73 Responses

  1. Geoff Holsclaw (@geoffholsclaw)
    Geoff Holsclaw (@geoffholsclaw) February 4, 2013 at 5:15 PM |

    Great post. Wow.

    What would it look like on their own terms?

  2. Osheta Moore
    Osheta Moore February 4, 2013 at 5:23 PM |

    Oh my gosh! Fantastic post. I just shared it on Facebook. But I absolutely agree. Thanks for having the courage to say what so many of us, black women were thinking.

  3. mddanner
    mddanner February 4, 2013 at 5:26 PM |

    I’m with Geoff. Great post. Amazing how easy it is (for me) to participate without critical reflection.

  4. Dan English
    Dan English February 4, 2013 at 5:45 PM |

    Never thought about it this way before. Appreciate you sharing this.

    Like Geoff, what would it look like for black women to get to the Super Bowl stage on their own terms?


  5. Dennis
    Dennis February 4, 2013 at 5:46 PM |

    our light-skinned/dark-skinned issues have long been with us, and not always understood by the dominant culture. I appreciate you younger folks being able to keep the issue before us–especially in the Christian community. To relate such issues to power is keenly perceptive and I applaud you. Thank you.

  6. Angel
    Angel February 4, 2013 at 7:06 PM |

    Wonderful post. Thanks for putting in that perspective.

    Diana Ross made a fantastic Superbowl Half-time performance back in the 90s. She strikes me as more of a powerful Black woman (and a diva!) than a house n*****. She created an incredibly powerful image (with a dress and other theatrics) of a gold mountain while singing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. Nothing shabby about her!

    1. dee
      dee February 5, 2013 at 7:24 AM |

      right, but people don’t remember things like that.. just always looking for a conspiracy.

  7. Josie
    Josie February 4, 2013 at 7:14 PM |

    I was also bothered by the performance, and I appreciate your comments on the racial elements embedded. Meanwhile, I’m no prude, but I raised my eyebrows regarding how hyper-sexualized the performance was. Beyonce’s crew of 50 + equally scantily clad back-up dancers had a strong emphasis on, well, shaking it, and there wasn’t much ambiguity in what was getting shook, or how… I was not sure if I was watching a family event (???) or a cabaret.

  8. Amy in MN
    Amy in MN February 4, 2013 at 7:46 PM |

    What did you think of Jennifer Hudson’s and Alicia Keys’s performances prior to the start of the game?

  9. Dawn
    Dawn February 4, 2013 at 7:59 PM |

    I was not bothered by the performance at all. I do want to say I thought the article was very thought provoking and I agree with alot of what was said. But, I want to point out that Beyonce’s performances have always looked like what we all saw at the Super Bowl. That’s what she does. She’s very sexual and lets face it sex sells. Beyonce is no dummy she knows exactly what she’s doing and if not her who else would’ve been able to rock the Superdome the way she did…I can’t think of anyone black or white. Can you?.

    1. dee
      dee February 5, 2013 at 7:26 AM |

      thank you!!!! superbowl or not… that was a beyonce show!!!!! that’s how she does it.. it was her own terms

  10. adrisheldon
    adrisheldon February 4, 2013 at 8:04 PM |

    indeed a great and bold post. however, i think beyonce is not a victim of circumstances. she seemed to be extremely happy to pose and perform the way she did last night. she perform her act with gusto and power.
    unfortunately, a lot of women love the kind of attention certain behaviors draw. it is easy to blame it on sexism and racism, and in fact, those are very valid issues. however, if i am correct, madonna’s performance last year was also sexy and provocative. of course not as sexy or provocative as beyonce, because madonna is simply not as hot or pretty (for my taste, at least). regardless of skin color, i think women in general are pretty much willing to conform to the secular rules of engagement. discretion is no longer a valid asset. it is time for all of us, women of all skin colors and body types, to re-visit what kind of message and values we want to impart on others and on our children. God help us!

  11. jeffl7
    jeffl7 February 4, 2013 at 8:20 PM |

    I am with Angel. I thought Dianna Ross was great. And I think I remember others (Martha Reeves?). I really do believe Beyonce was chosen for her popularity. Whether her popularity is because of her attractiveness to white males, I’m not sure. I think the consistent selection process has more to do with record sales.

