Commentary

Saunders: Time to climb down from the pole, Beyoncé

bsaunders@newsobserver.comJune 30, 2014 

There are two things that’ll let any man know he’s getting old, that he’s officially entered “Hey you kids, get off my lawn” land.

The first is opening a letter and finding an invitation from a local cemetery to buy a future resting place.

Hmmm. Does somebody know something I don’t?

The second thing that’ll let you know it’s time to hike your pants up to your sternum will be when you turn the television channel away from Beyoncé, not because she’s too alluring, but because she’s too unclothed. And boring.

Both of those things happened to me in the past 48 hours.

‘Booties Every Time’

The only reason I saw the outfit Beyoncé wore during a performance broadcast on the BET Music Awards on Sunday night was because a friend called during the show to lament how difficult it was to watch the ostensible awards celebration with his young daughter and her friend. They were visiting someone else’s home, so he couldn’t turn the channel as I did.

The BET network was founded by Bob Johnson as Black Entertainment Television, but it soon became, in the unassailable summarization of “Boondocks” creator Aaron McGruder, “Booties Every Time.”

Blanche DuBois said, “Deliberate cruelty is not forgivable. It is the one unforgivable thing.”

Not true, B.D. Hypocrisy is the one unforgivable thing, and it would be the height of that sin for me to ignore that I believe there is a place in this world for stripper poles and the women who choose to slide down them.

So great was my contribution to the education of callipygian women who were working their way through school – hey, that’s what they said – by dancing at the late, lamented Brothers III gentlemen’s club in Durham that I had an endowed chair there.

Most of the women I knew who did that were doing it out of necessity, or at least as a means to an end, hoping that one day they wouldn’t have to do it. No one should find fault with anyone who does what they feel they have to do to survive, as long as they aren’t breaking any laws.

All of y’all had better be glad I don’t have anything people are willing to pay money to watch me shake. I just wouldn’t do it where kids could see, though.

Not on prime time

Just because someone thinks there is a place for stripper poles – that place is called a strip club, your bedroom or that secret room off the den at your uncle’s house that he kept locked and warned you never to go near – doesn’t mean we need to see them on prime time television where impressionable young girls can be exposed to women exposing themselves for money and fame.

The friend who called to decry what Beyoncé was wearing called her “beautiful, sexy, talented, rich and the worst role model in the world for young black women.”

Young black women? How about “young any women”?

Beyoncé, depending upon one’s source, is 32 or 50. Perhaps when she began her career she felt it was necessary to flash skin and do the hoochie-coochie dance in order to separate herself from everyone else.

Since then, though, she’s made more money than she’ll ever be able to spend – Forbes magazine estimated she earned $53 million last year – sang at the White House, dined with the Obamas and become a mother. To a daughter.

Either of those achievements should be enough to convince her it’s time to come down off the pole, put on some clothes and do more than pay lip service to this women’s empowerment of which she often speaks.

Of course, it’s every mother’s and father’s responsibility to be role models to their children, not some half-nekkie celebrity. At least that celebrity could be a role model to her own kid, though, right?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I see some kids I need to yell at.

Hey you kids, GET OFF MY BEGONIAS!

Saunders: 919-836-2811 or bsaunders@newsobserver.com

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service