We do not know each other but I think about you every single day of my life. Not even on purpose or in any sort of overly obsessive way, I promise. Basically, you are everywhere and since I exist in this world and American pop culture is constantly on my radar, there is always at least one moment in the day when something related to you snaps into my consciousness. I don’t mind really; it’s not like I ever think “Goddammit, why am I picturing Beyoncé in a minidress?” or “Jeezus, can I just get a day where I don’t think about Beyoncé?” Yeah that never happens, mostly, it’s like this “Aww hey, B, good to see you, girl. Hope you’re doing well. See you tomorrow!” Yeah, welcome to my brain.
So anyway, B, there is one major thing you should know. I feel connected to your public and artistic persona for more than just the obvious reasons. All of the world can and does tell you how beautiful and talented you are. That’s just a duh. It probably doesn’t even faze you to hear that. Which I like totes get, girl.
There’s way more to it for me than that. See here’s the thing, without even trying your image/persona/public existence has helped me become the awesomely queer chica I am today. Girl, I’m for serious. See, it was frightening for me to admit when I was a teenager that I found women attractive. I didn’t have the right words and none of my homegirls were speaking that type of language so I just kept it all to myself. Relating or connecting to out or “gay-looking” women may have exposed my secret, so I kept my interest in Melissa Etheridge and even Queen Latifah very close to my chest. This was before I ever read Audre Lorde or Alison Bechdel, heard Alix Olson spit or went to an Ani Difranco concert. This was before I could even admit to anything regarding the sexuality that made me feel so sick and out of sorts.
B, you No, No, No, No, No’ed your way onto the music scene with Destiny’s Child and set something free inside of me. You were the first woman I was able to acknowledge my attraction to in public with non-queer friends and not care because see, you’re like the girl next door that everyone says is awesome. Your presence created this safe space for me to explore the nuances of same sex attraction. There was nothing weird about me rambling on to my friends in high school about how I loved your outfits, laugh, dance moves, attitude, sweetness, smile, hair and at the time, I just needed to not feel weird about something. The qualities I admired in you growing up are now qualities that I look for in the women I choose to entertain, pursue, befriend and fall in love with. They must be motivated, creative, driven, intelligent and beautiful powerhouses ready to take on the world with grace and a mega hit of badass. So in honor of the safe space you provided for me when I was a teenager. Here is a Top 7 list of my favorite moments of you.
7. The ‘Check On It’ Video
Holy Crap, can this one just be about how ridiculously sexy and beautiful and amazing you are? Like, seriously, you won me over for life with this one. One more word: Thighs.
6. “Get Me Bodied”
You showed up unannounced at PS 161 and danced with the school kids to ‘Get Me Bodied’. This school partnered with you, the NBA Education Foundation and WAT-AAH bottled water corp, to fight childhood obesity. Sorry but I don’t ever see J.Lo doing this type of shit. Bey loves the kids. Peep her surprise entrance at around the 1:30 mark.
5. Sexy Androgyny
Because sometimes you wear suits like me.
4. Independent Woman Love
You write other powerful women beautiful letters of love, like this one to Michelle Obama. Swoon, some all CAPS action and a power clap.
3. Humility is Beauty
Homegirl — cuz we’re cool like that — totally faceplants at a show in Orlando and gets right the fuck back up. That is LIFE.
2. Real Life Love
We worked together once! Well, I was a P.A. on one of your L’Oreal commercials in 2007 at Silver Cup Studios. I cleaned your bathroom but it was totally worth it because you were awesome. Also, you totally hugged and high fived me after the gig. #IAlmostDied
Can’t find that damn commercial anywhere BUT this interview with you about the gig/product is pretty much why #IAlmostDied
Because you were part of the composition and production of a song that to this days remains one of the best “You Do You” anthems in the world. Seriously, you scrapped the bitches that were holding you down, connected to your core homegirls and wrote a fucking song about it. How do you know my life, B?
So who were/are your “safe space” chicas? Tell me about them and why you loved them. ‘Cause I mean it’s totally ok to just swoon over ladies who aren’t queer while acknowledging why you do and then full on swooning over AS’s Top 100 Queer Women in all the land.
Special Note: Autostraddle’s “First Person” personal essays do not necessarily reflect the ideals of Autostraddle or its editors, nor do any First Person writers intend to speak on behalf of anyone other than themselves. First Person writers are simply speaking honestly from their own hearts.