    The vast majority of half-time shows since Janet have been male artists and male groups (Rolling Stones, The Who, Prince), and I sure hope they’re not trying to appeal to my sexuality. However, there are lots of dancers pushing sexuality, and lots of commercials pushing sexuality. Probably the most common theme of the Super Bowl outside of the game. I think Dawn and adrisheldon have commented on this well.

    But to say that she was treated like she only had a value that would outlast an erection (and by your implication, a white man’s erection)…. Really? It is a great line! It made me laugh. But, it cheapens your insightful post.

    I love learning from you Christena. And I have a lot more to learn. But I also think you have to give us white males just a touch more credit. I know songs like “Halo”, or “Put a Ring On It” because their catchy…maybe even good, not because they are sung by a black woman with European features. But you might be right. Maybe Natalie Cole may have been even bigger if she fit this image.

    For now I am simply registering the fact that I watched the half-time show (something my parents would have been embarrassed by– probably would have turned off) and I didn’t think any of these thoughts. Yet you did. It stirred you deeply. And that means I am out of touch with how those around me feel.

    And for that, thank you!

    1. dee
      dee February 5, 2013 at 7:28 AM |

      love this, jeff

  12. adrisheldon
    adrisheldon February 4, 2013 at 8:55 PM |

    jeffl7 – what a great post! thank you!

  13. revmabrynauta04
    revmabrynauta04 February 4, 2013 at 9:26 PM |

    BOOM, Christina! You’ve given me much to think about, sister, and I thank you. I’ve been wrestling with my feelings about the half-time show all day. As I said on a friend’s FB post earlier, I’m conflicted. Loved the all female band and cast; loved the range of skin color; loved that Beyoncé had no bones about whether she could “play” on the same “stage” as the men that were vying for the trophy. The hypersexualization nauseated me, though. Admittedly, I’m a white feminist, and I bow to womanist theology here, but I do not bow out. Praying that God helps all women to define ourselves on our own terms, and that racism does not divide sisters from one another. Shalom to you!

  14. The Charismanglican
    The Charismanglican February 4, 2013 at 9:26 PM |

    Kudos. What a fantastic, measured response.

  15. Dan
    Dan February 4, 2013 at 10:27 PM |

    I respectfully disagree. The “house n” as you put it, had no choice but to preform. This young lady could have easily said no. I think that the comparison actually makes light of the true struggle these women went through in our history.

  16. Matt
    Matt February 4, 2013 at 10:43 PM |

    This was very thought provoking and informative. Thank you. My only contention is that it may focus on race as an identifiable feature that actually isn’t as controlling a factor as you may think. Was she given the stage because of her sex appeal? Yes. Does this discriminate against black female artists that are not as attractive to the populace? Not really. It actually discriminates ALL female artists, black or white, that are not considered to be sexy enough to perform before the populace. For example, I could not think of any white, female artist who has ever been given the superbowl stage whose features didn’t conform to a pre-set standard on body size and sex appeal. It is indeed a rare thing today to see any woman, irregardless of her race and skin color, be granted the stage of entertainment who isn’t found within the very narrow range of what society deems as sexy. Sadly there are lots of white “Lauryn Hills” who will also be passed by because of their nonconformity to “sexyness.” I just don’t think the issue is as racial as it is reality. If you asked a stadium full of black men if they would rather have Lauryn Hill and Gladys Knight or Beyonce and Alecia Keys entertain them musically I have little doubt Beyonce and Keys would be “handed the mic” over Hill and Knight in that context too. Is it discrimination? Yes. Is it racially oppressive? Hard to see how…

  17. Alex K.
    Alex K. February 4, 2013 at 11:00 PM |

    She isn’t the only woman to get undressed for a halftime performance. Madonna last year wasn’t much different in clothing ect. Beyonce is a much better sing then her. Anyway, my point being, it just isn’t Black women having to expose themselves to garner attention. And yes please give some of us white guys some credit not being total horn dogs.

  18. Christy
    Christy February 4, 2013 at 11:26 PM |

    Interesting and thought provoking message. Having a husband in the TV world I have a different perspective. Beyonce agreed to what they were going to pay her. She chose her risque outfit, not the higher-ups. No one asked her to dance that way. I agree that her appearance is more European but once again she chose to change her hair color. Her appearance doesn’t change when she is off stage except maybe the outfit. No one held a gun to her head for her to accept this position. On a side note, Ms. Hill is a natural beauty and it’s just too bad some feel they need to over-impress others so they can get more attention. Beyonce made the choice and it’s up to her to clean up her act.

