WBEZ | Destiny's Child http://www.wbez.org/tags/destinys-child Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Why Kelly Rowland's 'Dirty Laundry' is one of the most important songs of 2013 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-05/why-kelly-rowlands-dirty-laundry-one-most-important-songs-2013-107213 <p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/cropbrit.jpg" title="(AP/Kin Cheung)" /></div><p>I am thinking about my friends and acquaintances in high school, how they arrived to class with bruises on their arms.</p><p>&quot;What happened?&quot; we used to ask.&nbsp;</p><p>And then they whispered something about their boyfriends, a volatile argument, and how it was their &quot;fault.&quot; They would brush questions aside, blaming themselves for the violence in their relationship. My friends were across the racial and ethnic spectrum, but their situations were eerily similar.</p><p>On Wednesday, former Destiny&#39;s Child member and solo artist Kelly Rowland released &quot;Dirty Laundry,&quot; a highly emotional, personal, and startlingly blunt song about her career and personal life. Production-wise, &quot;Dirty Laundry&quot; is as clear and straightforward as the lyrics. Structured with steady, yet ominous piano chords and a static drumbeat, &quot;Dirty Laundry&quot; plays like some of the best confessional r&amp;b songs. Rowland sings:</p><blockquote><p>Started to call them people on him/I was battered/He hit the window like it was me/Until it shattered/He pulled me out and said &#39;Don&#39;t nobody love you but me/Not your mama not your daddy and especially not B&#39;</p></blockquote><p>In the song, Rowland talks about her feelings in the industry and a violent relationship with an ex, but her situation is applicable and relevant to the circumstances of her listeners. According to a study from the U.S. Department of Justice in a compilation of statistics from the <a href="http://www.americanbar.org/groups/domestic_violence/resources/statistics.html#african_americans" target="_blank">American Bar Association&#39;s Commission of Domestic Violence</a>, &quot;Black females experienced intimate partner violence at a rate 35% higher than that of white females, and about 22 times the rate of women of other races.&quot; As a singer in the r&amp;b genre with audiences largely both black and female, Rowland&#39;s release can act as a call for action and a means of shedding light on an issue that still receives little attention.</p><p>The statistics for domestic violence are sobering. We assume that because we are not actively talking about it all the time that it is not there. We assume that if it is not in front of us everyday that it can&#39;t possibly exist. And yet, the numbers do not lie. The number one killer of African-American women ages 15 to 34 is homicide at the hands of a current or former partner, says the ABA. As well, only 17% of African-American sexual assault survivors report their assault to the police. The importance of this song and Rowland&rsquo;s experiences can&rsquo;t be reiterated enough. Later in the song (and years after her relationship ended), she sings:</p><blockquote><p>I got my shit down pat/Think I had it good/And they don&#39;t know how bad/Fooled everybody/Except myself/Soaking in this hurt/Bathing in the dirt</p></blockquote><p>Like many of her listeners, Rowland kept her experiences a secret. Outside she exuded strength and charisma, but inside she kept a secret. She was shamed herself, never being able to reveal her experiences to the public.</p><p>The question of how much a public figure owes the public is debatable. I do not believe it was Rowland&rsquo;s responsibility to reveal this part of her life. And as the lyrics of the song indicate (Phone call from my sister; &#39;What&#39;s the matter?&#39;/She said, &#39;Oh no, baby, you gotta leave&#39;) family and friends like Beyonce knew. But Rowland&rsquo;s experience began nearly a decade ago. The courage to speak out can be difficult for many. If only one woman listens to Rowland&#39;s work and sees in it the courage to speak out that is one life potentially saved.</p><p>Art can and should mean different things to different people. As a whole however, art in and of itself is something that we consume constantly and voraciously. Music is the most accessible form of art. We seek in it something personal and true. It is no surprise that a variety of different genres exist to speak to both our personal tastes and our desire to clarify and reiterate life&#39;s questions through notes, chords, or lyrics. In &quot;Dirty Laundry,&quot; Rowland reveals her truth. That it is shocking to the public reflects our unwillingness to address an insidious facet of our culture.</p><p><em>Britt Julious blogs about culture in and outside of Chicago. Follow Britt&#39;s essays for&nbsp;<a href="http://wbez.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">WBEZ&#39;s Tumblr</a>&nbsp;or on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/britticisms" target="_blank">@britticisms</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 16 May 2013 13:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-05/why-kelly-rowlands-dirty-laundry-one-most-important-songs-2013-107213 The enigma of Beyoncé http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-02/enigma-beyonc%C3%A9-105318 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Beyonce.jpg" title="Beyoncé wows the crowd during Sunday's Super Bowl XLVII halftime show. (Getty Images)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">Much to the befuddlement of my sports-loving Texas family, football has never been my thing. I&#39;d much rather watch feminist debates and class warfare on <a href="http://womensissues.about.com/od/television/a/Fashion-Passion-Class-Warfare-And-Feminism-Why-We-Love-Downton-Abbey.htm">Downton Abbey</a> than a bunch of dudes running around and tackling each other for reasons I do not care to understand.