Beyoncé is pregnant with twins, and black Twitter is on fire. But, just days ago, many of us were out on the streets protesting Trump’s newly introduced immigration bans. At a glance, this seems like a bit of a juxtaposition – perhaps testament to how distractible our collective consciousness is in the face of what is, essentially, celebrity gossip. But is that okay?
In dark political times, the apparent vacuousness of celebrity culture, and the public’s dedication to it, easily comes under fire. Whilst the news of Beyoncé’s pregnancy is fresh, as many of us stand back, watching the rise of fascism in the US and feeling our lack of power, it perhaps is natural to question the news items that we choose to hone in on, or perhaps further, the things we even come to consider as news items at all. At a distance, it might seem ludicrous to even consider giving such personal news our time in such a climate. But upon closer inspection, more than anything, it feels understandable.
As our most trusted and reputable media sources spread news of parliament’s vote on Article 50, they will simultaneously dedicate digital and physical space to the news of the growth of the Carter family. And if the conception of Blue Ivy is anything to go by, it’s likely that the following months will be peppered with speculation and media intrusion into the family life of one of 2016’s most talked-about couples. Except this time round, if Trump continues along his current trajectory, it will be spliced alongside violating and seemingly dystopian developments in the restriction of the humanity of women and minorities, such as the global gag rule and the Muslim ban.
It’s worth considering that in a climate in which women and minorities feel as if they are clinging on for dear life and humanity, we are valid in indulging in the joyful moments of the lives of other black women, particularly our feminist icons. In such exhausting times, where as women of colour we are barraged with media characterised by violence and intrusion into the lives and bodies of our fellow sisters, this sliver of good news represents a welcome glimmer of hope for many.
To be politically engaged at all hours of the day is draining and a heavy burden to shoulder on the part of people of colour. To continually watch people who look like us brutalised and legislated against at the hands of the state is a difficult life to live. And in light of this, the news that we are blessed with members of a growing generation that will continue a legacy of feminism, black empowerment, and celebration of all the beauty of blackness is uplifting.
New recruits, if only two, are symbolic of the spirit of optimism and strength in black womanhood that felt as if it were within closer reach during much of the pre-Trump period. Embracing symbols of hope, perhaps particularly those slightly removed from party politics and rather in the realm of pop-culture, is a legitimate reaction.
So for today, and the coming days, retweet and rejoice all you want. To be stripped of the power to celebrate in dark times would be to truly strip us of all we have. Congratulations, Queen Bey.