So here we have Beyoncé, a hyper-visible, successful, billionaire black woman and entertainer, one half of one of the top-earning couples in the world, explicitly detailing how she came to the decision to “let her freak flag fly” for this album. Here Beyoncé tells us specifically her motivations for moving in a more sexually explicit direction. Here she explains how she has always felt obligated to leave that part of herself on the cutting room floor.

 And then we have people insisting that Beyoncé’s sexuality is nothing more than an over-played ploy to capture male attention.
 What upsets me most about shallow critiques like this is that these “accusations” for want of a better word, always operate under the assumption that black women do not have any sexual agency, or that any show of sexuality is a confirmation of racist stereotypes. There is never any room left in the conversation for the possibility that the motivation behind a display of sexuality comes from within. It presumes that all female sexuality is in pursuit of the male gaze. This idea is the single biggest problem that I have with Rashida Jones’ assertion that pop stars need to “stop being whores.” Her limited worldview doesn’t allow for the women who choose to be overtly sexual because it is the way they are most comfortable expressing that side of themselves. The issue becomes “you’re not being sexual the right way; the modest, decent, lady-like way.” But that’s bullshit. There is no “right” way to be sexual, and a woman, (even a black one!) has a right to be sexual in any way that she so chooses.

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