British television presenter and singer, Jamelia, has written a powerful open letter to Piers Morgan, saying that “as a black woman [she] is deeply offended” by his comments about Beyoncé’s new album.
Writing on her blog, she says:
“I absolutely understand why you didn’t get the Beyoncé album, *newsflash honey*…it wasn’t made for you…and I’m going to need you to be cool with that.”
Jamelia penned the letter following Piers Morgan’s Daily Mail op-ed about Beyoncé’s album, in which he refers to Beyoncé as a “born again black woman,” and as “playing the race card.”
On Sunday this week, Beyoncé dropped her latest album, Lemonade, on Tidal – and the music industry has been going wild over a piece of work that has been hailed as a rousing empowerment call to black women.
The album includes lines from Malcolm X’s 1962 speech to underline the complicated relationship between race, feminism and politics:
“The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.”
The album also highlights police brutality in the US, and the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Morgan admits to having huge respect for Beyoncé as an artist, but that his bug bear was that her new album apparently reveals a “shameless exploitation” of the mothers of two young black men: Mike Brown, who was killed by police in Missouri in 2014, and Trayvon Martin, who was killed in Florida in 2012.
Both women feature in Beyoncé’s visual album, holding photographs of their late sons. Morgan says Beyoncé did this as a way of “using grieving mothers to shift records.”
The Good Morning Britain presenter argues that, when he interviewed her five years ago, Beyoncé showed no signs of wanting to be a black political activist and that he “preferred the old Beyoncé” for that reason.
People responded angrily on social media to Morgan’s piece, saying:
Jamelia brilliantly picks apart Morgan’s criticisms in her blog piece which has since been published in The Independent, saying that his privileged, patriarchal background does not lend itself to empathising with Beyoncé s position, or that of other black men and women, saying:
“As a middle aged, British white man, you have no idea, I repeat, NO. IDEA. What it is like to be a Black Woman, and furthermore, the sacrificial, struggle-filled, tongue-biting, mask-wearing fight it is to become a successful one.
“Beyoncé’s album is not an attack on anyone, it is a celebration of the strength, endurance and potential within black woman-hood. The fact that you are mad/uncomfortable/agitated about it, is evidence enough of how blind you are to the realities of being one,” she writes.
Referring to Morgan’s comments that “the new Beyoncé wants to be seen as a black woman,” Jamelia explains that it took fame and her current status as an international superstar, for Beyoncé to be able to speak out:
“Beyoncé has always been black, she just did what millions of black people feel the need to do to gain success, she made her black palatable to you, which is why you’re such a big fan!
“This is what black people do, along with working twice as hard to get half as much, we dilute ourselves and our culture, so you accept us. I guess some of us have had enough.”
The presenter says that without having been handed the so-called “race-card” by society, people of colour would not need to put it on the table.
The Superstar singer finishes the letter by referring to the album’s title, saying:
“The lemons we have been handed, are those of the Black female, and we refuse to see them as less than, we will use them to make the most wonderful Lemonade.”
Read Jamelia's letter in its entirety here.
Images: Lemonade, Rex Features