In the extended version of her full Elle magazine feature, the mother of one discusses incorporating the word “feminism” into her live shows, how her mother uplifts her on the regular and replies critics of her “Formation” video.
Here are the quotables from Queen Bey below.
About embracing feminism
“I put the definition of feminist in my song [***Flawless] and on my tour, not for propaganda or to proclaim to the world that I’m a feminist, but to give clarity to the true meaning. I’m not really sure people know or understand what a feminist is, but it’s very simple. It’s someone who believes in equal rights for men and women. I don’t understand the negative connotation of the word or why it should exclude the opposite sex. If you’re a man who believes your daughter should have the same opportunities and rights as your son, then you’re a feminist. We need men and women to understand the double standards that still exist in this world and we need to have a real conversation so we can begin to make changes. Ask anyone, man or woman, ‘Do you want your daughter to have 75 cents when she deserves $1?’ What do you think the answer should be? When we talk about equal rights, there are issues that face women disproportionately. That’s why I wanted to work with [the philanthropic organisations] Chime for Change and Global Citizen. They understand how issues related to education, health, and sanitation around the world affect a woman’s entire existence and that of her children. They’re putting programmes in place to help those young girls who literally face death because they want to learn, and to prevent women from dying during childbirth because there’s no access to health care. Working to make those inequalities go away is being a feminist, but more importantly, it makes me a humanist. I don’t like or embrace any label. I don’t want calling myself a feminist to make it feel like that’s my one priority over racism or sexism or anything else. I’m just exhausted by labels and tired of being boxed in. If you believe in equal rights, the same way society allows a man to express his darkness, to express his pain, to express his sexuality, to express his opinion – I feel that women have the same rights.”
On the lessons she leared from her parents:
“So many… the gift of being generous and taking care of others. It has never left me. I’ve also learned that your time is the most valuable asset you own and you have to use it wisely. My parents taught me how to work hard and smart. Both were entrepreneurs; I watched them struggle working 18-hour days. They taught me that nothing worth having comes easily. My father stressed discipline and was tough with me. He pushed me to be a leader and an independent thinker. My mother loved me unconditionally, so I felt safe enough to dream. I learned the importance of honoring my word and commitments from her. One of the best things about my mother is her ability to sense when I’m going through a tough time. She texts me the most powerful prayers and they always come right when I need them. I’m tapped into her emotional wifi.”
Speaking about finding her power during her Destiny’s Child days:
“I’d say I discovered my power after the first Destiny’s Child album [Destiny’s Child released in 1998]. The label didn’t believe we were pop stars. They underestimated us, and because of that they allowed us to write our own songs and write our own video treatments. It ended up being the best thing because that’s when I became an artist and took control. It wasn’t a conscious thing. It was because we had a vision for ourselves and nobody really cared to ask us what our vision was. So we created it on our own and once it was successful, I realized that we had the power to create whatever vision we wanted for ourselves. We didn’t have to go through other writers or have the label create our launch plans – we had the power to create those things ourselves.”
On the “Formation” video criticism:
“I mean, I’m an artist and I think the most powerful art is usually misunderstood. But anyone who perceives my message as anti-police is completely mistaken. I have so much admiration and respect for officers and the families of officers who sacrifice themselves to keep us safe. But let’s be clear: I am against police brutality and injustice. Those are two separate things. If celebrating my roots and culture during Black History Month made anyone uncomfortable, those feelings were there long before a video and long before me. I’m proud of what we created and I’m proud to be a part of a conversation that is pushing things forward in a positive way.”