While Adele won big at the Grammy Awards on Feb. 12, all talk was on Beyoncé, who is expecting twins, and her stunning performance, which has been noted for its spiritual themes, portraying the beauty of forgiveness and reconciliation, and the power of womanhood.
I must admit the first time I saw Beyoncé’s performance, I thought it was a little strange. But the more I watched the group of women onstage move together, supporting each other and standing their ground, rising and falling while staying strong, the more I was struck with the metaphorical meaning of it all, and it had me thinking by the end how grateful I am to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where this idea of a bonded sisterhood isn’t just an artistic portrayal — it’s reality.
I don’t listen to a lot of Beyoncé’s music. Some of her songs are beautiful and fun — we even sang two on our “American Idols Live!” tour — but an equal amount are crude, explicit and vulgar. I have come to learn through the years how much music affects me, and songs that encourage or support inappropriate behavior have a negative impact on me personally.
Even though I disagreed with the way she artistically expressed herself, there were several things about Beyoncé’s message during her performance I did agree with.
1. Reverence and respect for motherhood
“Do you remember being born? Are you thankful for the hips that cracked — the deep velvet of your mother and her mother and her mother?” Beyonce said during the performance, which included songs from her "Lemonade" album that features poetry from Warsan Shire.
Motherhood is something we all can relate to in one way or another. We all have mothers. We all have grandmothers. Each of us has known women in our lives who have been extraordinary examples of bearers of life and love. My little sister is pregnant right now, and sometimes seeing her womb grow each week makes mine ache a little. Watching the creation process happen never ceases to amaze me.
Motherhood is the vital connective link between women of all generations, races and faith.
2. The importance of commitment in marriage
Rumors have flown over the implications of infidelity between Beyoncé and her husband, Jay-Z. Some argue that her album “Lemonade” was written as a diary of sorts to confront their issues and face them head-on.
“If we’re gonna heal, let it be glorious. You’re the magician. Pull me back together the way you cut me in half. Make the woman in doubt disappear. Her heaven will be a love without betrayal,” she said during her performance.
I think what I liked so much about Beyoncé’s message at the Grammys was that she showed she was standing up for the fight.
As a woman who is a member of the LDS Church, I feel blessed to have a clearer understanding of why eternity is worth fighting for, and that can mean different things for different women.
But in a society where it seems, at times, as though divorce papers are handed out like burgers through a drive-thru window, I was surprised that someone so influential in the pop music word would take a stand (at least for now) for the sacred nature of marriage and family, even if her idea and portrayal of that is much different than mine.
3. Women need other women
I liked Beyoncé’s image of so many women standing side by side, buoying each other up on their journeys.
Twice a year for those in the Relief Society, Young Women and Primary organizations, that image is brought to life during the general women's session of general conference where thousands of girls and women ages 8 and older come together from all over the world to hear inspired messages of love, hope, peace, encouragement and counsel. The idea of a sisterhood that is there to support and lift one another is a reality for women of the LDS Church.
“The women in the church have been taught to live up to their divine potential by fulfilling God's purposes for them. As they come to understand who they really are — God's daughters — they reach their potential as holy women. Through this organization, sisters receive vision and assurance of their identity as daughters of God” (see the Relief Society topics page on lds.org).
Beyoncé is a beautiful and talented artist. She is captivating to watch and commanding on stage. Despite our different views, I felt a connection to her, a fellow daughter of God and female traveler through life, after watching her performance at the Grammys and have a renewed sense of gratitude for my own role as a wife, mother and daughter of God — and for the perspective being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gives me.