A few months ago a friend of mine posted a hilarious Beyoncé GIF on my Facebook wall. Glowing and looking absolutely radiant — because where Beyoncé is concerned there is no other possibility — the inserted caption underneath goes, “I just want people to know that, I am the reason Earth exists.” The image has haunted me ever since, not just because it’s funny or because everybody likes GIFs but because it is one of many, many user-generated pop cultural examples of Beyoncé worship.
Beyoncé is definitely having a moment. The ferocious pop diva has never been more famous, more relevant or more culturally visible. Drake even wrote a song about her! How To Be Beyoncé is not a biography but a fun, pop-sociological essay on Our Queen, Hallowed BEY thy name. Come and get your life from these pages, hunties. With close readings of a range of juicy Beyoncé moments, some more recent like her Super Bowl Half Time performance or her HBO special Life Is But A Dream, and others more distant like the first time she performed “Crazy in Love” as Beyoncé in 2003, How To Be Beyoncé gets bootylicious with it. Plus, each chapter offers a lesson on how we can be just like Beyoncé, which is what all of humanity is striving for.
Chapter One: Praise #Beysus (Excerpt)
By almost all measures [Beyoncé’s Super Bowl] performance was a success. I remember jumping up and down in my living room screaming “Yaass!!!” at the top of my lungs. If my neighbors didn’t know then they were living next door to a gay, they do now. Right after Beyoncé’s performance I went on Facebook and one of my friends posted this:
This Bey-fascination proclamation was interesting to me not just because I agree — as you can tell if you look at the image closely — but because of what it teaches us about celebrity worship right now.
Why do we love Beyoncé so much?
Chapter Two: Make The World Your Personal Runway (Excerpt)
“Crazy in Love” was not just a song. It was an emancipation. A rebirth….“Crazy” was her definitive moment of arrival, a break away from Destiny’s Child and the arrival of Beyoncé 2.0.
Chapter Three: Sell Yourself — Not Like That, Though (Excerpt)
If there’s anything about Beyoncé that nearly everyone can agree on, it’s that she can sell you a song….Even though I don’t always love everything she does right away, I know that I’ll be gagging on the floor after seeing her do it for real.
Chapter Four: Don’t Get Your Weave Snatched (Excerpt)
Beyoncé loves a lace front. And honey that shit is always placed — glued in for the gods. “She has had the best weaves since Day 1,” Jessica Sykes, a junior at Yale recently told me. “Like since Day 1. Her weaves are out of this world.”….I’ve always been fascinated by Beyoncé’s weaves not because of the hairstyles themselves, but because of what she does with the stuff when she’s on stage.
Chapter Five: Don’t Leave The House Without A Wind Machine (Excerpt)
The wind machine is a really interesting part of Beyoncé iconography because it frames her as desirable but also heavenly and unavailable. Ever since “Crazy,” Beyoncé has been framed as a sex goddess and icon….Beyoncé, who is black/Creole but light enough to pass as Latina when excellent airbrushing is used, makes her body and skin play the role of the sultry, mixed race jezebel whose primary role is to be a seductress.
Chapter Six: Never Say Too Much (Excerpt)
Did Beyoncé have a baby or didn’t she? “I used to like her a lot,” Vanna Chin, a New York-based visual artist told me. “But she’s a lying ass bitch. Her baby bump collapsed on national television!” Oooo, the shade.