It's one thing for someone like Bill O'Reilly to go on a tirade about Beyoncé; it's entirely another when the person taking aim at Queen Bey is a legendary feminist—especially since female empowerment is exactly what the singer preaches on her latest album (even borrowing snippets from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's incredible TED talk for "***Flawless"). But writer, activist, and feminist bell hooks (born Gloria Jean Watkins) was none too sparing with harsh words for Bey during a conversation this week with trans advocate Janet Mock at The New School in Manhattan. The panel was titled "Are You Still a Slave?"
When Mock offered her own praise of the singer (which was measured, to be fair), saying that though there were certain aspects of her latest music (like Jay Z's "Drunk in Love" lyrics) that perhaps didn't align with her whole "I am woman, hear me roar" persona, hooks shot back that she thinks there is "a part of Beyoncé that is anti-feminist—that is a terrorist, especially in terms of the impact on young girls" She went on to label the singer as part of the anti-feminist problem, which she believes stems from "visual media and TV and videos."
hooks then went even further, arguing that Beyoncé's image is "a construction...of a slave," and that we probably wouldn't be interested in her if she didn't have money, ultimately making our fascination with her a product of our addiction to celebrity and imperialism. We're stilling digesting this. While hooks makes some valid points (particularly about the psychology surrounding our obsession with fame), we have to believe that Beyoncé has made a positive impact on the lives of many young girls (including us). (Still, we don't think The Beygency would dare come after bell hooks.)