Flickr photo by James @

Several days ago, I was following a discussion on a Black folk message board. The subject of Beyonce’s latest album came up, and one woman objected to the fact that young B had made an MLK reference that was a little “off.” I decided to listen for myself and see what the todo was all about.

Sitting at home on a Friday night, I was straight jammin to the album, B’day. The first thing I noticed was Jay-Z on a bunch of songs. Didn’t this cat retire from rappin? How’s he gonna keep showing up on all these albums? He’s really trying to be like Mike. Anyway, I’m really into this track, and the next one, Upgrade U, pops on, and even though it’s a digital track from iTunes, I swear I heard the record scratch. Here’s what sista B says…

I can do for you what Martin did for the people

Ran by the men but the women keep the tempo

It’s very seldom that you’re blessed to find your equal

Still play my part and let you take the lead role

Yeah, that’s an MLK reference. Nice job, B. Educate the people right? Wrong!

The overall message of the song is that B can “upgrade” Jay-Z from his previously paltry status as super-successful-hip-hop-business-and fashion-mogul-with-mad-cars to super-successful-hip-hop-business-and fashion-mogul-with-mad-MAD-cars. The song reads like a cross between Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, Cribs and The Mis-Education of the Negro.

B will provide Jay-Z with the things his life is truly missing, such as:

  • Audemarts Piguet watches ($20K – $50K)
  • Purple Label neckties from Ralph Lauren ($145)
  • Hermes briefcase ($4,400)
  • Cartier Top Clips ($200), and when you google it, Beyonce’s song holds five of the top 10 results!

Now, I wouldn’t be so put off about yet another Hip Hop / R&B album promoting extremely unaffordable luxury items, but she does it in the name of Martin Luther the King, yall! No, No, No! That ain’t cool, B. Martin did not seek to hook his people up with bling. His goal was liberation, and addiction to high-priced material things is anything but that.

As a bonus, I found some YouTube links to share. Another track on B’day is called “Ring the Alarm,” where B is playing the super jealous wife, talking about how she ain’t having no other woman getting all her things!

Beyonce’s original video.

And a better parody.

Bon Weekend my peoples. bon weekend.

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