Ain't I a Diva?
Ain't I a Diva?
Beyoncé and the Power of Pop Culture Pedagogy
Publication Date: 06-11-2019
Introduction by Cheryl Clarke
In 2010—long before the release of Lemonade—Professor Kevin Allred created the university course “Politicizing Beyoncé” to both wide acclaim and controversy. He outlines his pedagogical philosophy in Ain’t I a Diva?, exploring the process of teaching Beyoncé and what it means to use a superstar to blow up the canon. Allred brings his syllabus to life by pairing music videos and songs with historical and academic texts, and combines analysis with classroom anecdotes. Topics range from a capitalist critique of “Run the World (Girls)” to the politics of self-care found in “Flawless”; Beyoncé’s art is read alongside Black feminist thinkers including Kimberlé Crenshaw, Octavia Butler, and Sojourner Truth.
Interrogating the entertainer’s career through a media studies lens, Allred attests that pop culture is so much more than a guilty pleasure—it’s an access point for education, entertainment, critical inquiry, and politics.
“A fierce, full-bodied examination of our queen's indelible contributions to pop culture and feminism. Read it!" —Janet Mock, author of Surpassing Certainty
“Kevin Allred is a writer who approaches the topic of Beyoncé’s role and impact on the culture with nuance and skill. Keenly aware of his position and privilege as a white cis male, Allred centers and amplifies black feminist voices in his writing as he explores themes of race, gender, and class in Beyoncé’s seminal career. Applying a feminist reading to her music, Allred illuminates and introduces ideas that are timelier now than ever before. This is a must-read for any fan of Beyoncé and of fascinating feminist discourse.” —Zeba Blay, senior culture writer, HuffPost