Friday, December 8, 2023

F ³: Why Not Beyoncé?

On Wednesday I saw the news and asked on Twitter, “Why not Beyoncé?”

Nobody responded.

The news was, as you probably know:

Images property of Time Magazine, photo credit Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin

Time Magazine announced pop artist Taylor Swift as their person of the year. From CNN:

Taylor Swift is ending her year with another accolade: The pop superstar was named Time magazine’s 2023 “Person of the Year,” beating out Barbie and King Charles III. - - Jordan Valinsky, CNN

It looks like Beyoncé wasn’t even in the running. Why not? 

Truth in advertising: I have probably listened to more Taylor Swift music than that of Beyoncé. That being said, I’m not really engaged mentally with either one of them. So my question comes more from observing the statements and behavior of people I see on social media, along with generally following the careers of each artist.

As a relatively disinterested bystander, I feel as though Beyoncé had an equally stellar year in 2023. I’m not seeing anything that would draw Taylor Swift significantly ahead if you held the accomplishments of one in the one hand and the other, well, in the other. Because of that, if I had been choosing a Person of the Year, I might have wanted to choose someone else altogether. Other possibilities:

  • Women in Music
  • Both artists
  • Beyoncé on her own
Someone asked me if Beyoncé was even in the running and it looks like she wasn’t. How is this possible? Well…if you look at what CNN said, the top three were Taylor Swift, Barbie (from the movie, obviously) and King Charles III. It seems that all three have something in common. 


This is purely a matter of opinion, but this comes across as another example of how people making decisions in our culture are predisposed to believe that the white (artist, actor, writer, politician,whatever) they like has more general appeal than one who is not white. White is for everyone. Black is niche, a specialized category, a subheading. An afterthought.

Both women are exceptional both as performers and in business. Both have devoted fan bases. Both are highly influential in the recording industry. Yet, in September, Gannet Publishing announced they would hire a reporter whose sole job was to cover Taylor Swift. 

Only after reader pushback did they announce they’d be hiring one to cover Beyoncé.

I’ll leave you with the words of author Luvvie Ajayi Jones, who responded to the Time announcement on TwitterX:

Taylor being TIME person of the year, while Beyoncé was not even nominated when they had VERY comparable years in terms of quantifiable impact is actually wild. They both had record-breaking sold out world tours and BOTH shifted economies and BOTH had documentaries come out.

ONE of them is crowned the PERSON OF THE YEAR. While the other was not even considered for the title.

Whether or not you are BeyHive or can't stand her, you cannot deny the obvious erasure. Because there is only ONE main thing that makes her and Taylor different. You can be one of the most influential women in the world, and b/c you're Black you can still continue to be locked out. The message we get is "You can never do enough." 

Does the TIME title matter? You can argue NO but it's something that ensures that you will NOT be erased.

What do you think? 

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