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.