A week ago Beyonce came out with her new album, “Lemonade” (2016). The line that has been getting the most attention is from the song “Sorry”:
“He better call Becky with the good hair.”
If you see her album as being about her own life, then it seems her husband Jay-Z had an affair with said Becky. Over the past week several Beckys have been suggested – Rachel Roy, Rita Ora and Karrine Steffans.
On top of that, some said that Beyonce’s use of “Becky” was racist, others not.
“Do you know how many time ppl have called me BECKY? It didn’t have any kind of positive intention behind it.”
“Dont call all asian women ‘ming lee’ dont call white women ‘becky’ dont call black women ‘sha nay nay'”
“AND WE ALL KNOW ‘becky’ started because you all think white girls just go around slobbing on everyones dick.”
Stereotypes and racist disrespect should be called out, of course, but Iggy Azalea is not the best messenger: she makes her living by playing to White stereotypes about Black women and is famous for her, uh, racial insensitivity.
As to Beyonce, two of the three suspected Beckys were not even White, so her meaning is unclear. Beyonce’s racism seems to be more internalized than anything: that bit about “good” hair, meaning hair like Europeans.
That said, Becky is something of a stereotype. Very Smart Brothas:
“It’s actually easier for me to say whether a White woman would be considered a Becky than it is to explain the criteria. Hillary Clinton? Not a Becky. Natalie Portman? Not really a Becky. Taylor Swift? The Beckiest. Iggy Azelea? Darth Becky.”
“Oh, my, god. Becky, look at her butt.
It is so big. [scoff]
She looks like one of those rap guys’ girlfriends.
But, you know, who understands those rap guys? [scoff]
They only talk to her, because, she looks like a total prostitute, ‘kay?
I mean, her butt, is just so big.
I can’t believe it’s just so round, it’s like, out there, I mean — gross. Look!
She’s just so… [disgust] black!”
Add to that an undertone of someone who will do what your girlfriend won’t. That was helped along by the song “Becky” (2010) by Plies – and Out-Group Women Are Easy stereotypes. Those about White women go back to at least the 1940s, if not way before.
As stereotypes go, though, it is hardly a strong one. No “Becky” has a cross burning in front of her house. No “Becky”, so far as I know, has ever lost a rape case because she faced an all-Black jury which held the stereotype.
In fact, it has been the other way round: hundreds if not thousands of Black men have been lynched and the whole town of Rosewood burned to the ground – because of the presumed virtue of White women.
– Abagond, 2016.
- Beyonce Knowles
- Formation – from the same album
- Solange Knowles
- Iggy Azalea
- good hair
- Six Mix-a-Lot: Baby Got Back
- The asymmetry of racism