With her performance last night at the Super Bowl Halftime show (or was it a Beyoncé concert sandwiched between two halves of a football game?), it is officially impossible to ignore Beyoncé. Bey's divisive and complicated personality spills out of her in forms both vulnerable and swaggy, and her Super Bowl performance displayed that star power to the highest degree. Like the similarly one-named Aretha before her, Beyoncé can SING, but Beyoncé’s public persona incorporates larger elements of pop culture, politics, feminism and aesthetics into her art in a way that radiates iconicity.
I mean Marilyn Monroe, she's quite nice But why all the pretty icons always all white?
Bey’s appearance at the two most important, male-centric events that will occur this year is a key factor in her role as an icon. Ushering in the leader of the free world and singing at the largest grossing sports event in the country in the span of two weeks are the kind of performances that separate the divas from the hustlers. Most of the coverage surrounding the drama over her lip-syncing of the National Anthem pales in comparison to the race dynamics that the emotionally-charged event held for Queen Bey. Beyoncé, quite obviously, is black. She grew up in Texas, which, you might not have realized because it's so big and weird in its own special Alamo-and-cowboy-hat way, is still very, very much the south. As in “Slavery.” As in “Racism.” As in, there were a lot of obstacles built into the infrastructure of where Beyoncé grew up that stood in the way of her becoming the ginormous, universally-beloved pop star that she is today. Emotionally overwhelmed by the re-election of her friend—and oh yeah ONLY BLACK PRESIDENT IN AMERICA EVER—Bey opted to instead mimic her own voice with the uncanny perfection of an android than risk ruining a moment she had no control over. In essence, B created an iconic moment by sacrificing her own image—and weathered the resulting media slander storm with irrefutable class.
I talk like this ‘cause I can back it up, I got a big ego
The level of hubris it takes to create a larger than life pop star persona is potentially bigger than that weird trash island out in the ocean that magically disappeared after the government found out civilians could use the Internet. Bey showed up at the Super Bowl with the flair of a superhero straight out of a diamond-shaped Illuminati Bat Cave, assuring those in the stands sipping haterade that she was indeed singing live by running through the mind-boggling key change trills of “Love on Top.” At first she was wearing some spy-like black pleather over-skirt, but when it came time to really break it down for “Crazy In Love” she just stripped it off like a windbreaker to reveal a sexy, lacy skirt that is quite possibly the most beautiful thing on Earth. Sorry if you don’t care about clothes, you will start to once you see this skirt.
Aside from dancing alongside approximately one million digital doppelgangers, Bey also delivered on the promise of reuniting Destiny’s Child, even generously offering Kelly and Michelle verses on “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It).” Who said she isn’t a good friend? But, seeing Beyoncé perform right next to her former girl group members is very similar to listening to André 3000 drop a verse next to pretty much any rapper on any track—it serves as a reminder that extraordinary talent is real and sometimes it graces us mere mortals in something that is very close to human form. As Beyoncé finished out her set with heart-eyes-emoji track “Halo” though, a real glance at her spirit is allowed—she kneels onstage, singing into the crowd with the same kind of glee she probably uses to coo Blue Ivy to sleep. Bey represents the great binaries of our time—Ego vs. Halo, Sex Symbol vs. Wife, Superstar vs. Gospel/Soul Singer. Beyoncé is an icon who represents the growth of our country, the progress in our world, and the beauty within ourselves. All hail Queen Bey—she runs this mother.