I had to print my first correction ever this week. I’ve been an editor for a little more than three months and until Thursday, Jan. 24 I had managed to steer clear of publishing anything that was fabricated, falsified or blatantly untrue. Then a story rolled into my queue that I honestly could not believe: “GOP Demands Obama Resign After Beyonce-Gate.”
‘This can’t be true,’ I thought. It just couldn’t be. So I read the article and sure enough there it was – Sen. Rand Paul quoted by The New Yorker saying, “By lip synching the national anthem, Beyoncé has cast a dark cloud over the President’s second term. The only way President Obama can remove that cloud is by resigning from office at once.”
I still didn’t believe it. So I went to the link provided in the story and there it was, this time titled, “Obama Urged to Resign Over Beyonce Scandal.”
Keep in mind this is the same man who asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton just last week, “Is the US involved with any procuring of weapons, transfer of weapons, buying, selling, anyhow, transferring weapons to Turkey?”
Her incredulous response: “To Turkey?”
Still, the story seemed too ridiculous to be true, but the New Yorker had published it and the news site that contributes content to us had published it, so who was I not to run with it? So I did.
Fortunately, the story was so crazy that I immediately posted it on my Facebook wall and within minutes was informed that the story was satire, from a satire writer who writes a satire column for The New Yorker.
Feeling that it was better to simply admit the mistake than to take the story down and pretend it hadn’t happened, I noted that the original “statement” was from The Borowitz Report, not just from The New Yorker, and added the detail, “The Borowitz Report is a satirical column published regularly by the magazine.”
That was it from me, but the story of Beyonce-Gate has refused to die.
Since the news slipped out that Mrs. Carter may not have actually been singing live –a spokeswoman from her camp stupidly admitted the pop star “did not actually sing” last week – everyone from everywhere and their mother has had some sort of opinion on the matter.
“How dare she?”
“She robbed us!”
“Burn her at the stake!”
But it all just needs to stop. Beyonce doesn’t owe you anything. Not an explanation, not a live performance, not a refund for your inauguration ticket.
First, this was not a Beyonce concert. Anyone who was in attendance should have been there to see Barack Obama take the oath of office and be sworn in for his second term as our 44th president. The singing was a freebie you got because Obama is cool like that.
Second, it was obviously Beyonce’s voice. It’s not like Beyonce opened her mouth and Aretha Franklin’s voice came through the speakers. So you heard and saw a Beyonce performance, whether the notes were actually coming out then or she sang them in the shower the week before.
Third, it’s not like she was the first person to fake it at an inauguration. In fact, she’s not even the first person to fake it at President Obama’s inauguration. At the president’s 2009 inauguration, legendary musician Yo-Yo Ma “hand synched” playing his cello because the cold weather would have made it too difficult to play live in tune.
At the 2012 London Olympics, most of the musical performances in the opening and closing ceremonies were performed to prerecorded tracks, including songs by bands like The Who and the Rolling Stones, because of acoustic issues with the outdoor venue.
Despite all the criticism and back and forth, Beyonce has refused to comment on the issue. Many believe her silence has been an effort to reduce the hype and disapproval surrounding the controversy, but personally I think it’s because Beyonce just doesn’t feel the need to explain herself to y’all.
She doesn’t have to.
The woman is only 31 and already she’s lived about 20 people’s life dream. In addition to being probably the biggest musical supernova on the planet, she’s a movie headliner with two Golden Globe nominations, has won 16 Grammys, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, her own clothing line, has been the face of brands like L’Oréal, Tommy Hilfiger and Vizio, been on the cover of Sports Illustrated (the swimsuit edition, but still) and is about to perform at the single largest event in all of the world.
All of this and she’s married to one of the wealthiest and most successful men on earth, just had a child a year ago and she looks like this.
Last year she made $40 million and it was a down year. Her daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, is the youngest person ever, at two days old, to make the Billboard Hot 100.
She’s one of the most recognizable people in the world and has one of the most recognizable voices in the history of music. She’ll also be the star, director and producer of an HBO special about her life that’s set to premiere on Feb. 13.
Even before the lip synching fiasco, her performance was the most talked about thing in the world. Literally. CNN reported that Knowles’ performance was “the top moment in terms of volume of traffic on Facebook” that day.
I say all that to say that Beyonce is Wonder Woman. She is the epitome of what hard work, dedication and talent can get you in the world if you want it badly enough. And if Wonder Woman doesn’t feel like singing live because the weather’s not so great or she hasn’t had sufficient time to rehearse with the band, then we should all be so lucky as to have been afforded the pleasure of seeing her mouth words into a microphone.