On Sunday I was transfixed like pretty much everyone else on the planet by Beyoncé’s half-time show. I was already amped because my team had run a clinic on the 49ers in the first half and was screwing up spreads across the land. Now I was ready for King Bey to rock that mutha.
Hot off the heels of a lip synch controversy so huge it damn near made Milli Vanilli’s debacle seem like a minor karaoke mishap, Beyoncé didn’t disappoint anyone except her haters. She stomped, sneered, seduced and shook the Superdome into a hot frenzied mess. So hot she short-circuited that joint into darkness! Oh you thought the outage was due to a faulty circuit breaker? That’s cute. Unlike her performance at President Obama’s inauguration, the Beyoncé Ball was all the way live! Pre-smercorded whut… shhh shut yo’ mouth! When she tossed her jacket in the crowd and whipped off her skirt it was over. Twelve minutes of Hotness. Next thing I knew Jacoby Jones of the Ravens was running from one end zone to the other for a record breaking touchdown.
As I sipped my beer, I thought how much this Superbowl was a competition of comebacks. And Beyoncé, being the consummate Virgo that she is, was in competition with herself to reclaim her crown of vocal superiority and sustain that image of entertainer extraordinaire. Divas don’t usually lip-synch after all, at least that’s what Aretha says. She made a minor misstep at a very historic Inauguration and so this half-time show became more than just a performance, it became a test of sorts to see if she still had it. And maybe more importantly, even if she still wanted it.
In hindsight the game was pretty dramatic, so much so that it made me think of life. The first half of the game—that’s our footloose, fancy-free 20’s and early 30’s. It’s random, incredible, perplexing and fast. The second half represents our 50’s and 60’s—methodical, assured, non-giving-a-damn-having, legacy-building.
And in between all of that is our half-time—our mid-to-late 30’s and 40’s. I’m in the half-time of my life now and I must say it ain’t as good as Beyoncé’s yet, but it ain’t half bad either! Half-time is show & prove time. It’s a time of reinvention, shot-calling, listening and getting free. It’s a challenging time to be sure, but when I’m in my groove doing what I want to do against all odds (ie. mounting bills, family expectations, fears), I too feel like whipping off my skirt and asking, “Any questions.”
Sunday’s Superbowl was a super lesson. Bey showed us how to have the best half-time of our lives. Yes y’all beyond the booty bouncing and the Roc Nation hand-signing, Mrs. Carter was schooling us. Here are 3 things she showed us:
1. When The World’s Eyes Are On You, Always Come Out Stomping!
To be sure, millions of folks tuned-in just to see Beyoncé. I believe Nielsen reported a 25% increase in viewership during halftime (Bey’s halftime show was the 2nd most watched halftime show behind Madonna). If she was nervous, anxious or stressed we sure as heck couldn’t tell. She came out stomping, which immediately set the tone. She wasn’t running away from the criticism and drama she was stepping right in that sucka, hard and with no regrets. Along with never letting them see you sweat, Beyoncé reminded us that when we storm the castle of our haters, we cannot do so on our tiptoes. Even if we feel unsure and afraid, just come in the door stomping. If nothing else, Beyoncé showed us that folk will take notice and no doubt the stomping will summon up old fears of fe fi fo fum giants and the doubt and trepidation will then be theirs to manage. And as soon as this shift occurs whip your jacket off and show them what you got. Before you know it you will be back on your throne, legs crossed and sitting pretty.
2. Don’t Ever Forget Your Girls:
When your back is up against the wall, when you need a little support and when you just wanna sashay and show out, don’t forget your girls! At arguably, one of the biggest moments of Beyoncé’s career she didn’t ask her husband Jay-Z to join her on stage, she asked Kelly and Michelle—her Destiny’s Child BFFs. What a powerful statement BK made about the importance and power of sisterhood! Her entire band was made up of women and then, to put an exclamation point on her Girls Run The World moment, she extended an invitation to share the spotlight with her former band members who, without Bey looking out, would probably never see the light of a Superbowl stage. It revealed how important her friendships are to other women and how supporting each other is some of the sexiest, most transforming kind of love there is. Even professionally speaking, Beyoncé showed class and grace when she wrote this note recognizing the historic significance that this Superbowl presented by featuring five Black women performers (Jennifer Hudson & Alicia Keys also performed). In a time where ratchetness between Black women is a popular money-making scheme to keep us failing and scrapping over red-bottoms and Black men, this was massively groundbreaking and Beyoncé made sure everyone knew it was by posting her letter on Tumblr for every news and media outlet in the world to gush over. Thank you Bey!
3. Don’t Rely on Someone Else’s Power to Light Your Show. Bring Your Own Generator:
In the wake of the major outage which some, including Boomer Esiason, tried to blame on Beyoncé’s mega fresh half-time show, the NFL has released a statement saying Beyoncé had her own generator and had nothing to do with the power going out in the Superdome. Hot damn! Now if that ain’t the lesson of all lessons! I kept on asking my peeps on Twitter what if the power had gone out in the middle of “Crazy In Love.” I can’t even imagine how much of a disaster that would’ve been for damn near everyone in all of Nawlins. From the ball boy to the NFL Commissioner it would’ve been a shake down like no other. But B had already thought it out and brought her own power that she controlled. How many people do we know trying to make a name for themselves using their husbands’ (or wives’) professional fame to generate their own shine? Or my favorite, folks who pull out, for example, their Harvard Law, Columbia Journalism, Yale Drama, Wharton Business, Fordham Law, Williams and Morehouse degrees as a way to elevate and validate themselves as better than or more superior. It’s just a paper, yo! Yes, a great deal of work went into earning those degrees, but what have you done in your life and career to lift yourself up; To lift your community up? I’m all for education, but I can’t stand when people use their Ivy league pedigree and good college name to boost themselves up. It’s 2013 and it’s high time we bring our own generators to this game we call Life. With the current challenges against reproductive health and immigration policy, women and people of color should be the first packing our extension cords and power packs. As major as the Superbowl is and even with the knowledge that the Superdome had just gone through a 336 million dollar renovation, Bey still said, “Nah-uh, I’m good. I will use my own generators.” Let’s all take note and stop relying on the government, our spouses, our mamas, our educational pedigrees and step out stomping, in control of our own power.
You can stand on the sidelines, you can make a touch down or you can be the highlight of the entire game and have the best half time show of your life. It’s up to you, but when the clock hits those triple zeros it’s all over. Beyoncé had 12 minutes. What will you do with your time?