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">And yet, I was compelled to tune in to this year&#39;s Super Bowl halftime show. Why? Football may be <a href="http://www.npr.org/2013/01/16/169441397/love-of-football-may-kick-america-down-the-path-of-ruination">America&#39;s sport</a>, but Beyoncé is a national treasure.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Last night&#39;s performance was preceded by so much fanfare (Exhibit A: Gawker-issued&nbsp;<a href="http://gawker.com/5981034">Beyngo</a> cards) that I wondered if the actual show could possibly live up to the <a href="http://www.vibevixen.com/2013/02/gallery-of-beyonce-preparation-for-superbowl/">#BeyonceBowl</a> hype. Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson and the Sandy Hook Elementary School choir began the evening on a high note, offering poignantly&nbsp;<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/03/alicia-keys-national-anthem_n_2612496.html">soulful renditions</a> of The Star-Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful. Still, Beyoncé&#39;s halftime extravaganza was the much-anticipated main event, and despite my jittery fears to the contrary, she <a href="http://rapfix.mtv.com/2013/02/03/beyonce-turns-super-bowl-halftime-show-into-beyonce-bowl/">did not disappoint</a>.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p>Fresh off the controversy of&nbsp;<a href="http://gawker.com/5978019/beyonce-lip+synched-the-star+spangled-banner-at-the-inauguration?popular=true">lip-syncing</a>&nbsp;the national anthem at President Obama&#39;s inaugaration, Beyoncé made an obvious effort to display her lovely live vocals on the Super Bowl stage. She panted audibly through her medley of hits (&quot;Love on Top,&quot; &quot;Crazy in Love,&quot;and &quot;Baby Boy&quot;), and turned her mic to the crowd whenever she ran out of breath. Did she always sound flawless? No, but she did manage to belt out some stellar riffs in between booty shakes. And flanked by an army of identically leather-clad dancers, she looked stunning per usual.&nbsp;</p><p>Then, as many <a href="http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1701263/beyonce-super-bowl-halftime-performance-predictions.jhtml">sources</a> had predicted, <a href="http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1700011/destinys-child-beyonce-super-bowl-halftime-show.jhtml">Destiny&#39;s Child</a> groupmates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams joined Beyoncé onstage for nostalgic three-part harmonies of &quot;Bootylicious,&quot; &quot;Bills Bills Bills,&quot; and &quot;Independent Women.&quot; They also sang and danced as her &quot;Single Ladies&quot; before quickly rushing aside, allowing Bey to close the show front and center with her hit power-ballad &quot;Halo.&quot; &nbsp;</p><p>The performance was an explosive success, aided even more so by a subsequent&nbsp;<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/03/super-bowl-power-outage-superdome-ravens-49ers_n_2612757.html">power outage</a>&nbsp;that left the stadium in darkness for an additonal 34 minutes. This triumph bodes well for Beyoncé&#39;s continued rise in 2013, drumming up even more positive publicity for the February 16 premiere of her HBO documentary <a href="http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1701203/beyonce-hbo-documentary.jhtml"><em>Life Is But A Dream</em> </a>and the January 29 release of <em><a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/music-arts/destiny-child-announces-new-music-article-1.1237461">Love Games</a></em>, her first Destiny&#39;s Child album in eight years.&nbsp;</p><p>But while Beyoncé&#39;s music has inspired legions of devoted fans, her offstage persona has been the subject of increased scandal and speculation. At the zenith of her fame, she has been accused of<a href="http://www.eonline.com/news/268757/beyonc-baby-hoax-what-s-the-deal-with-deflating-bump"> faking her pregnancy</a> with daughter Blue Ivy, worshipping Satan as a member of the <a href="http://gawker.com/5981088">Illuminati</a>&nbsp;alongside husband Jay-Z and being a straight-up&nbsp;<a href="http://gawker.com/5974853/gq-interview-confirms-that-beyonce-is-fucking-crazy-and-exactly-as-you-imagine-her">crazy person</a>&nbsp;in general. Perhaps people find it too hard to believe that one woman could embody such pristine vocal and physical perfection without the help of the devil and a good surrogate.&nbsp;</p><p>Maybe her new documentary, which includes deeply personal&nbsp;video diaries of her most <a href="http://www.wetpaint.com/network/video/beyonc-talks-pregnancy-in-hbo-documentary-sneak-peek-video">vulnerable moments</a>&nbsp;behind-the-scenes, will help to dispel at least some of the rumors surrounding her mysterious inner life. But will her meticulous self-direction still prevent fans from seeing the <em>real</em> Beyoncé, whoever that is?&nbsp;</p><p>Admittedly, <a href="http://www.gq.com/women/photos/201301/beyonce-cover-story-interview-gq-february-2013">this cover story</a>&nbsp;for GQ magazine&#39;s February issue did not&nbsp;do her any favors in the egomania department. But really, who cares if she&#39;s a diva? In my opinion, a 16-time <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_awards_and_nominations_received_by_Beyoncé_Knowles">Grammy Award winner</a> and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beyoncé_Knowles">international superstar</a>&nbsp;has earned the right to be a little full of herself. Beyoncé is an incredibly talented performer (with or without a backing track) and she owns it.</p><p>Oh, and she also just announced <a href="http://pitchfork.com/news/49407-beyonce-announces-the-mrs-carter-show-tour/">The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour</a>, coming to Chicago&#39;s United Center on July 17.&nbsp;Long live Queen Bey!</p><p><em><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/iniGJdFmy44" width="620"></iframe></em></p><p><em>Follow Leah on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/leahkpickett">@leahkpickett.</a></em></p></p> Mon, 04 Feb 2013 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-02/enigma-beyonc%C3%A9-105318