Possible presidential candidate for 2016 Mike Huckabee has offered up some biting words in his new book God, Guns, Grits and Gravy about rapper Jay Z and his relationship with wife and musical icon, Beyoncé.
The Fox News commentator includes an offensive statement in which he calls Jay Z a “pimp” who exploits his wife.
The excerpt is in one breath a compliment to Bey and a tear down of her husband who has been hailed as rap royalty. But upon closer study, the compliment to Beyoncé is also a knock at the talented superstar. The excerpt was made public after U.S. News posted it on Thursday.
“Beyonce is incredibly talented –- gifted, in fact. She has an exceptional set of pipes and can actually sing. She is a terrific dancer –- without the explicit moves best left for the privacy of her bedroom. Jay Z is a very shrewd businessman, but I wonder: Does it occur to him that he is arguably crossing the line from husband to pimp by exploiting his wife as a sex object?”
The context of the given passage has to do with Huckabee’s thoughts after viewing a performance of the couple performing their hit “Drunk In Love” at the 2014 Grammy Awards. Huckabee also goes on to say that the song and performance was like watching “foreplay”.
View the Grammy performance by Jay Z and Bey of their hit track “Drunk In Love.”
The book that is due out on January 20, based on its Amazon description, is about “today’s ‘fractious’ American society,” and touches on “popular culture provocations from Jay Z and Beyoncé.”
Alyssa Rosenberg, contributor to the Washington Post, comments on the excerpt written by Huckabee and notes that it is completely unfounded.
“Jay-Z may be an influential partner and sometimes-collaborator for his wife. But her career has been defined in part by her transition away from being managed and packaged by a member of her own family. And as politics, Huckabee’s attack on the couple is awfully short-sighted.”
Beyoncé who, yes, was initially managed closely by her father in her early years and rise to stardom, has worked hard to make her career her own.
In addition to the comment being a slight to Bey and a knock at her ability to run her own show without the “exposure” of her husband, Rosenberg has it right in stating that there’s “an invocation of an old and ugly racial trope in suggesting that Jay-Z is ‘crossing the line from husband to pimp.'”
However, this isn’t the first time that Beyoncé’s image has been perceived as not being of her own making. In May 2014, well-known feminist Bell Hooks criticized Time Magazine’s cover photo of the the diva, saying she “probably had very little control over that cover, that image.”
When others argued that Bey does seem to have control of her own look, Bell Hooks replied, “Then you’re saying, from my deconstructive point of view, that she is colluding in the construction of herself as a slave.”
It is evident that all celebrities that are constantly under the scrutiny of the public do pass over some control of the image they portray to managers and publicists. It’s all a part of the territory, yet Huckabee’s words in regards to Jay Z’s role seem to take the whole argument one step too far and get into the realm of the uncalled-for, not to mention, the entirely inappropriate.
[Feature image via IB Times]