In a recent, no holds barred interview, Annie Lennox called out Beyonce for her fake feminism and criticized the modern music industry’s portrayal of women.
“Listen, twerking is not feminism. It’s not – it’s not liberating, it’s not empowering. It’s a sexual thing that you’re doing on a stage; it doesn’t empower you,” said Lennox, following up on comments that she had made earlier concerning Beyonce’s fake feminism. Annie Lennox gave the interview to NPR as she was promoting her new album, Nostalgia.
Annie Lennox also criticized the music industry in general, and specifically, Beyonce’s over-sexualized performances and songs. Lennox said that as a woman and a mother she finds it “disturbing” and “exploitative.” Annie Lennox is a legend in the music industry- with at least four Grammy Awards and over 80 million albums sold to her credit, Lennox is certainly in a unique position to criticize Beyonce and her twerking counterparts, and like many others, Annie Lennox made it clear that she is not at all happy about the way the word “feminism” is being thrown around with little respect or substance.
Annie Lennox elaborated on this further in another interview when she commented at some length on how she saw Beyonce as “less than women like Eve Ensler,” a figure who better represents true empowerment for women.
Lennox continues to point out one of the problems with Beyonce’s attempts to label herself as a feminist. Beyonce’s performance using the word feminist sends the message that “twerking is synonymous with feminism. “I do not agree. It’s not empowerment from my perspective. It’s demeaning. There’s nothing wrong with sexuality. Sexuality is a fantastic thing, but in performance when people have a very young audience, it’s totally inappropriate.” The legendary Lennox, in all of her glorious Scottish candor, also made it clear that she is happy and “not worried about what people think.”
Annie Lennox is not the only one to call Beyonce out for her fake feminism. Many critics have echoed how Lennox feels. Beyonce, her music and her behavior has been described by Bell Hooks as “anti-feminist — that is a terrorist, especially in terms of the impact on young girls.” Other critics have pointed out that her self-labeled feminism is more about trying to sell a brand than being sincere. As one reviewer wrote, “her version of empowerment, such as it is, is based on a sort of inherent conservatism, rooted not in compassion and generosity, but instead in materialism, braggadocio, and inescapable narcissism.”
The Blog Real Colored Girls spoke as boldly as Annie Lennox in criticizing the fake feminism that Beyonce and others in the industry have been trying to sell, saying that it “does not replace nor is it even in the realm of the critical work of black women writers and artists across the discursive spectrum.” Critics and writers everywhere label her a “Fauxminist,” and her less than inspiring relationship with husband Jay-Z sparked outrage after he joined her on stage during her so called “feminist” performance with lyrics glorifying one of the most famous relationships of domestic violence in the industry. Though Annie Lennox is certainly not the first to call out Beyonce’s fake feminism or to criticize the industry’s treatment and representation of women, she is, perhaps, one of the most powerful voices to do so.
No one can accuse Annie Lennox of being jealous or intimidated by Beyonce’s success since Annie Lennox herself has often been heralded as the standard for strong, powerful women in the music industry, and she got there without twerking, selling out or trying to be anything but who she is. To quote Milo Yiannopoulos, unlike “‘Queen Bey’ may want to speak but she has nothing compelling to say,” there is no doubt that Annie Lennox is never afraid to speak her mind with depth and conviction. Annie Lennox has reached one of those rare, amazing places in her career where she can speak from her own sincere beliefs without worrying about an “image”. So when one of the legends in the field speaks, there are many young and aspiring artists and girls who listen because if there is one thing that Annie Lennox has mastered in her decades long career, it is refusing to bow down to the media or be anything but the powerhouse that is Annie Lennox, and that is truly inspiring.