Beyonce Gets Award for Outstanding Journalism, No Kidding

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by Dr. Boyce Watkins, BlackLikeMoi.com

It appears that fame can achieve almost anything.  This fact is proven clearly by the decision of the New York Association of Black Journalists to give a writing award to Beyonce Knowles on May 15 of this year.  Bey is being rewarded for her article “Eat, Play, Love,” which appeared in Essence in 2010.

In the article, Beyonce describes the “tiny moments,” traveling with her husband Jay-Z, and going undercover as a Harajuku girl in Tokyo.

“She’s a real writer. We had to edit her, but everyone gets edited except Toni Morrison,” Essence entertainment director Cori Murray told The New York Daily News.

Not to presume that Beyonce would be incapable of writing, she seems very bright. But I have to admit that I’m curious about a few things:

1) Did this busy super-diva, who travels the world on tour, actually write the article herself?   In case we’ve forgotten, many people in Beyonce’s position don’t write their own stuff.  Also, the open letter that Beyonce wrote to First Lady Michelle Obama might lead some of the grammatically-inclined black journalists to wonder if the same person indeed wrote both pieces.

2) Is Beyonce really more qualified for this award than every other real journalist who works in the media capital of the world?  New York has quite a few black journalists.  Not all of them can sing as well as Beyonce, but they are pretty good at what they do.

3) Does Beyonce have a body of work which signals that she should be favorably compared with people who do this kind of work 40 hours a week, year round?  But then again, maybe she’s just got it like that…..the same way Blue Ivy Carter got a shoe deal before she was three weeks old.   I’ll never have a shoe deal, so I’m seriously hating right about now.

Honestly, I’ll admit that I am a bit skeptical of Beyonce Knowles’ legendary journalistic prowess.  Perhaps this is a case where an organization has taken its favorite celeb and turned them into something that they are not, like the pastor who falls in love with the porn star and tries to sit her at the front of the church.  Beyonce is an amazing singer, a wonderful dancer and a modestly marginal actress.  She is not a journalist, and it’s an insult to every real black journalist in America that an organization’s leadership went as far as to give Beyonce an award for being the best at a profession that is not even her own.

I wrote a poem in the 11th grade, so perhaps the Grammys will award me with song of the year.  I also think that we should go ahead and give that Best Actor Award to Mike Tyson for his hilarious appearance in “The Hangover.”  Finally, we should probably grant the Nobel Peace Prize to Rodney King for his heroic and visionary speech entitled, “Can’t we all just (sniff) get along?”

When Beyonce becomes a real journalist, then I will become a bootylicious diva with a tight dress, high heels and 30 inch weave.   Sorry for that stomach-churning imagery, but that’s nothing compared to the stomach churning that was induced in hard-working journalists who found out that their skills have been so blatantly disrespected.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and author of the forthcoming book, “The RAPP Sheet: Rising Above Psychological Poison.” To have Dr. Boyce commenttary delivered to your email, please click here.


24 Comment

  1. She is a high school drop out and she doesn’t have a G.E.D.

  2. I read the article and had many questions…like how did she go undercover as a Harajuku girl. (I bet she got this idea from Gwen Stefani’s 2004 album) Yes, she has looks but she is also African American and can not pass for Japanese. This is a young lady who never attended high school..how did she win ???? If they was going to choose a non professional writer..why not give an upcoming journalist student or a student with an essay that touches others.
    What has this world come to where everyone jumps to these recording artists and forget about the real people who struggling in their profession only to be let down by foolery!!!

  3. She just purchased the cover of a magazine to be named the most beautiful, now she is buying a journalism award?????
    I think if I had that kind of money, I would find something else to do with it.

  4. Go Beyonce, congratulation.

    And believe me, this relatively unknown Black Writers organization
    will get way more mileage out of this award to Beyonce than she will. And lighten up folks they did not say it was for ‘writer of the year’ – just an award or acknowledgment.

    And before we look down on someone for their schooling or lack,
    let’s remember that Beyonce has become very successful
    and has made brilliant career moves. She’s also married to a like-wise successful brother and they have a beautiful daughter.
    What do you guys want? I say that’s role model material!

  5. The New York Association of Blak Journalist is not some “unknown” organization…it is a well respected group of talented journalist. I read the article in Essence and the thought crossed my mind “did she write this”? And I read the letter she wrote to First Lady….totally different…a fifth grader could have written it.

    I think it’s a slap in the face to the journalist that have pursued journalism as their career choice, journalist who actually write for a living. And judging by Beyonce’s song lyrics..she is not that good of a writer. I felt a dis-service was done to all of the professional models when she was given the coveted sports illustrated cover twice while real models were pushed aside. Geesh. Can we get a new it girl please?

  6. I am a journalist and, yes, this is a tragic insult. This is just more get on the celebrity band wagon like every other celebrity media driven organization. There are a lot of people out in the world doing their thing to the highest accord but are not celebrities per se. A magazine like Essence doesn’t even put these people on their covers anymore to bring them the recognition they deserve. I no longer support Essence for that reason! This is how it goes: when you’re a celebrity and can afford to buy pretty much whatever you want that’s when people give them all kinds of FREE STUFF. Treat the little people like celebrities and start giving them some freebies! Beyonce a journalist are you KIDDING ME! PLEASE

    • I completely agree with you! I’m also a journalist and I tell you, it’s hard as a black woman in the journalism game, so reading about Beyonce receiving this prestigious award made me sick. What message are they sending to struggling black journalists when Miss Thang can just pop in and grab an award when clearly she either didn’t write it or they had to do quite a bit of editing to make it readable?
      I too remember when Essence used to have everyday beautiful women on their covers and now all I see when I bother to look (I canceled my subscription too) are celebrities. Everyday women are no longer good enough? Shame on these people for givng honors to someone who did not earn them and does not deserve them. I guess we’ll be seeing white faces on the cover of Essence next.

