Our religion is not a costume: Beyonce dresses like the Virgen Mary at the Grammys
At the Grammys tonight, Beyonce accepted her 22nd Grammy for her Album Lemonade, and she definitely deserved it. That album is an almost spiritual experience. Something that could have been a little less spiritual was her performance, in which she wore a head piece that invoked the image of the Virgin Mary, or La Virgen Maria.
As visually captivating as the entire routine was, the costume comes off as disrespectful to an entire community of people who hold that image sacred. Given the fact that Beyonce is pregnant and that La Virgen Maria is a symbol of creation and motherhood, it would be hard to argue that the crown was not meant to create a connection to the biblical figure.
Why is this not ok? Beyonce is not Catholic, and the image of Virgen Mother does not hold the same importance to her as to people who are. Ever heard the phrase “Our culture is not a costume.” We agree, and that goes for religion as well. If you don’t want people treating other people’s culture like a trendy fashion statement (e.g. cornrows, hijabs, geisha make-up), Don’t do it yourself.
Additionally, the message it sends is a little mixed-up. Is Beyonce comparing herself to a deity? Should we consider her more than a mere human? The director of the performance might argue that it is a positive statement: That all mothers and pregnant women should be viewed with reverence as the doorways of life. Bey herself did dedicate the performance to motherhood and rebirth.
We know that the singer did not mean any harm by it. Beyonce is still a progressive social leader. Her album Lemonade should be recognized for its contribution to black feminism and diversity in the media.
We also love her statement as she accepted her award for best urban contemporary album.
“We often experience pain and loss and often we become inaudible. My intention for the film and album was to create a body of work that would give a voice to our pain, our struggles, our darkness, and our history. To confront issues that make us uncomfortable. It Is important to me to show images to my children that reflect their beauty, so that they can grow up in a world where they look in the mirror, first through their own families- as well as the news, the Superbowl, the Olympics, the white house, and the Grammys- and see themselves, and have no doubt that they are beautiful, intelligent and capable. This is something that I want for every child of every race.”
Beyonce is a compassionate woman, who is overall a force for good. We just wish she would think twice before using someone else's religion as a gimmick. Do you agree?
To my Catholics out there: Is this NOT cool? Or did you enjoy the shout out?