    1. lisarae784
      lisarae784 February 5, 2013 at 12:40 PM |

      No one holds a gun to the heads of teenage girls and forces them to believe that their primary value is in their sex appeal. Cultural values are the gun and each woman’s desire to feel valuable is the trigger in my view. And, yes, Beyonce was invited to perform bc of popularity which is measured in sales which reflects consumer value. I can definitely appreciate the race theme in this post and the unique challenges black women face with regard to value in a white male dominated society. Really interesting and important point. But, for me, the overall sexualization of our culture – and the effect on our young women – is the even bigger story here. Women of every color are being told on a daily basis that their value lies materially in their beauty and specifically sex appeal. Which is why it made me sad to see such a lovely and talented woman lying scantily clad on her back to the roaring applause of the world…

  19. Ryon
    Ryon February 4, 2013 at 11:54 PM |

    Can you define “our own terms” and juxtapose that definition to the terms white performers in the Superbowl operate under?

    I agree, B’s not Lauryn Hill. B has more fame and control over her career (now) than Lauryn had at her peak (remember Lauryn backed away from fame because she had/s no control over her music). But there are similarities. Like B, Lauryn’s been accused of lightening her skin to appeal to a broader audience. And like B, Lauryn’s been accused of over-sexing her image.

    I agree with Shayne Lee… scholars and aspiring artists want to look up to a superstar, B is much more of an appropriate role model that Lauryn (who continues to walk a sketchy path).

  20. Emma Dree
    Emma Dree February 5, 2013 at 12:32 AM |

    Beyonce is no stranger to SuperBowl performances. She sang the National Anthem for the 2004 Super Bowl in a white suit consisting of a long white skirt and long sleeves, very modest. What were the “white men” thinking then? Did the “powerful white men” make her dress so matronly then? She is very successful and has earned it all and makes her own terms in the process – OFTEN; as evident by her exit of Clint Eastwood’s hollywood flick A Star Is Born after Eastwood dissed President Obama. She said, “no thank you” and walked away. If her performance was a bow down to the “white man”, I fail to see HOW. Beyonce has always dressed hyper-provocative before the Superbowl and I am sure will continue to do so after. The half-time performance looks like a page from ANY of her concerts.

    The other African American women who were “permitted access” negate some of your points:

    Jennifer Hudson performed. She happens to have a skin tone very close if not the same as Lauryn Hill’s. Dressed modestly, thick lips and wide hips, in a long white skirt and a black turtle neck. Her very aura screams Afrocentric and modesty. She led a group of “European looking” children out and sang her heart out, not for Black or for White but from humanity. I am still stretching my imagination to see how this had anything to do with “house nigga” or the “white man’s erection”. (scratches head)

    Then there is Alicia Keys in a long flowing red gown singing the National Anthem. She wore her hair naturally black and SHORT. So, who let her on the field without the long flowing blonde fake hair the “white man” is demanding?

    I am no fan of blonde weave, provocative clothing, heavy makeup and the lot. Three very different black women performers in one Superbowl? I was proud. If you are ambivalent now, please share what the Superbowl entertainment should have looked like?

    Signed, a short afro wearing, little makeup having sistah of dark complexion.

    1. Precious
      Precious February 6, 2013 at 5:51 AM |

      FTR Jennifer Hudson is no where near Lauryn Hills complexion, she has lost a considerable amount of weight (for whatever get personal reasons May be), and is no where near the definition of “afrocentic”. Are her and Alicia black, yes. Was I super proud to see 3 women of color perform, yes. Did I think to myself “when will dark brown skin, thick bones, and unstraightened hair get put under bright lights?” When will a crowd cheer for her? As with everything the answer is baby steps. Our progress has always been years behind but the Superbowl performances IS progress.

  21. William Loewen
    William Loewen February 5, 2013 at 1:27 AM |

    I’m not trying to justify the performance or diminish your well-constructed argument, but is there some connection with their show and the return of the “baby dolls” to Mardi Gras? It certainly isn’t the kind of empowerment that I will use for my daughter, but it is at least a legacy of celebrating black female sexuality in contrast to white options.

  22. Kate
    Kate February 5, 2013 at 5:03 AM |

    Ambivalent? No. You’re not. Don’t apologize for your powerful declaration, sister. That’s how they steal our voice too. Great article.

