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Whitlock: Beyoncé is a poor replacement for Aretha Franklin
Kevin Mazur / Contributor, Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer | Getty Images

Whitlock: Beyoncé is a poor replacement for Aretha Franklin

The first words spoken on Beyoncé's new album are “please, motherf***ers.” She repeats the phrase over and over again, adding “ain’t stopping me.”

Please, motherf***ers ain’t stopping me.

"Renaissance," her seventh studio album, is explicitly crude and profane. A New York Times reviewer described the 40-year-old singer’s 16-song collection as “steeped in black queer bravado.” Wesley Morris, the Pulitzer-winning reviewer, never defined black queer bravado. The reader is left to assume that queer bravado is as endemic to black people as full lips, wide noses, nappy hair, and obscene music.

Beyoncé, the so-called heir to Aretha Franklin’s title as the “Queen of Soul,” has more in common with Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion than the icon who demanded "Respect."

Beyoncé symbolizes the catastrophic descent of black culture and America’s indifference to its fall.

"Renaissance" is controversial for its use of the word “spaz,” not the filth spewed by a middle-aged married mother of three. Expectations have fallen so low for American black people that no one expects Beyoncé to mature or make music that uplifts black folks.

No. Our only expectation is that she contains her penchant for degeneracy and denigration to black people only.

That explains why Beyoncé will eliminate the word spaz from her latest album. Disability rights advocates complained that the singer’s use of the word "spaz" in the song "Heated" is a slur against people with cerebral palsy. Spastic diplegia causes motor impairment in the arms and legs. The phrase “spazzing out” is mocking what happens to people with spastic diplegia.

I learned all that this morning when I heard the pop singer was editing the song. I did not know the etymology of "spaz." Now I do. I’m not sure I care.

What I find fascinating about all of this is that people with cerebral palsy care more about policing the way they’re portrayed in the entertainment and media world than black people do.

We’re the only group with absolutely no standards. The entire rap music industry is built on the N-word. It is used repeatedly in nearly every successful commercial rap song. Rappers brag about killing n*****, raping n*****, robbing n*****, dissing n*****. No one cares. Beyoncé uses the N-word in "Heated." No one cares.

Every minority group aggressively polices how they’re characterized in music, television, and movies except black people.

In 1995, Michael Jackson, the greatest force in the history of music, released the song "They Don’t Care About Us" on the album "HIStory." It was a protest song. It decried racism. It argued that the government and the powerful elite only pretend to care about the great mass of humanity.

The song included the lyrics “Jew me, sue me, everybody do me/ Kick me, kike me, don’t you black or white me.”

On June 15, 1995, Bernard Weinraub wrote a piece in the New York Times suggesting that Jackson’s use of the words "Jew me" and "kike me" were anti-Semitic. Eight days later, after issuing two apologies, Jackson agreed to rewrite the song, eliminating the offending words.

On the same song, the rapper Notorious B.I.G. used the N-word twice. Bernard Weinraub did not care about that. Neither did anyone else. We don’t care about us. No one does. I don’t blame non-blacks. If we don’t care, why should they?

Jewish people care how they’re represented. Would they canonize a rap group "Kikes With Attitude"? Would the LGBTQ+ Alphabet Mafia canonize a rap group "Dykes With Attitude"? Does the Alphabet Mafia let anyone drop f****t in casual conversation?

Jewish people have self-respect. The LGBTQ crowd has more respect for itself than black people do for themselves.

We have allowed popular music to define black men as criminals and black women as hoes. Our men sell drugs and our women twerk to the sound of music the way dogs howl when they hear a siren.

Maybe that’s what black queer bravado is? Or maybe it’s not caring how you’re represented in popular culture. Maybe it’s not having a standard of conduct and behavior.

Beyoncé has black queer bravado. She instantly bowed to disability rights advocates while promoting degeneracy for black people.

She doesn’t really care about us.

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