Beyonce will perform two concerts here this week, both sold out (while, when last we checked, next week’s show in her hometown, Houston, was not). This makes perfect sense — Mrs. Carter was made for South Florida.
It takes a certain brand of pop goddess to balance everything we expect from a performer before she is placed on the glamorous pedestal reserved for the likes of Madonna and Lady Gaga. We need mega hit records and TV specials, sexiness and daring fashion, high-profile romance and low-down gossip. But we also require a certain level of ego and tone-deafness, which makes loving her more complicated and fun. Beyonce is all those things and then some.
The doc was in: Her oddly choreographed February HBO special, “Life Is but a Dream,” was spanked by most critics, including Adam Markovitz of Entertainment Weekly, who called it “a delicate mix of the calculated and confessional, designed to let us just far enough into Knowles’ world to keep us interested in her next tour, album, soda allegiance, etc.” Bottom line: The special drew 1.8 million viewers, the most-watched documentary on the network in a decade. And did we mention her shows are sold out? Score one point for Beyonce.
Brand-name products: She's a ubiquitous style pusher, from youthful H&M (a partnership she used to tease her single "Standing on the Sun") to upscale L'Oreal, and her daughter came branded at birth with a name, Blue Ivy, that sounds like a future fragrance line. Husband Jay-Z used Samsung to release his new album, “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” named after a document issued in 1215 that sought to limit the powers of the king of England. It’s an odd allusion from the ultra-ambitious king of rap music. Facebook loves Blue Ivy (the child). One point for Bey. (No points for Jay-Z, whose Samsung gambit overwhelmed the mostly positive reviews for the album.)
LeBron love: Bey’s husband is a former part-owner of the Brooklyn Nets, a potent rival of the Miami Heat. But when the Heat won its second NBA title last month, she sent a high-profile shout-out to LeBron James on Twitter and Facebook, posting a sweet photo of a young LeBron with the words “Bow Down” over it. We know sincerity when we see it. One point for Bey.
Havana clubbed: In April, she celebrated her fifth wedding anniversary with a Caribbean getaway. But, of course, it was in Cuba, which drew attention from the White House, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio as well as Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. She told “Good Morning America” the ensuing criticism was “quite shocking.” Which is shocking coming from the wife of Jay-Z, owner of a relentlessly expanding sports agency, in the age of Yasiel Puig. Minus one point for disingenuousness, but plus one for the amazing photos of Cuba on her Tumblr.
Image problem: Apparently still stung from the 2013 Super Bowl halftime photos that BuzzFeed turned into a package titled “The ‘Unflattering’ Photos Beyoncé’s Publicist Doesn’t Want You To See,” the singer has banned all news photographers from the Mrs. Carter tour, including her South Florida stops. Fewer photos of Beyonce makes the world a sadder place. Minus one point for Bey.
(For a review of Beyonce’s Tuesday-night concert at the BB&T Center, go to SouthFlorida.com/GoGuide on Wednesday.)
Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun