The sound of a fly or mosquito buzzing in one’s ear has got to be one of the most irritating sounds in the world. It’s usually benign (unless it’s a disease carrying mosquito) but that unrelenting buzzing right at the periphery of your ears, where you can see it and hear it but can’t catch it to hack it to death have turned rational people into temporary fly-swatter holding lunatic chasing a microscopic insect around the room where you won’t quit until it’s squished to death.
There is one mosquito that just won’t die, who just keeps giving his unsolicited advice and opinions on matters he doesn’t understand and don’t relate to him. No, I am not talking about Donald Trump. I am talking about Piers Morgan. The former CNN host who succeeded Larry King Tonight, who was sacked due to low ratings. Apparently, he went back to the UK and is the host of some local Good Morning America type of breakfast show. Once a week he also imparts his sage opinion on the UK’s number one dirt rag of a tabloid paper masquerading itself as a proper newspaper – The Daily Mail. It’s a mouthpiece for their Prime Minister David Cameron and like US conservative tabloid outlets, they spend a considerable amount of time telling its readers that people are on welfare because they are lazy, they are scum, they breed and have children they can’t afford, they breed only to get welfare, they can’t afford food is not because of the austerity welfare cuts but because they buy cigarettes and beer instead and the list goes on. They also incite Islamophobia, they call anyone who doesn’t subscribe to the patriotic values of the British Empire unpatriotic and a traitor or a terrorist (Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn is their favorite target). They write pointless fawning articles about Kate Middleton and what she feeds George and Charlotte and where they get their clothes. In the same publication, they also see themselves as qualified enough to critique America and its policies – there’s lots to critique there but they are hardly qualified to do it, it’s like the teapot calling the kettle black. They won’t drop the ‘non-issue’ of why Obama returned the bust of Winston Churchill and the reason is because Obama is “Kenyan” and is angry about the Mau-Mau uprisings (which by the way, the International Court found Britain guilty and ordered them to pay restitution). The whole publication is Fox News in print on steroids.
So, Beyonce dropped another album over the weekend called ‘Lemonade’. I haven’t seen it, haven’t listened to it, but it’ a visual album and she alludes to the rumors surrounding her personal life, namely the cheating allegations of her husband Jay Z. People are trying to work out who exactly is the “Becky, with the good hair” she’s talking about. She talks about racism in America, police brutality and with the permission of Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin’s family, showed images of the slain children and their mother as a testament of the brutal police state in America. Two months ago, right before her Super Bowl Halftime show, she released a new song call ‘Formation’ which talks about black power and references to the black nationalist group The Black Panthers. She performed the song at the Super Bowl Halftime show and she and her dancers were outfitted in Black Panther inspired costumes. Apparently, this bothers Piers Morgan and he felt the need to devote column inches to it. That Beyonce dared to express authentic ‘black’ culture – not the white washed, mainstream palatable version of black culture, but the nationalist militant black culture offended Piers Morgan on the other side of the pond.
This white middle-aged, upper-class British male, who knows nothing about black people or black history in America or even in his own country (the Afro-Caribbean descent in the UK experience the same type of racism, police brutality and racial profiling as the black people do here) deemed himself qualified to critique Beyonce and her album. But he had his reasons for raising objections, specifically to her Super Bowl halftime ‘Formation’ performance:
The Black Panthers, set up as a group who would protect black Americans from police brutality, became infamous for their own brutality, especially against police, and widespread criminal and murderous membership within their ranks.
Beyonce’s tribute to them was branded ‘disgraceful and outrageous’ by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, incensed that she had ‘used the platform of the Superbowl to attack the police.
Really? This is the ‘real’ history of The Black Panthers? Do a quick google search and you will find out that the Black Panthers were infiltrated by the FBI and shut down. Their activities criminalized because the government is afraid of black power. And he quotes Guiliani – that washed out politician whose glory days are long gone is trying to stay relevant. Giuliani defends murderous police officers as “doing their jobs”.
For the album Lemonade itself, he didn’t like the “political” images of Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which Beyonce portrayed in her videos, and showing the pictures of mothers of slain children by the police is “shameless exploitation” a ploy used to sell albums contends Morgan. Beyonce can sell albums any which way, she can stand there and sing in a potato sack and sell albums, but Morgan goes one step further, he uses the words of an interview he did with her over 5 years ago to convict her:
My mind went back to my CNN interview with Beyoncé and the moment when we discussed her live performance at President Barack Obama’s first inauguration ball in 2008.
‘Did you experience racism as you grew up?’ I asked.
‘A bit, but I feel like with my career I’ve now broken barriers. I don’t think people think about my race. I think they look at me as an entertainer and a musician and I’m very happy about that because that’s how I look at people. It’s not about color and race, and I’m happy that’s changing.’
There! She said it, “it’s not about color and race”, it’s how people look at her as an “entertainer”, therefore from there on out Beyonce is not allowed to make any political reference or controversial content because in 2008, right after she performed at the Obama Inauguration, she talked about herself in the capacity of an “entertainer”. For the rest of her career, she’s only to manifest herself as an entertainer, a black woman who doesn’t threaten or offend the status quo, who doesn’t tell the uncomfortable truth about race relations in America or elsewhere in the world. She’s to get up on stage, put on a cute outfit and dance and sing her butt off. Anything she does that is out of the boundaries of harmless entertainment is considered “political” and self-serving to sell albums.
Another UK entertainer Jamelia wrote a perfect response to Piers Morgan:
You are a middle-aged, British white man. You have no idea – I repeat, NO. IDEA. – what it is like to be a black woman. And furthermore, the sacrificial, struggle-filled, tongue-biting, mask-wearing fight it is to become a successful one.
Let me break this down for you.
Beyoncé’s album is not an attack on anyone. It is a celebration of the strength, endurance and potential within black womanhood. The fact that you are mad/uncomfortable/agitated about it is evidence enough of how blind you are to the realities of being one.
There was no one more happy than me when he got sacked from CNN and went back to the UK. I hated his jokes, he wasn’t funny, he’s a phony especially when brown nosing important guests, unpleasant to listen to and totally clueless about American politics despite living here for years and having “loads” of American friends. He sees the world only from his white, male privileged vantage, totally unable to validate a different view. When a black writer Toure, respectfully, told Piers Morgan on live TV that he has no clue what it’s like to be black in America (they were discussing Trayvon Martin murder), therefore he should withhold his harsher judgements and opinions, Morgan called him a “tedious little twerp”. His unrepentant support for Donald Trump (another favorite subject of his on his odious column) is telling of his deficient morals and character, all based on his own personal character attestation of Trump. Because, many years ago, they worked on Celebrity Apprentice together (which Morgan won) and they remained great friends since. Well, let’s nominate Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize then.
While a majority of Piers Morgan’s drivel is ignored, this one about Beyonce isn’t and it’s getting a lot blowback from every corner and that is good and bad. Good that he got called out and isn’t getting away with being an elitist, racist and sexist prig, but bad that his odious column is being read and talked about thereby giving him more attention than he deserves. Like a mosquito, they are hard to put down, even from the other side of the Atlantic.