My obsession began the first time I saw Destiny’s Child perform on MTV back in 97′ or 98′.
Beyoncé, Kelly, LeToya, and Latavia, took my world by storm with their debut album, “Writings On the Wall.” I remember cutting their pictures out of the teen pop star magazines and plastering them on the walls of my tiny bedroom. I even named a class project after them for my 6th grade spanish class. Needless to say I got an “A”.
My fantasy became reality in summer of ‘99 when Destiny’s Child did an autograph signing at the infamously ratchet, Tyrone Mall in St. Petersburg Florida. I was about 11 years old, and being abnormally small, I had to climb up the side of a huge fake plant in the center of the mall in order to see above the crowd. While Beyoncé, Kelly, and newcomer Michelle Williams crooned a harmonized rendition of “Amazing Grace,” I looked on in awe. It was the closest thing to a live concert I’d ever seen. It was also in that moment that Beyoncé looked at me, winked, and waved.
I immediately climbed down from my platform, grabbed my chest, and thought to myself, “This is it, She’s the one.” I later fell asleep by the radio that night redialing “5-6-8-0-9-8-7,” the number to our local radio station, trying to win tickets to their show.
This uniquely happy time in my life passed just before my parents took a nosedive into a cult-like sect of Christianity. After their spiritual epiphany, my bedroom posters had to come down and my secular music, including my Destiny’s Child CDs, went directly into the trash. If it wasn’t Christian music, movies, or people – I was forbidden from it. I wasn’t even allowed to watch the Harry Potter series. My parent’s ban on all things normal continued throughout my most transformative years. I was growing older, and with that, I was growing to hate myself, hate what I felt inside, and hate the child I was destined to be.
At age 12, on the eve of Y2K, my parents and I took communion at home and quietly waited for the clock to strike 12. We had spent the year anticipating the alleged second coming of Christ. There was talk within the church that this could be the night He would come back to earth and reclaim the souls of his diligent saints – I refused to be left behind. I remember going into my room, closing the door, and praying that Jesus would wait just long enough for me to do three things: kiss a boy, go to a nightclub, and see Beyoncé. I can confidently say that at this point in my life, I have accomplished all three – multiple times – all thanks to Jesus running on CPT.
By the age of 15 or 16, while going to high school five days a week and church up to six times a week, I also had a part-time job at McDonald’s. I had finally rebuilt an extensive stash of non-christian music, which I kept hidden away. Every Friday night my parents would attend service and I would tell them I had to work. Really, I would stay home and watch BET’s music video countdown show,“106 and Park,” with the volume as high as possible.
It was 2003 and Beyoncé had just released her first solo album, “Dangerously In Love,” with the epic leading single, “Crazy In Love.” When I saw that music video on MTV’s “Making the Video,” something inside me shifted.
Something was awakened.
I immediately learned every dance move to the choreography, and actually, I still know most of it.
For a few minutes, at a time, while jamming to the r&b anthems birthed from Beyoncé’s debut explosion, I didn’t hate myself, but instead I felt empowered.
I felt free.
Beyonce’s music permitted me to bend my wrists and shake my hips as much as I wanted. After being reprimanded for any behavior that mimicked femininity as a child, I was finally able to dance however I wanted. Suddenly feminine-oriented qualities seemed more like a gift than a curse. Because of Beyoncé, it no longer seemed like an insult to “dance like a girl”. If “that girl”was Beyoncé, it was an undeniable compliment.
After years of praying that what I felt inside would go away, I slowly began the first steps toward embracing it. It was then that I realized I was never going to be some macho athlete. I was a skinny kid who liked boys and loved to dance. And, that was all right.
Now, at 28 years old, I’m currently getting dressed to attend a “Bey Day” party event at a local venue, in honor of Bey’s 34th birthday tonight.
When people ask me,“Why do you like Beyoncé so much?” Rather than write them an essay, I usually say something casual like, “She’s everything!” But, now I can refer them to this post.
Yes, Beyoncé might be one of the most successful recording artists of our time, but my love for her music and artistry has an older history. By the grace of God, the loving acceptance of my friends, and Beyonce’s music –I survived adolescence. Her music did more than top charts. It breathed life into an otherwise broken boy.
Some kids had Michael Jackson, some had Jordan, I had Beyoncé.