  23. James Cooksey
    James Cooksey February 5, 2013 at 7:15 AM |

    Your article assumes that all white men think alike in their views of black women and black women singers. This is a vague generalization and hardly the truth. What do all black men think about white women and white women singers ? Like Kanje West towards Taylor Swift, or in a wide variety of ways ? Who are your favorite white singers and what white men do you find sexy ? Is this how all black women think ? Racism and sexism, like tastes, take all shapes and forms. By the way, I thought Beyonce’s halftime show was great.

  24. dee
    dee February 5, 2013 at 7:22 AM |

    of course the producers would pick someone that would benefit them… it’s called RATINGS. funny you’re not mentioning jhud was there as well. ALL the entertainment was black women of different shades… but that’s not enough smh. lastly Lmao that u used lauryn hill as an example as she went crazy, WONT sing, and had like 6 kids out of wedlock. what is this really about? please have a seat and stop being just another crab in the barrel.

  25. Ed
    Ed February 5, 2013 at 8:23 AM |

    Christina, this is def an emotionally charged topic that you dove right into. I’m not sure you see this with objective lenses, nor do I. THE bottom line of the NFL exec’s is money. I can’t judge their character since I don’t know them. But what they are selling is whatever works to bring in revenue. What was given in that show was exactly what and who Beyonce is. And to be honest, it was on one hand a great show, and on the other despicable. If I had daughters I would not want them to model those women. They are using the power of sex for their own profit too. Am I wrong?

    I’m really glad you brought up the topic because as another commenter wrote, it helps me understand how some women/people feel. However, you’re making some HUGE assumptions with no proof. Do you know who made the decisions and why? Are you sourcing anything that’s credible? Quoting anyone? Therefore I feel like your very cutting words may do more harm than take the conversation forward.

    At the end of the day I want to be a solution oriented person. And I assume that you do too. So what do you propose will help the problem you’re addressing move forward? I look forward to further dialog with you and thank you for speaking up and out.

  26. tanden brekke
    tanden brekke February 5, 2013 at 8:58 AM |


    Thanks for your powerful and direct words. This post once again made me seriously reflection on my white/ male supremacy. We as white males have significant work to do to address all the many ways that we have internalized the many messages that tell us that we are superior over all others. I pray that I will have the strength to do my own work to address this superiority and call my white brothers to also do this work.

  27. Natasha Sistrunk Robinson
    Natasha Sistrunk Robinson February 5, 2013 at 9:21 AM |

    Powerful! Read it and shared through social media! Keep writing and raising your voice Christena!

  28. PS anafterthought
    PS anafterthought February 5, 2013 at 9:23 AM |

    Since Beyonce is such a talented singer, why did she have to show off so much of her skin? And wiggle her body in that way? Apparently this was her choice, as I heard an interview with the clothing designer. It was on expensive outfit, 250 hours to make. I just think it is time for women, and men, for that matter, to put their talents way way ahead of their sex appeal.

  29. Lori
    Lori February 5, 2013 at 10:01 AM |

    I agree with your frustration with oppression and sexism. I acknowledge the slavery value of a black women was based on everything you addressed. But I also have to include in this response the fact that all women are faced with the issues you brought forth. Any women who has any ability to be in the media or place of power must pass standards of beauty and worth attributed by those in power. This is not just a racial issue, it is a women’s issue.

  30. JMJ
    JMJ February 5, 2013 at 10:28 AM |

    Just wondering, how do you define “on our own terms”?

    The reason I’m asking is, shouldn’t african american culture take some of the blame as to what’s expected from african american women?

    Why is the blame for Beyonce’s performance saddled directly onto the white corporate executives of the NFL?

    Halftime at Superbowl is a spectacle. “Boring” artists with great music like, say, Tracy Chapman, will not do well on that stage. Beyonce was chosen exactly for her stage show, which is not so much unlike what she did at the Superbowl.

    I personally think you are reading racism & sexism into a situation where there is none. But that’s just me.

  31. Shannon
    Shannon February 5, 2013 at 10:54 AM |

    As a white woman (so white in fact my husband teases me about being see through), I admittedly have a very limited grasp about what it’s like to be a black woman. I do know what it’s like to be a woman though. I can’t think of a single female performance at the Super Bowl which was wholesome. ALL women, not just black women are subjected to the treatment you’re discussing. When U2 and Pete Townsend were on the stage it was all about the music. Whenever it’s been a woman it’s been all about sex. I don’t view it as a black/white issue, I view it as a sexuality issue alone. Black men have been known to objectify women of all colors just as much as white men.

