Community Voices: Artists Like Adele Wouldn’t Even Exist Without Beyoncé

Donald Trump is president.
ICE is taking my city by storm looking for undocumented immigrants.
An Attorney General is in power that by all previous accounts of recorded history is a racist piece of shit.
Politicians are going after Planned Parenthood like the last slice of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving.
The Patriots won the Super Bowl led by two BFFs of our Commander in Chief.
It’s winter.

There are a lot of things going on currently that are taking up a tremendous amount of emotional space, especially if you are Black, a woman, or queer. And so Beyoncé’s loss, yet again, of the Grammys’ Best Album of the Year hurts particularly worse than it ever has before. The last Black woman to win Album of the Year was Lauryn Hill. Yes fam, it was THAT long ago.

Here we are, only a month into 2017 and we are swiftly giving 2016 (the worst year of recorded let down history and fuckery) a solid run for its money. One of the things 2016 will never take away from us is Lemonade. Lemonade was not just an album. You don’t need to be told that again, because you know that with every inch of your core. Lemonade is like a tattoo on the Black persons soul. Beyoncé did not simply go into the studio and record songs. She crafted, created, and delivered us a modern day Bible. I have always been a fan of Beyoncé, but prior to Lemonade I was “Beyoncé Lite.” I was the 5G wireless plan. Lemonade forced me to become Unlimited.

There is not one song on Lemonade that doesn’t impact you. Whether it hits the feeling of what it’s like to get the fuck over an ex. To deeply connecting with what it feels like to be Black in America. To the difficult but necessary road we sometimes have to take when it comes to a lover. For true love isn’t fucking easy. Black love isn’t easy. Our parents love isn’t easy. Beyoncé created songs that not only gave us phrases that have since entered the mainstream vernacular but stories that we could all attribute to ourselves, our friends, our ex’s.

While it has been long understood that the Grammys were outdated and out of touch — hi hello Taylor Swift has two, one she received beating Kendrick, the other for beating Beyoncé – the Grammys have allowed white mediocrity to flourish, excel, and get praise on the absolutely most basic of levels. The fact that Taylor was even allowed to sit in a room with Kendrick and Beyoncé is an insult to our ancestors. But the fact that she beat them?

Where’s my whiskey.

Adele is not Taylor Swift. Let us not get that confused nor twisted. Adele has a voice from the gods. Adele is talented as hell. And as shown her acceptance (non acceptance?) speech she gets does truly get it as much as we could expect any white ally to. But Adele is not the voting academy. 25 was fine. But 25 wasn’t even Adele’s best album. Had this been a battle between 21 and Lemonade I could almost understand her win. Extreme emphasis on almost. But 25 was weak. It was Adele Lite. Adele is happy now. She has a husband and a kid and success. That was truly present in 25. We didn’t get the gut wrenchingly heart broken Adele. We got the Adele, who understanding her fan base tried but unsuccessfully delivered.

To even try and explain the impact of Lemonade would not do Lemonade the justice it deserves. Honestly, until Beyoncé herself is ready to teach us all a class on its cultural importance I’m not even going to try and pen it down. I will say that Lemonade not only changed and challenged lives, it changed and rejuvenated the direction of Black music. Beyoncé and Jay-Z are surrogate parents, friends, and collaborators to so many artists. One of which, Chance, we saw win big last night.

Adele’s 25 may have made a splash, but Beyoncé gave us a tsunami. The amount of soul, Blackness, and unapologetic female strength that shines from Lemonade is blinding.

And that is precisely why it didn’t win.

Ryley Pogensky

dapperQ's Community Voices Editor, Ryley Pogensky, is a native New Yorker currently residing in Brooklyn. He has walked runways from coast to coast, including Oakland's Queer Fashion Week; dapperQ's VERGE New York Fashion Week show at Brooklyn Museum; and dapperQ's VERGE Boston Fashion Week show at the Institute of Contemporary Art. Ryley was named dapperQ's 2014 "Person of the Year" and was cast in Barneys' groundbreaking “Brothers, Sisters, Sons & Daughters” campaign featuring 17 transgender models. Ryley can often be found behind the scenes of New York's biggest queer parties and in front of the camera for various queer photographers. You can read more of Ryley's work on the Huffington Post and on his blog Queergrub.

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