How Beyoncé’s Life and Career Are Met with Criticism | Emilie Rodriguez

Article is a look into Beyoncé’s Pregnancy, The Grammy’s, Lemonade, and Religion

Maternity Photos… OH MY!

   Beyoncé recently shared with the public that she is pregnant with twins by posting a maternity photo of herself on Instagram Beyoncé is seen in the picture on her knees and holding her belly, surrounded by a bed of flowers. Her veil left the impression that she was trying to give off a ‘Virgin Mary’ look. Below is her instagram announcement:

“We would like to share our love and happiness. We have been blessed two times over. We are incredibly grateful that our family will be growing by two, and we thank you for your  well wishes. – The Carters” 

     The internet went wild and so did a lot of my friends! The day she released the pictures, I remember my best friend called me and asked me if I had heard the news yet. Like others I was definitely stoked forBeyoncé. She is great at keeping things very private until she chooses to share! Queen B was definitely the topic of discussion for the next couple of days.


Another one of Beyoncé’s maternity photos


Beyoncé’s Maternity Photo’s and Critics

     Beyoncé’s good news, however, was met with criticism. R.A. Farley, an author from The Refinery29 , responded to the photo’s saying,

“This excitement is all well and good. But it seems that no one, aside from a few brave souls on social media, wants to admit the truth: The pictures are tacky.”

     Later in the article she continues her critique of Beyoncé by criticizing Beyoncé for moving beyond her generally “minimalist” approach to fame.


Beyoncé’s Grammy Performance

     It is common to expect nothing but the best from Beyoncé when she puts on a show. The 2017 Grammy Awards Show was just that (in my opinion) the best. Beyoncé’s performance that included a hologram of Queen B. was considered a “magical” performance, and yet, some critics disagreed and expressed negative criticism for her performance.

     Piers Morgan tweeted ,” Didn’t really ‘feel’ that Beyonce [sic]  performance. [It] Seemed heavier on the narcissism than the music. #GRAMMYs” and, “Awful acceptance speech too. Looked bored as hell reading it. Come on Beyonce [sic] , you’re better than this.”

     I don’t think that folks, especially Piers Morgan, fully understood the religious symbolism behind Beyoncé’s performance though. The religion I am referring to is Santeria. Bey’s Grammy performance is not the first time folks have noticed her Santerian depiction of Oshun (a Santerian goddess), and it’s important to understand what messages she’s conveying about the religion.  


Santeria: Misconceptions and Truth

    image Santeria is a religion with spiritual practices that was started by Yoruban people from West Africa including: Nigeria and Benin. The Yoruba people were a group of many tribes with similar but distinct religious practices. Santerians worship orishas and saints.

Orishas and Historical Context

Before the slave trade, Yoruba lands had multiple major cities and were used as centers of worship for different Orishas. When slaves began “intermixing” and were forced to settle outside of their homelands, worshipping of Orishas got mixed up as well. This is when the practice of worshipping multiple Orishas became “standard” in the Santeria religion. There are sixteen Orishas. It is important to know that Santeria is not voodoo or black magic as the media likes to portray it. A Santeria worshipper said

“First, there are a lot of misconceptions about African-based religions in general.  If you go by what you see on television, you’d think practitioners of Voodoo and Santería are devil worshipers who practice black magic.  They stick pins in voodoo dolls and cast evil spells that kill their enemies.”

Some Orishas & Descriptions Provided by Santeria Church of the Orishas


  • the first and most important Orisha in Santería. He is the owner of the crossroads, the witness of fate and acts as the connecting agent in this world. Elegguá is often perceived as a trickster or impish child who tests our integrity.


  •  Ogún is a mighty warrior, the divine blacksmith who crafts tools and weapons and the hardest working Orisha of them all. Ogún is the father of technology, the cutting edge of the knife and the power of metal. Ogún is often perceived as a powerful muscular man wearing a skirt made of palm fiber and he carries a machete.



  •  Description: Oshún is the Orisha of sweetness, love and beauty. She is the embodiment of feminine grace, and is a flirtatious coquette.  She is a generous and loving mother, but she can also quickly turn bitter if she is wronged. Once she is soured, she is unforgiving and unbending. Oshún can accomplish miracles untold. She is the youngest of the orishas and is depicted as a flirtatious, mixed-race woman dressed in yellow, gazing in a mirror.

Speculation of Beyoncé Depicting Oshun: The Receipts

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     Above is one of Beyoncé’s maternity pictures and below is an animation of Oshun. In the picture above Beyoncé is being compared to the Orisha “Oshun”. Oshun is the goddess of love, fertility, beauty, and prosperity. Oshun also gave birth to twins, so it is fitting that Beyoncé is honoring the goddess with her maternity pictures.

Beyoncé’s Depiction of Oshun in Lemonade: (Similarities in Personality Traits)

    beyonce-hold-up-demo-compressed Beyoncé dressed in a yellow dress as she is dancing in the visual for “Hold Up.” In the song Beyoncé tells a narrative of experiencing infidelity. The Goddess Oshun is also known for experiencing hard times in her love life. At the beginning of the visual Beyoncé´ talks about wearing all white, trying to change, fasting for sixty days, and talks about being baptized in a river. Oshun’s main element is the river as she is the Goddess of the river.

As a disclaimer,I am not saying I am an expert on Santeria, but my best friend’s family does practice Santeria. I have witnessed both of her parents go through the the “crowning” process. During the process both of her parents attempted to cleanse themselves to become ‘pure’ once again. They wore all white for a year, had no sex, alcohol, and were told to avoid specific food and behaviors during that year.

Depiction of Post Infidelity Reactions

     As mentioned above Oshun is also known for having a difficult time in her love life. Though rumors spread about her being cheated on by her long time husband Jay-Z this narrative is yet to be proven. Regardless of whether it is fact or fictionBeyoncé plays the part of a Woman who has been betrayed by her lover, and calls herself “crazy.” Oshun is also known for falling head over heels for lovers who do not necessarily treat her as she should be treated.

Below is a picture depicting Oshun (left) who is dressed similarly to how Beyoncé  (right) is dressed in the Lemonade video.


Santeria or Appropriation: The Debate

     My motives for writing this post was not to prove that Beyoncé is Santerian. Regardless of my hunch, and other folks findings I still don’t know if  Beyoncé practices Santeria because she keeps her personal life very private. Some folks feel like Beyoncé is appropriating the African religion. My reason for writing this post was to invite others to ask questions before assuming a certain religion is just “black magic” or “voodoo.” The mainstream media and “white man’s” version of history has influenced folks to believe spiritual practices apart of the African diaspora are dark and demonic like. This is not true though. The African Diaspora refers to refers to the communities throughout the world that have resulted by descent from the movement in historic times of peoples from Africa, predominantly to the Americas and among other areas around the globe.”

    Here is a response from Maximiliano Goiz who’s post on Facebook went viral when he talked aboutBeyoncé depicting Oshun. He gives more context on why he thinksBeyoncé is emulating Oshun’s aesthetic.



     Regardless of how you feel about Beyoncé  I encourage you to ask questions about the ideologies we are quick to believe and whose truths we are buying into!


Emilie Rodriguez


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