If you've been following the release of Beyoncé's new album, BEYONCÉ, at all—and obviously you have because even if you've been ignoring the news there's no way you've missed people tweeting "surfboard" at all times of the day for the last five days—you may have come away with the resounding impression that Bey is flawless. Pulling off the release of a major album with 17 accompanying videos without anyone finding out? Setting iTunes sales records? Becoming the first woman to debut at No. 1 with her first five studio albums? Looking like this? She can do no wrong.
Which is true. But that's not exactly the point, as Beyoncé explains in "Imperfections," the second part of a multi-part mini-documentarycalled "Self-Titled" that goes behind the scenes of BEYONCÉ. In the first installment, released the day after her album, she discusses wanting to make a visual album that was an event, lamenting the lack of releases on the scale of, say, Thriller. "I feel like it's something that's lost in pop music," she says. "I wanted people to hear things differently and have a different first impression. Not just listen to a 10-second clip but actually see the whole vision of the album."
In part two, Bey goes into some of the themes she's exploring in the album, particularly on "***Flawless," and it's revelatory. She discusses losing the competition on "Star Search" that's sampled at the beginning of the song and explains how confronting imperfection is a central idea on the album:
The reality is: sometimes you lose. And you're never too good to lose. You're never too big to lose. You're never too smart to lose. It happens. And it happens when it needs to happen. And you have to embrace those things.
She also talks about finding Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's speech on feminism, which the song samples. "Everything she said is exactly how I feel," she said. She added:
My message behind this album was finding the beauty in imperfection. I have this image of this trophy and me accepting these awards and kind of training myself to be this champion. And at the end of the day when you go through all of these things, is it worth it? I mean, you get this trophy and you're like 'I basically starved. I have neglected all of the people that I loved. I conformed to what everybody else thinks I should be, and I have this trophy. What does that mean?' The trophy represents all of the sacrifices I made as a kid. All of the time that I lost being on the road, in the studios, as a child. And I just want to roll that shit up. I have a lot of awards, and I have a lot of these things that are amazing. And I worked my ass off. I worked harder than probably everybody that I know to get those things. But nothing feels like my child saying 'mommy.' Nothing feels like when I look my husband in the eyes. Nothing feels like when I'm respected, when I get on the stage and I see I'm changing peoples' lives. Those are the things that matter. And at this point in my life, that's what I'm striving for. Growth, love, happiness, fun. Enjoy your life. It's short. That's the message.
Both parts are great pieces. Check out part one above and part two below. Part three is coming soon.
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