How Beyonc Rewrote the Rules of Celebrity, Music and Power
In October 2008, Beyoncé released the single and video for “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).” Its humongous hook and Bey’s staccato delivery laid the drumbeat for a jubilant, rallying message of female agency. The song shot straight to No 1, is widely considered to be one of the best tracks of the new millennium, and, a decade later, remains an indelible, unshakable part of pop culture. And the accompanying black-and-white music video? As Kanye West notoriously proclaimed, “Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time!”Yet for all the superlatives that can and should be showered on the song, its popularity, and Beyoncé’s success with it—a peak of any other artist’s career—it was all just the beginning. The next 10 years would find the pop supernova ascending to an entirely new level of artistry and celebrity, a reign at the top of pop music that would challenge society’s perceptions of race, gender, and power. She would set records and log a series of “firsts” for black female enter…
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