Good Or Shit: How Beyonce Healed The World

27 June 2012 | 4:08 pm | Liz Galinovic

Australia is not perfect, we have many race issues, but we can give ourselves a little pat on the back for being too lazy to lynch.

I recently attended a lovely dinner party at the home of some people who come from a part of the world where it is very common for white people to hate black people and vice versa. To be clear, my hosts were white and while they didn't introduce themselves as “Joe and Jane who hate black people” they did manage to drop a few prejudicial and outright racist remarks about “black and brown” people throughout the evening. It was pretty clear how they felt, and just as clear that I do not share their views. But nor do I pretend to have the faintest idea of what it must be like to grow up in a place with such volatile race relations. Australia is not perfect, we have many race issues, but we can give ourselves a little pat on the back for being too lazy to lynch.

Towards the end of the evening as we all sat around the dining table, a Beyonce concert came on the television. It was 2011's Live At Roseland and with all that retrospective footage anyone would have assumed that Beyonce was dead. Except she wasn't, she was right there on stage paying tribute to herself.

Oh Beyonce, she really is an egomaniac. Her final song – I Was Here – an epic, emotive, self-empower-ballad brought everyone to their knees weeping over the life of this talented superstar. I'm surprised she wasn't crying herself, she was practically singing her own eulogy. But up until this seriously eye-roll inducing moment – the concert had been mesmerising. An all-girl band, all the Destiny's Child hits followed by all the other hits, dance routines that made my hips turn away from themselves with disappointment and disgust (“you're pathetic” they said to each other), vocals that made heaven's angels cry, and let's be straight - she is effing beautiful.

“Eiyerrr,” was the sound one of my host's made, a mixture of dismissal and disgust. “She is black and brown, black and brown,” he said, which was followed by snickers around the room and a few comments not to my taste. But I did notice that as conversation went on to other things, almost everybody in the room was moving some body part in time to the music. “Oh my god, she's going to do Say My Name,” one of the girls yelped, “I used to love this song!” And didn't most of the female population getting around at the end of the nineties? “Me too,” said the woman from the country with serious political turmoil causing her partner (“Eiyerr black and brown, black and brown”) to raise an eyebrow at her.

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“Look,” I said. “I don't give a shit what you think about her being black and brown, you can't deny that this woman is talented.” There was a pause. “Come on,” I continued despite being outnumbered, “She is consistently churning out hit after hit, I bet you every single one of you has a Beyonce song you can't help but like.” Slowly, one by one, everyone began to nod in agreement before offering up their favourite Beyonce song (god, I love being right).

And she is incredible. I want to hate her, but it's just too hard. Her songs are just too good. I don't even care how hypocritical they can be. For instance, I'm an independent woman - just keep paying my bills, bills, bills.

I have a theory about people like Beyonce (and Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey before they went crazy and their work began to suck) – anyone who says they don't like any of their music – not even one single single - is lying. But who would have thought Beyonce's talents could overpower ingrained racial prejudice?