      • Sounds to me, like you are suffering with the Negro Crab Syndrome.

        • That’s a cold statement to make ‘crab syndrome’. There is a difference between straight hating on the accomplishments of another in a negative way without pursuing a dream or goal of your own. But when you work hard and are genuine in your own art form, study, or business methodology and someone who has not pursued your passion with as much vigor as you makes your pursuits somehow seem ‘lost’. I am all for people being successful in every way possible, however, I am also for standing down every so often, and with PRIDE, to allow other people the opportunity to shine! There is no way any one person can be great at everything and if you have a few awards, why not help uplift others doing wonders in their field for the sake of just knowing the time they dedicate to truly make a difference. One day the ‘crabs in the bucket’ will evolve enough to stand on each other’s shoulders & transcend the bucket by infinite heights..I can’t wait to see that!

  7. I can’t get past point #1. I read the open letter to the 1st Lady and am having a very hard time understanding the award. I thought the letter was someone playing a prank until I actually saw it posted on her website. I wish Beyonce the best but I can see this as being very offensive to actual journalist.

  8. A Shame…. She Doesn’t Possess A GED… Doesn’t Even Write Her Own Songs & Essence Wants Us 2 Believe She’s A Journalist…?!?! #C’mon….!!

  9. Exactly Q! No-one believes the lying, deceitful, fraudulent talentless, and undereducated middle schooler expect Warren2010, sadly – he/she thinks the girl is good enough to be a role model, for his/her children – pitiful & laughable. The girl is garbage and a disgrace… to real mothers and women. She is definitely French

    Clearly Essence hasn’t learned that bogus whites will continue to embarrass it’s name and cause the black community to no longer support it’s brand.

  10. Really!!! To the comment of good career choices and being married to a success like wise, you have got to be kidding they’re both high school drop outs with no education. I guess it’s true, money can truly buy you any and everything, but hey, what’s wrong with teaching your child as long as you got the money, buy whatever you want, don’t worry about achieving it on your own or really working for it. Working for it or being poor really isn’t Beyonce, Jay-Z nor Blue Ivy problem for that matter. This is really a kick in the gut to real journalist. Essence has become a garbage magazine anyways. You hardly ever see just regular successful everyday women on the covers, just a bunch of air brushed phonies.

  11. To the many, many Beyonce haters- jealousy becomes you:(

  12. Beyonce will receive the award “by the decision of the New York Association of Black Journalists” says the article. She is not giving the award to herself, so give the diva a break. It seems to me The New York Association of Black Journalists are the only people who can answer the question of, what she did to deserve the award. LET A DIVA BE A DIVA, LEAVE THE BEYONCE ALONG!

  13. Beyonce does not write her own songs, actually she steals songwriting credits and usually doesn’t even give credit to where credit is due, she can barely articulate on her interviews and has a hard time just getting her point across. This is crazy, she didn’t write that article herself, she doesn’t deserve that award, it’s a shame.

    • In The New York Association of Black Journalists opinion she deserves the award. Your opinion is just one Wow!

  14. I am a huge fan of the beautiful Beyonce; I love her music and her movies. However, as a struggling writer, I disagree with her receipt of the award as well. That does not diminish my adoration of her beauty and talent. It is simply an acknowledegment that writing is an art form, like singing; thus, the tireless efforts of those who truly hone their craft should not be overlooked for the sake of doting on our queens of other industries. Let’s be fair!

  15. On Beyonce receiving the journalism award, lighten up folks it wasn’t for writer of the year. And I’m sure hundreds of such awards are given out yearly. So, if all you great writers missed
    out on this nod, you have many other opportunities. And there’s a wise saying that ‘what’s yours is yours’ and no one else can deprive you! My main comment is this, from this site I read of many dissing Beyonce’s letter she wrote to Michelle Obama. But, I just read the letter and I found it pretty much grammatically sound: all words spelled correctly, her punctuation good and even sentence structure fair. But, above all it was a heartfelt and loving tribute. And come on, it was just a quick hand written note.
    And I am a writer as well. And I also edit for other writers.

  16. The letter that was written to Michelle ….can we say she was writing to Michelle or writing about Michelle? it appears to me in her initual statement that she was writing “about” Michelle, so therefor her grammer is a little slippery. However, maybe her writing can help her get her G.E.D. Bey and Jay Z are NOT positive role models for our youth sad to say but the truth is “it is What it is” I can not see my young son wanting to be like Jay Z (entertainer) which this is what most of blacks are good at. Nor would i want my daughter to be like Bey(entertainer). I would prefer her to have the potential of Michelle Obama, Dr. Mae Jamison or Maya Angelou (Intellectuals) to name a few. Now they are “role models” for our youths.

    • Ok, to those who frown, because Beyonce, seemed to have gone from writing about Mrs Obama, but ended up as if speaking to her, there’s absolutely, nothing wrong with that, that’s an acceptable, writing technique, for such a scenario. See, Beyonce was wrting an ‘open letter’ for our eyes, but also for Michelle’s. So, she’s actually writing for two audiences. It’s called taking creative liberties. Maybe, it could’ve been done a bit cleaner, but it’s all good and it’s common. Again, I say ‘GO BEY’!


    • Your beef is not with Beyonce, It seems to me, your beef is with the New York Association of Black Journalist. Isn’t the members of this Association in the field of Journalism. LEAVE THE DIVA ALONE.

  18. Only One Word….Really!

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