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Beyonce – I Am… Sasha Fierce. © Sony Music

Special Feature: Beyonce

Jeanne Powell’s special feature on Mrs. Carter, Queen B. Plus, Beyonce’s popular music videos.

“Chart-topper, glamour wife, style icon, filmmaker, new mom, business mogul—Beyoncé is at the height of her powers and writing her own script.” [ (c) Vogue Magazine]

Whether you are listening to her 2008 album, “I Am… Sasha Fierce”, or her current 2013 album (released without advance publicity), or whether you are watching the acclaimed 2010 documentary of one of her world tours, you know you are experiencing an extraordinary performer with a singular political consciousness.

Beyonce’ reigns — with love for community, love for her extended family and an incredible discipline which proves you just might get to have it all when you are gifted, when you are grateful and when you are willing to work very, very hard to bring it all to fruition. Her extended family includes her parents, sister Solange, her superstar husband Jay-Z, and their daughter.

Recall her 2010 live performance of “Ave Maria” outdoors at Rockefeller Center in New York, backed by four musicians in black and white ensembles. Breathtaking then and now.

Her “Sasha Fierce” album featured “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” — award winning and still stunning combination of lyric and choreography — as well as “If I Were a Boy,” lamenting the too frequent reality of boy as player and girl as victim. Sasha Fierce is the name she chose for her public persona.

And then there was the hubbub about the “Star Spangled Banner,” and isn’t there always some uproar about how the national anthem is sung? Recall the screams of indignation when blind guitar virtuoso Jose Feliciano sang a soulful version at a World Series game, full of gratitude in his presentation but not at all appreciated by purists in the stadium. And other performers over the years have been sadly off-key with a song which admittedly is difficult to sing.

Well, Beyonce’ sang the “Star Spangled Banner” perfectly for the new president and first lady, but turns out the musical accompaniment was prerecorded because she had no time to rehearse with the band, so some people were upset. To weather that tempest in a teapot, she sang the national anthem live at a press conference prior to her legendary Superbowl performance, and did so flawlessly. “Any questions?” she asked; there were none.

She is one-half of a power couple. Shawn Corey Carter is her husband, stage name Jay-Z. A popular rap singer and highly successful entrepreneur, Jay-Z is known for producing music, creating the Rocawear line of clothing currently featured at Barneys New York, and helping to bring hip-hop culture into mainstream. For three years he was CEO of Def Jam Records, one of the world’s best-known record labels. Jay-Z was an executive producer of the stage musical “Fela!” and an executive producer of “The Great Gatsby” film. For anyone who doesn’t already know, PBS media mogul Charlie Rose is a big fan of his.

Mrs. Carter’s music and her performances bring joy, and she earns every dollar she makes. Long may she reign.

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXXQLa-5n5w’] [youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnVUHWCynig’] [youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4m1EFMoRFvY’] [youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViwtNLUqkMY’] [youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EwViQxSJJQ’]

About Jeanne Powell

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Jeanne Powell is a poet and short story writer, who teaches in a summer program for teens. Her most recent books are “My Own Silence” and “Word Dancing,” available online and through booksellers. She also hosts spoken word events in San Francisco, and covers cultural happenings for online media.