Beyonce, “Run the World (Girls)”

by Chris Randle


Stephen, Michael, Jack, Gilles: Who cares? We’re done with parties now (though not partying). Oh, we still have elections, but they tend to be foregone affairs. Piping “Say My Name” into a darkened booth does wonders for voter turnout. And Beyonce’s is the only name on the ballot. B demands your X.

It happened a few years ago. Some people started calling the fateful morning B’Day, but that was swiftly proscribed for being unfunny. A bloodless coup – is “bloodless” the right word for Beyonce marching on the presidential compound in a black catsuit? It was nonviolent. Those images have entered official iconography, like the old press photos revamped as revolutionary posters, with her jaw set anew. Or the gold records blown up to Stalinist scale. Clocks don’t strike a bell anymore – they hit hi-hats.

There’s patronage, of course, but we had that before. Jay-Z, no longer too interested in rapping, got the finance ministry. Tina Knowles runs the state investment company. Diplo was made Minister of Snare Drums and Horse Noises. The House of Deréon spreads its royal jelly across the globe: Canada being one of the more reluctant colonies, with anti-pop partisans dug in deep, our current legate is Solange. It beats the Windsors.

The new regime isn’t always so benevolent in its dictation. Beyonce meets Angela Merkel and Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir for talks, receives ambassadors from Mu Mu Land and Rhythm Nation, negotiates with Gaga and Rihanna, but does she still care about women who don’t run the world? It’s like pledging allegiance to a hedge fund, opaque, mercantile and brilliant. For two minutes every day, we citizens are enjoined to post haterish comments on Kelly Rowland clips (it got easier after she began collaborating with David Guetta). But muchness and militarism look better on Beyonce than they do on the old boss. And nobody even dares to suggest defunding Planned Parenthood.

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