Beyonce, Democracy and the Media we deserve

Somehow, Beyonce’s latest music video release — a sloppy mix of bathroom selfies and dancing-on-a-hotel-balcony-in-a-pantie shots called “7/11”– got me thinking about democracy. The music video and its sloppiness , the crowd-pleasing lows of it, the commonness of it, was not simply a video to me. It was a law in practice that I had only begun to recognize. A law whose name I could not easily find on the first page of google results, so I’ll summarize it as: “at any given moment, we get the Beyonce we deserve.”

When we celebrated excellence and talent and hard work, we got excellent, talented, hard-working Beyonce. When we celebrated mediocrity we got 7/11.


The constant hype we generated around “lesser” stars, the think-pieces on Iggy Azealia and Kim Kardashian, the “ironic” enjoyment of mumbling rappers like Yung Thug, the simple entertainment of that which required less talent, is what lead to us receiving this underwear-clad, lazy-dancing, dirty-bathroom Beyonce. Because we deserved it.

We voted with our views. By subscribing to Youtube stars who danced in their bedrooms, by hyping up musicians who produced nothing original and by giving attention to attention-seekers, we continued our newly-adopted tradition of rewarding mediocrity. 

So Beyonce gave it to us – mediocrity.

Beyonce is only an obvious analogy of what has been going on with democracy for the past few decades. In the age of glamorized politics, scandalized political campaigns and dramatization of actual change, we have witnessed democracy, like Beyonce, fall from being a pillar of human excellence to being a populist contest where the person making the least effort wins.

We get corrupt politicians with big smiles, we get indefensible public policies with little coverage, we get failed public projects with glamorous opening ceremonies. Essentially, we get the democracy that we deserve.

Human beings are hardwired to appreciate talent, hard-work and dexterity. But we are also hard-wired to create and support systems that give us what we want.

We’re doing the same with media now. We allow click-bait-headline-heavy news outlets to gain popularity over news sources that give cold, hard, boring facts. Our obsession with being entertained right now has created a world where all one needs to win public approval is throw some gold paint over a thing and post a five-second video of it.

We get poorly-edited pieces in formerly respectable newspapers, we get bottomless click-holes on popular news websites, we get narrow-minded, whiny obsession with things that are only significant to an insignificant portion of the world population. In short, we get 7/11 Media.

In the age of the internet and measuring popularity by how many people give something attention rather than how many actually enjoy it, we find ourselves in a position where Beyonces, Democracies and Media give us what they think we deserve – mediocrity.

Its up to us to realize that.

Siyanda is a 21YO writer. For more on this story, contact her: Otherwise, follow her on Twitter @siyandawrites 

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9 thoughts on “Beyonce, Democracy and the Media we deserve

  1. Who gets the ‘Time Person of the Year’ title? Beyonce vs Hilary Clinton vs Kim Kardashian vs Malala Yousafzai. What exactly are we celebrating, acknowledging and most importantly accepting here? Well written blog post Siyanda.

  2. Liked it Siyanda!! Problem is, I remember hearing this said about twenty five years ago. Who was it…hmmm…oh yes, it was me! Do you not think you’re just going through an awakening of your own? That you’ve outgrown the pile of pop/papperazzi/gliterrati bullshit that you thought was so cool when you were younger? And any amount of time studying democracy and politicians, especially ours, is bound to disillusion you. Welcome to being a cynic?

  3. I think people are so hell bent on what Beyonce should be that they forget that she can produce something fun and free and pointless. It’s her artistic right to do so. I feel like the video captures what she was going for, a carefree happy, real human being who is enjoying her life with her friends. I know a lot of girls who like the video for that reason – it’s a pregame song. Not everything she does needs to be a production and I appreciate that’s she knows that. The other unfair thing is that everyone has an opinion on what she must do. I love her because not only for her work ethic and talent but her dynamism and evolution as a recording artist and entertainer. The article is severely unjustified and reaching way above scope by using her as a metaphor. Beyoncé has NEVER and will never be mediocre.

    1. @Silly
      Exactly. She gave us everything we could ask for on the original Beyoncé album, which came out only a year ago. Now, she gives us something different, and all of a sudden she’s mediocre?

    2. Beyoncé was not the point of the article. It was a critique of democracy in an unexpected, tongue in cheek way.
      Beyoncé fans tho.

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