  32. Addendum to “Hello Sexism, Meet Racism”

    […] of the feedback I’ve received on my post about the Super Bowl half-time show suggests that I have unfairly lumped all white men together and accused them all of being […]

  33. Rebecca Erwin (@frognparis)
    Rebecca Erwin (@frognparis) February 5, 2013 at 1:22 PM |

    Well said. In watching it again with my 12 y/o daughter, we talked about her communicating power without loosing femininity, but not going far enough: black leather, not full her full dance talent but pelvic thrusts and hair tossing.

    I am sorry to say I wish our president was voted in on merit. It is then that I will agree that full equality has been reached..

  34. Pharaohs in America: On Beyoncé and blindspots

    […] it and facebooking it in my direction in the afternoon. Social psychologist and author Dr. Christena Cleveland wrote, not necessarily in direct response to my […]

  35. Kcrensha
    Kcrensha February 5, 2013 at 5:07 PM |

    Wow very critical article and I can’t say that I’m in agreement. It’s almost hurtful and possibly demeaning/possibly borderline counter-rascist to women who identify as African American that are not dark skinor those with dark skin and a thin hair type. In this day where is Beyonce’s agency?Why in this article does it seem that the power she has as an artist be taken from her when she made the decision to perform? This does not seem like a situation of the oppressor and the oppressed. I wonder if the writer would share the same perspective if Beyonce chose to perform in the same manner at something similar to a fundraising event for a critical world issue.

  36. morgan
    morgan February 5, 2013 at 6:10 PM |

    i read the addendum. still offended… as a woman of color and as one half of an inter-racial couple. why do people dig up these “underlying” racial currents? is there any tangible evidence that Beyonce was handed the mic essentially because “she can entertain white men”?! coooome on. articles like these only perpetuate racial tension and broaden gaps. not to mention the limits you’ve put on black women, as if there’s only one way to be black?? My hair is long, and I know black women with blond hair. Why not just leave it at Beyonce killed it!?

  37. Adam Fleming
    Adam Fleming February 5, 2013 at 9:21 PM |

    I’m a white male disciple of Jesus who grew up part of the time in Africa as a missionary kid, and I’m also intrigued by things like Taoism and I am serious about Art. I recognized immediately that the show was pretty much just a big exercise in seduction, and I was disappointed in Beyonce. Well, I don’t know what you think white men think is sexy, but at least for me, that’s not it. In fact this Lauryn Hill is gorgeous, I’ve never seen her before, but I have to say this: Confidence, modesty, quality, and being who you are. Those are characteristics that are truly beautiful. I’m a little concerned about the discussion of hue — “she is trying to look white” — because after you’ve been to Africa you realize that most North American black women could be accused of that. I mean the blonde hair is an obvious giveaway. I’m not saying you’re reading too much into her cosmetic choices, because you probably aren’t. I just think it’s dangerous to put people in this middle space between black and white and strand them there like the Coloreds were during South African Apartheid. Don’t forget that white women like to tan. This whole cultural gun to your head about sex appeal means that ALL women can end up not liking something about their appearance and trying to alter it one way or another. So if Lauryn Hill is being who she is, I can certainly tell you that Beyonce is NOT, I can see through her mask so easily. Did she not start out to be a singer? Then why, oh WHY is she not spending much effort singing? Beyonce showed zero artistic authenticity. Sorry, that’s just me the art critic. It’s all superficial, which is, as I understand, the only way any stripper can ever perform at all.

    Anyway. A lot of comments are dead on here in your posts about sexism, racism, cultural values. Unfortunately the show should be about putting on a great show, so I feel like that’s what the discussion ought to be about… So I was really disappointed because I feel Beyonce has an incredible voice and ability to sing amazing melody, and I rarely if ever listen to pop music– her music is not in my collection, let’s just put it that way– but I like to hear a fantastic singer whenever an occasion like this comes up. Seriously, there was an opportunity to sell me an album which was totally lost here. The performance was 90% ‘dancing’ and 10% singing. And that’s too bad, not only because of all these cultural, sexual, racial reasons, but because I like to hear singers actually sing, and that wasn’t the focus. Clearly I was uneducated about what a Beyonce show is all about, as some others who’ve posted above pointed out. They say this is what she does. Routinely. No wonder I’m not a fan!

