While it may seem that Beyoncé can do no wrong, 2017 has proven to be a year where nobody is spared from the wrath of accountability.
After the singer surprised us all with a collaboration with none other than Eminem, the Bey-Hive is trying to come to terms with the fact that their Queen B has decided to collaborate with none other than Eminem — arguably the most homophobic and misogynistic lyricist of our time.
Her featured vocals on Em’s latest single “Walk on Water” are great sonically, but are disappointingly wasted on what sounds like a redemption track for a man who continues to disrespect women and the LGBTQ community in his music — two fan bases that have helped propel Beyoncé’s storied career.
“I walk on water, but I ain’t no Jesus…I walk on water, but only when it freezes,” she belts out throughout a song where Eminem still tries to give us his tired troubled white man who’s fighting his inner demons while still terrorizing the rest of us troup.
Side-note: When is Eminem not going through it? And when is he not using his privilege as an angry straight white man to spew hatred and sexism as a response to his pain?
For nearly two decades, Eminem has taken advantage of hip-hop culture spit out cringe-worthy lyrics that not one of his fellow Black rappers could get away with. All while winning countless Grammys and selling millions of records.
The Detroit rapper has won awards for albums where he’s rapped about raping women and killing them. He’s been considered one of the best MCs of all time while still calling LGBTQ folks ‘faggots’–a word he’s used often and as recent at 2015.
Eminem is without a doubt one of the most non-progressive artists of modern time (I could care less that he decided a year later to denounce Trump on BET), and Beyoncé giving him her rare feature appearance feels like a slap in the face.
All shade aside, this was just terrible optics for her brand and impact. At a time when the industry is speaking out against sexual abuse, an artist whose lyrics often invokes feminism shouldn’t be collaborating with a man whose music antagonizes everything her career has been built to represent.
Beyoncé is a performer who has provided a safe space for women and LGBTQ people to be themselves unapologetically. Seeing her co-sign a rapper who has done everything in their lyrical power to demean and speak violence upon our lives felt like betrayal.
Even on a song that features the Queen of Feminism, Eminem can’t help but use the word “bitch.” That’s exactly why it won’t be getting any playback from me, and if you haven’t heard the song yet — don’t.
I hope this is the biggest flop of a record Beyoncé has ever been featured on to make the message loud and clear that her fans aren’t here for giving misogynists and homophobes second chances in the era of Trump.
Eminem isn’t getting a damn dime from me and if that costs me giving Beyoncé a thumbs down as a result, so be it.
Our self-respect should be more valuable than any allegiance to a musical genius. While our faves may think they walk on water, sometimes we must be the ones to actually remind them that they ain’t no Jesus.
Ernest Owens is the Editor of Philadelphia magazine’s G Philly. He has written for USA Today, NBC News, BET, HuffPost and several other major publications. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and ernestowens.com.