Beyonce Loves Detroit More Than Your City

I'm sure the Texan Jalop Alliance might disagree with that headline, but other than shouting out Houston a bunch of times over her career, I can't recall Beyonce making a specific dedication to any other city.

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Beyonce's Mrs. Carter Show stopped at the Palace of Auburn Hills two days after the city of Detroit filed for municipal bankruptcy. She could have easily worked in a jit or engaged the crowd in a mass hustle to Janet Jackson's "Feels So Right" instead of the Single Ladies dance to pay homage to the city, but she admirably went the extra mile and sang Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come" while a montage of Detroit scenes played in the background.

That was a few weeks ago. Yesterday, Beyonce posted a more refined video of the performance with some added footage on her YouTube page.

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I've had my fair share of criticism of Mrs. Knowles-Carter over the years; I think she's immensely talented but some of her output (the lyrics of "Dance For You" are a prime example of this — "tonight I'm gonna put my body on your body" sounds like something her nephew wrote in latchkey) doesn't always match what she's capable of. For this one rare moment, I'll give her a pass.

It's not this stubborn Detroit pride that makes me like this video, but rather that Beyonce included so many of the musical artists that made Detroit the musical powerhouse that it is.

Whenever I write something on Jalopnik Detroit about...anything, really...I have to explain that this is still the "Motor City." I usually get a response like "Yeah, the Motor City until you got your asses whooped by Japan" or something like that. OK, I'll take that.

But you can't strip away our sonic heritage, and many of those influences — Motown, Aretha Franklin, even the gone-too-soon Aaliyah, whose career trajectory laid the groundwork for where Beyonce is today (fight me on this, I dare you) — made Beyonce the superstar she is today. And for her to honor that legacy, I salute. Beyonce and the rest of us love Detroit, even if you don't.

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Interestingly enough, some of Michigan's own pop stars — looking at you, Madonna — have been silent about Detroit's recent troubles, which makes Beyonce even more OK in my book.

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One more request, B: Hurry up and give us the goddamn fifth album already.

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DISCUSSION

Aaron, you've been my favorite blogger for awhile and I've always loved the fact that you've been critical about all sorts of conflicted Detroit dramas. I've always thought of you as a writer/online-journalist who can tackle one issue through a few different angles and offer a fresh perspective. The fact that you've been so honest and always told things as what it is made you my favorite blogger...

Until I saw this... and saw all your comments to participants who raised valid points (such as B's questionable presence in Detroit, and her "theatrical" homage to the city that she has never be able to relate to, with her born and raised as a privileged child in Houston). It's one thing that if you just wakes up one morning and had this craving for Beyonce as "guilty (or semi-guilty) pleasure", and wrote an article about her homage to the city's current situation while she's in town. But when you start to defend her, her career, her intentions, and even her husband in the comment section.... I suspect you sold out as of today.

Go get that paper. I'm just sad to see my favorite writer go this way.

Maybe Beyonce does run the world. But I thought you'd at least put up a real fight.