    My opinion is that the NFL should take some tips from the Olympic ceremonies in London. That was a fantastic show. Or they could just drop the halftime show entirely because I usually end up thinking it sucks. (For the record I wasn’t too impressed with Tom Petty, couldn’t stand the Rolling Stones during SB shows). They could keep the focus on football, show great plays from the season– from teams who didn’t make it to the ‘big game’, a short blooper reel, do something humanitarian instead of consumerist, or have a (clean) comedian on stage (I suggested Mr. Bean imitating an entire football game by himself– maybe he could even do a mockery of a Beyonce show in the middle of it all), or the NFL could just turn the lights out for a few minutes and save a little electricity… then if the fans want to go to a strip club afterward I guess that is their choice, but the viewing audience — those of us who don’t want to turn the tube off because we also want to see every commercial and certainly don’t want to miss the second half kickoff which could be returned for a touchdown — we wouldn’t have to be subjected to this kind of thing. And in conclusion, because she failed to spend her energy singing, my final snarky comment in an earlier facebook post about the half time show was this: When your show is less interesting than a power outage, your career is in trouble.

  38. Roe Dodgen
    Roe Dodgen February 5, 2013 at 9:56 PM |

    Thank you !! This needed to be said !

  39. wess daniels
    wess daniels February 5, 2013 at 9:59 PM |

    Well put. I was happy to see Beyonce do her thing and was glad my daughters could watch too, but I totally hear your concerns as well. Do you plan to do a post or two on the commercials that ran during the super bowl? There would be much fodder for reflecting on intersectionality there as well.

  40. Brett
    Brett February 5, 2013 at 10:49 PM |

    Sounds like more negativity and bitterness than one person should be capable of holding. With that worldview, you could argue any accomplishment an African American has is racist if white people were involved. There are black men in the NFL, last I checked.
    What happened to being colorblind? Who cares what color or shade of color the entertainers were? Always pointing out race is racism, especially when the person has to be a specific color for you to appreciate whatever they’re doing. How about that worldview that doesn’t perpetuate racism by pointing out color? That sounds like a better world to me.

  41. John Silvestri
    John Silvestri February 6, 2013 at 10:08 AM |

    I don’t believe this is being discussed in anything like the context of what has come before.

    Super Bowl Half time used to be about Marching Bands, and the first performer to join them was a woman, Carol Channing, no sex goddess here. By Super bowl VI the first powerful black woman was already on the Super Bowl stage, the First Lady of Song, Ella Fitzgerald.
    Halftime shows began a long run alternating between big marching bands, Up With People or Disney. Gloria Estefan is notable performer tagged in a few times.

    Michael Jackson forever changes the Halftime show creating a massive spectacle of a show in 1993.

    Patti Labelle, a strong black non-sexualised woman is amongst performers in 1995 and 1996 is all about Ms. Diana Ross. You don’t get classier or stronger than that.

    In the years since Diana Ross dominates the halftime show until Beyonce does we have seen Martha Reeves, Queen Latifah, Chaka Khan, Mary J. Blige, Janet Jackson, Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.

    You simply can’t indict entire structures and systems over Beyonce’s CHOICE to shake it for the crowd.

    IV 1970 Performer: Carol Channing,
    VI 1972 Performers include: Ella Fitzgerald & Carol Channing
    XXVII 1993 Performer: Michael Jackson
    XXIX 1995 Performers include: Patti Labelle
    XXX 1996 Performer: Diana Ross
    XXXII 1998 Performers include: Martha Reeves & Queen Latifah
    XXXIII 1999 Performers include: Chaka Khan
    XXXV 2001 Performers include: Mary J. Blige
    XXXVIII 2004 Performers include: Janet Jackson
    XLVI 2012 Performers include: Nicki Minaj, M.I.A.

  42. Lissa
    Lissa February 6, 2013 at 10:36 AM |

    I’ve been saying: why can’t we have Lauryn Hill or India Arie perform the halftime show? I’d love to see that show; I really enjoy their music. Why haven’t they, as extremely talented musicians, enjoyed the kind of success that Beyonce has? I feel cynical, but my conclusion is, Beyonce is willing to sell out in some ways that others aren’t. She looks more European to start with, as you point out, and she’s up there doing highly sexualized gestures and moves that are sure to please. Thank you for calling attention to this and making this point! We don’t recognize racism when it stares us in the face.

