With less than 96 hours to go until Election Day, and the polls running frighteningly close, Beyoncé might have just won this race for Hillary. The pop icon performed at a rally in Cleveland — in a pant suit! — and finally offered the kind of full-throated endorsement for the Democratic candidate that is sure to get the Hive in formation. But what took her so long?
Beyoncé has never been a stranger to politics. A staunch supporter and friend of the Obamas, the cultural icon and her husband Jay Z appeared at their campaign events, inaugurations, birthday parties and Easter egg hunts. Speaking at a 2012 campaign fundraiser hosted by the Carters (which raised $4 million), Beyoncé asserted, “I can’t tell you how proud we are to host tonight’s event with President Obama. We believe in his mission.”
Her politics are clear, and millions are listening. Which is why, amidst this year’s vitriolic, often racist, sexist and universally offensive presidential race, many of us have been pondering one big question: why hasn’t Queen B openly endorsed Hillary Clinton? While she has been supporting Clinton from the shadows — she attended a $2700-a-plate fundraiser for the Democratic candidate earlier this year and closed a concert last week with a genuine call to action, the video captured on her Instagram — her refusal to offer an unambiguous “I’m With Her” has been confusing, if not troubling given what’s at stake.
Beyoncé quite literally holds the key to this election: her Hive, a cross-section of Millennials, feminists and young Black women, is exactly the demographic the Clinton campaign desperately needs to come out and vote on Tuesday.
Thankfully, on Friday night at a Get Out the Vote concert headlined by her husband, Beyoncé came through:
“Less than 100 years ago, women did not have the right to vote. Look how far we’ve come. I want my daughter to grow up seeing a woman lead this country and that’s why I’m with her,” she said. And the impact could be seen on Twitter within nanoseconds:
So, what took so long? This isn’t 2012. Terrifying as Mitt Romney was (at least to me), he seems like an adorable, whimpering puppy compared to today’s sociopathic, inhumane GOP candidate. One reason could be Hillary’s complicated track record, especially when it comes to racial issues. Notably troubling was her response to the 1994 Crime Bill, in which she alluded to swaths of black citizens as super predators. Ignoring this history, which elicits distrust among many black (and nonblack) voters, is ignorant at best. Such missteps are, in my opinion, inexcusable.
Yet in this race, not voting for Hillary Clinton—who, for better or worse, is the only option—may have universally catastrophic effects. And that’s the message Beyoncé has finally decided communicate, four days before Election Day.
Anyone who knows Bey knows that timing is among her strongest weapons. Perhaps the only A-list celebrity to ever drop a surprise album without any leaks, Queen B left us all in awe when, in 2013, we woke up to her first visual album. Then she did it again with Lemonade. Beyoncé rarely ever gives interviews, and has tweeted nine times since 2009. She’s fundamentally secretive, but when she hits, the world stops to listen. What’s more, she always delivers.
By waiting to explicitly endorse Clinton until a mere four days before the election, Beyoncé commands our attention, striking at perhaps the most important and effective moment: the election is in four days, and early voting has already begun. Said simply, the iron is hotter than ever.
By waiting until the last minute, Beyoncé’s endorsement provides a final push at the most influential moment, demanding voters not only support Hillary, but literally get out and vote for her—not in “November,” not in a week, literally now.
By waiting until the last minute, Beyoncé relates to the millions of voters who, like she, have struggled to resolve the dissonance between Hillary’s politics, and their own.
By waiting until the last minute, Beyoncé communicates that while it took her a while to come around, voting for Hillary is her, and her fans’, civic duty.
By saving the best for last, Beyoncé allows no opportunity for her message to be lost in the shuffle—not that it ever is, if we’re being honest.
When thought of in this light, Beyoncé’s last minute Clinton endorsement is not questionable, but rather demonstrates a brilliant command of her own influence—which, to any true fan, should be no surprise.
Whether this was truly her intention all along, or Obama just called with the Bey-plea Hillary could never pull off, I’m grateful Bey’s with her, and I hope your are too. Plus, that concert was lit.