What Beyoncé Taught Me

My parents, like most, often speak of the great and talented musicians they listened too growing up. They had legends like The Beatles, Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, and several other musical talents that helped shaped popular culture, society, and many other aspects of their youth. Their stories helped me understand how powerful music and the people who make it really are. Like them, I know that when I'm older I'll be telling my own children about the music that I grew up with and I'll have a lot of names to speak of. However, one in particular, I feel really did assist me in becoming the woman I am today. That musician is Beyoncé.

Independent Woman
When Destiny's Child's music hit radio stations in 1998, seven year old Sarah was joyfully listening to it in the back of her mother's mini van. It's amazing that I've continued listening to Beyoncé's work to this day, over a decade later. So you can say, I grew up listening to her and in many ways I can say that she not only provided me with entertainment, but also taught me a few lessons in how to be a strong and independent woman. In 2000, Destiny's Child released the hit single Independent Woman. Although not rated as highly as some of the group's other hits, I think that this was one of their most powerful songs and ostensibly an incredibly positive message to females everywhere. That message being: "Depend on no one else to give you what you want." In our society so many girls are constantly told to date or marry someone rich and successful in order to live well. Meanwhile the ladies of Destiny's Child state "Try to control me boy and you get dismissed. I pay for my own fun and I pay my own bills. Always 50/50 in relationships." You don't need to be dependent on a man for the things you want. This is 2013, you have the power to get them on your own.

Bootylicious is Beautiful.
One thing that makes Beyoncé more admirable than her pop diva and movie star cohorts is that she promotes a healthy body image and always has. It's because of her that I handle weight gain so casually. Jeans too tight? That's fine, my body is just too bootylicious for them to handle right now. She further promoted this ideal assisting Michelle Obama in her "Let's Move" campaign in 2011, an initiative to help lessen obesity in American children. She sings Move your Body and obviously, what Queen B says always goes- so get to it and move it.

You're Irreplaceable.
The boys you date may not be, but you definitely are. If there's any message that's encrypted within the majority of Beyoncé songs it is this. You are special. In the song, Survivorshe sings "I'm a survivor. I'm not going to give up. I'm not going to stop, I'm going to work harder." In that song, Destiny's Child is expressing the sentiment that no matter who is trying to hurt you, don't let them stop you from doing you. In Upgrade U she sings to her husband, mega rap superstar, Jay-Z "Don't doubt yourself. Trust me, you need me. This ain't a shoulder with a chip or an ego, but what you think they all mad at me fo'?" By singing these lyrics she's saying that whoever is dating her is lucky to have her. She's an asset, she is needed. Granted that is true for whoever dates Beyoncé, but us normal folk should go into a relationship thinking that too. And finally I ask "who run the world? Girls." With this song and others, Beyoncé has shown great attempts to empower women throughout her entire career. So next time you feel like you're not being treated as an equal to a male colleague, keep this song in mind.

Collaborate with the Competition.
You know what they say: If you can't beat 'em, join them. This tactic that Beyoncé has frequently used through out the duration of her career has not only produced interesting music, but also has kept Beyoncé consistently relevant. What ever female pop singer was blowing up the music charts at the time, you can be sure that Beyoncé was ready to collaborate. When Shakira was bringing latino pop back into the mainstream, Beyoncé was dancing seductively by her side in Beautiful Liar. When Lady Gaga was stealing the Pop music crown, Beyoncé was ready to costar in a ridiculous music video for Telephone. She has always managed to keep herself relevant and this is something to take note of. If you can work with the competition, there's  no competing. 
Handle Controversy with Class.
It's like any time Beyoncé is a part of any sort of major news story- whether it be her pregnancy or her lip syncing at the Presidential Inauguration, she is able to handle it in the classiest of ways. I don't even know how she does it. It's incredible. That time she adorably rubbed her tummy after her VMA performance I know that I wasn't the only one watching from my living room, smiling and feeling warm inside. Recently, when she made headlines for lip-syncing at the Presidential Inauguration she handled it by singing the National Anthem at the following NFL Press Conference. We all knew she could sing, but that was just like a "Yeah, so what's the problem again?" approach to it. Amazing.

You can put anything you set your mind too.
To be honest- Beyoncé sounded totally cray in her recent interview with GQ. However, behind the method to her obsessive narcissism and quest for perfection is a message we can all learn from. Queen B worked hard for that crown. She has worked for it for decades and sacrificed things like getting shit faced at frat parties and sleeping until 2pm on weekends. She continues to practice, try harder, create, and she has never given up. Like her, you should also never give up. Always pursue your passions and work hard to achieve them. You never know- you could just very well be the next Beyoncé.

Photos via: Vogue, The Gentlewoman

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