    1. Ryon
      Ryon February 6, 2013 at 11:39 AM |

      Have you viewed any of lauryn hill’s recent performances?

  43. Cote
    Cote February 6, 2013 at 10:45 AM |

    Christena, thank you for your post; it rings true and powerful. I was also ambivalent about her performance. Now, just to make matters more complex, what do you do with the fact that she sang the national anthem at the Presidential Inauguration just a couple of weeks ago? Just curious.

  44. Pastor Timothy
    Pastor Timothy February 6, 2013 at 11:31 AM |

    As a Christian man, I didn’t watch the half-time show. I guess kudos to Beyonce for parlaying her body into something men want, but alas, that is not biblical beauty and what godly women should aspire to. I have friends, who are musicians as well, who were shocked at the nature of the show. They posted such a great response that I posted on my blog. The long and short of it is that we are living in a time akin to Sodom & Gomorrah. Christians need to quit watching such shows.

    But I know I am definitely in the minority and many will disagree for many reasons, mostly because of what you pointed out concerning erections.

    Good post, and blessings.

    1. Ryon
      Ryon February 6, 2013 at 5:15 PM |

      So, you’re saying our Christ doesnt want you to watch Beyonce parlaying her body into something men want, but Christ is okay with fighting and damaging other men for a ball?

  45. Frederick Day
    Frederick Day February 6, 2013 at 2:27 PM |

    I def understand the point of the article and can relate being a light skinned black male with more European features. But i don’t think the Superbowl was the best context for it or Beyonce. As said in previous post Beyonce did nothing more then what you would come to expect from her as a performer. As an artist that is and always has been how she has chosen to express herself, no matter what the demographic or her audience. Her being chosen had to do with her overall appeal nationally. Her music appeals to a broad market and crosses every color barrier. As a business which the superbowl itself is, it has to pick an artist that will gain the most viewers and boost ratings for the game. With the way Americas demographics are changing, to pick someone who only appeals to white men would not gain the high ratings the network expects. To say she she only made it because of her looks and her outfit is a blow to her artistry and very disrespectful. Plus lets not forget Jennifer Hudson (who has strong black features) also performed. I do Agree with the idea that based on features it is easier for some black Americans to get ahead. But this prob wasn’t the best example.

  46. Sarah Baartman For President: Beyonce, #FLOTUS, & Western Beauty Standards |

    […] Child’s) performance A Prophetic Dance Of Power? Or was the concert a mere repeating of when sexism and racism meet at the intersection of U.S. history. Regardless, this seems like an awkward conversation for the Other […]

  47. Kay
    Kay February 7, 2013 at 1:56 PM |

    Um, since when is long hair atypical for black women? I have hair that flows down my back and I’m as black as can be! My family and friends (all black women) have long gorgeous hair as well. And if you look at pictures of Beyonce as a child, you wil find that her hair is naturally long as well. I wish people would quit lumping us all in a box. Many black women do not grow their hair long because they use all sorts of chemicals and wear hair weaves that are damaging and inhibit the ability to retain the length. Go to Ethiopia and you will see a slew of black women with long hair!

    Sorry for the rant….a white person today just asked me why I seem to be only black woman with long hair. They posed this question after they were “shocked” to find out that my hair was not fake. I’m just highly annoyed…..great article otherwise.

  48. Carol Howard Fights
    Carol Howard Fights February 8, 2013 at 7:26 AM |

    Good grief. Have you even watched the Super Bowl before? Madonna acted just as sexual as Beyonce. Don’t you think Beyonce had some say so? She ALWAY performs and dresses like that! Give her a little more credit than to do something become a “white male” told her to do it that way because he’s not making her perform afterall. Please don’t turn this into a racist issue, that’s why we have so many issues today!! This article in and of itself is racist.

  49. Carol Howard Fights
    Carol Howard Fights February 8, 2013 at 8:15 AM |

    I want to clarify one thing from my last post. Unfortunately I don’t agree with Beyonce’s performance. She is way to pretty and talented to resort to using her sexuality but sadly so many stars think they have to do that (think Mylie Cyrus who wanted to break out of the Hannah Montana role) no matter what race they are. It saddens me to see any woman degrade their bodies this way all for the fame. God has given women great beauty and to be suggestive with it is against what God intended.

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