Hello, my name is Jonathan Hailey and I have a confession to make. I am a grown ass man and a legit fan of Beyoncé Knowles. While this isn’t a big deal to you, it is to me because I never really wanted to admit that I enjoyed more than the pelvic thrusting and hip gyrations of the reigning queen of pop&B. You see, despite Beyoncé having made her debut in 1997 with Destiny’s Child, I didn’t fully accept myself as a Beyoncé fan until this past weekend at her headlining performance at this year’s Made In America Festival. Had it not been for a perfect stranger, I probably would still be in denial.
Since I went to the first Made In America Festival, I thought I knew what I was getting into. I had prepared myself to stand up all day in the heat and watch various artists from different genres for the better part of two days. However, with the announcement that Beyoncé would be performing, I instantly went into journalist mode. (Or at least that’s what I called it then.) I told my colleague if we were going to see Bey and get content for our sites, we had to compete with the BeyHive. When I referred to them as the BeyHive, I did a quick mental double take. I brushed the notion of me being a real fan off by chalking it up to me being a writer and always knowing stuff I care nothing about. That would’ve been the end of it if we hadn’t gotten in line for the show three hours early. (I reasoned that the BeyHive would be there so we had to compete.)
While we waited, I wound up talking to a few people in line. After about an hour and a half of waiting, we were starting to get restless and exhausted because it was so humid. However, I fought through the fatigue. Nothing was going to stand in between me and some good Beyoncé content. (Again, that’s how I reasoned with myself.) By the time the show was supposed to start, plenty of people passed out and fainted from the heat and dehydration. But I survived and my reward took the stage with a rousing rendition of “Run the World.” As the show went on I kept catching myself singing the words. I quickly got quiet just in case my boys heard me and had stuff to say. My friends are ruthless when it comes to stuff like that.
However, I couldn’t contain myself when she started to perform “Get Me Bodied.” All Beyoncé said was, “BAND!” and they responded by singing, “Mission one..” I just effortlessly finished the rest of the part while doing an ill diddy bop. Then Bey said, “BAND!” and they came back with, “Mission two…” There I was again finishing the line. It came to a point in the song where Beyoncé lost track of the words and I was filling them in like I wrote the damn song. As I was enjoying this back and forth Beyoncé and I were having, my boy looked at me astonished and said, “My dude, I know your ass ain’t out here singing all of the damn words to a Beyoncé concert!!!!!”
I snapped out of my Knowles-Carter euphoria and just said, “So I really am a fan, aren’t I?” He amusingly nodded and I still tried to rebuke the claim by saying that because I used to sing in a few choirs, I learned music by ear. So if I heard a song three or more times, I knew most of the words. He came back with, “Okay, you’re not a Beyoncé fan. You just know every song she sings, including ad-libs.” I admitted my fandom with a sheepish, “I guess I am a Beyoncé fan.”
Now that I’ve had a couple of days to sit with this recent personal revelation, I’ve come to accept that not every Beyoncé fan looks alike. I am a grown ass man who likes Beyoncé and I don’t talk like I’ve been studying John Leguizamo in “To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything Julie Newmar” like many assume. It’s alright to be a strong man and diddy bop to a song you like, be it by Beyoncé or some hardcore rapper talking about guns and drugs. Because at the end of the day, there are two types of music in the entire world–the kind I like and the kind I don’t. I happen to like Beyoncé and that’s fine. I’ve accepted it, but it’s a very hard pill to swallow when you are 6’1 260+ going off when “Party” comes on.
But this is just between you and me! Don’t tell anybody. Well, too late.
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