Beyonce’s reaction to Morgan’s totally inappropriate questions. I wish she had intelligently told him that she found the question quite offensive and that she would not dignify his question with a response.
So, Morgan was out of line for asking the question, but what made him feel comfortable asking her about her “booty?”
Remember, Beyonce is the same person that scored a number one hit with the song “Bootylicious.” So, in many ways, Beyonce created the very environment that made Morgan think this type of questioning was appropriate.
This is the problem with public figures whose success is predicated on the very thing they claim to abhor. Beyonce has been on a crusade with Michelle Obama about positive images for young girls, but yet her success is based on her on sexuality (and semi-nudeness).
You can’t say “what I do on stage is just my work.” You can’t make your living from selling sexuality; then wonder why people view you in terms of your sexuality.
So, when Morgan asked her about her booty and she began to giggle like a child, Beyonce missed a golden opportunity to be an example to young girls on how to demand respect. Instead, she chose to “Stepin Fetchit.”
So, obviously, she now qualifies to be on a women’s empowerment panel for Essence Magazine. This just goes to show you that respect is not given, but rather it is earned. Beyonce missed a great opportunity to be that example in front of millions of viewers, especially young girls. That’s the true tragedy of this story.
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm. He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine (www.excellstyle.com) & USAfrica Magazine (www.USAfricaonline.com).