Music

Power Play: Real Story Behind Beyoncé’s Grammy Performance & The Backlash

Shame on you! Shame on each and every one of you that participated in perpetuating a manufactured feud between 20-time Grammy winner Beyoncé and multiple Grammy-nominee Ledisi. Shame on you for engaging in online chatter about an alleged “snub” of Ledisi and completely overshadowing Beyoncé’s attempt to bring attention to Black men in America.

So many people often criticize pop stars like Beyoncé and her husband Jay-Z for not having social consciousness. Artists like them are regularly condemned for not being community-minded, and when they do lend voice to social issues they’re ridiculed and accused of doing it to enhance their public image. They can’t win for losing!

In this case, the 33-year-old entertainer took it upon herself to shine light on the challenges of Black men in this country. After the recent events with Ferguson, Mike Brown, Eric Gardner and Trayvon Martin, Beyoncé asked to participate in the “Selma” tribute to use her massive reach as a voice of awareness.

Beyoncé performing in rehearsals for The Grammys

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Unfortunately, instead of focusing on the powerful statement she attempted to make, media outlets and social media users complained that Ledisi, who remade a version of ‘Precious Lord, Take My Hand’ for the movie “Selma,” was being snubbed by the Grammys for Beyoncé. Folks cried everything from the age-old light-skin versus dark-skin battle, to describing Beyoncé as a bully who stole Ledisi’s moment. Truth is, a person can’t takeaway what was never offered or given to someone else.

‘Precious Lord, Take My Hand’ was only added to the Grammy tribute of the “Selma” soundtrack because Beyoncé asked to create that moment. Ledisi was never supposed to be included on the show and despite what was posted on Twitter by Pastor Jamal Bryant, neither the song nor the soundtrack was nominated for a Grammy because it was released after the eligibility time had ended.

This entire dynamic is the quintessential example of the bandwagon mentality that social media fosters. While the internet offers more access to research and information than ever before, most people chose to remain ignorant of facts and perpetuate falsified and often fabricated foolishness versus doing a simple query and being informed.

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Singer Jason Woods

Despite it all, Beyoncé has released an eight-minute, black and white mini documentary chronicling the behind-the-scenes preparation for performing ‘Precious Lord, Take My Hand.’  She talks about what that song has meant to her family and the recent challenges Black men have endured in the United States.

You also meet members of her all-male chorus, made up of independent music artists and background singers like Jason Woods, Terrell Carter, Nelson Beato, Derrick Evans, Jason Morales, Edward Lawson, Kenyon Dixon, William Lattimore, Mabvuto Carpenter and others. Some of those gentlemen share their stories and the obstacles they have faced as Black men.

So instead of being acknowledged for her effort to celebrate the Black man, people gave energy to a frivolous discussion over who should have performed a classic Gospel hymn that written by Thomas Dorsey and made famous by Mahalia Jackson. (Singers like Aretha Franklin, Clara Ward, Vickie Winans, Elvis Presley, Mavis Staples and Al Green, among others have had success with their recorded versions as well)

As a Black man who appreciates being recognized for our struggles and our attempts to overcome them, let me thank you Mrs. Carter for your effort in attempting to make your moment all about us! I appreciate you! Others owe you an apology!

Beyoncé and the all-male chorus

VIDEO: Watch Beyoncé’s ‘Precious Lord, Take My Hand’ documentary below.

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