Beyoncé & Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche Turn “Bow Down” Into “Flawless” Womanist Manifesto
Once upon a time, Queen Beyoncé took harsh blows to her “brand of feminism” after leaking “Bow Down,” a song aimed at haters but seen as “degrading to women” by certain feminists… -cough- #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen
She went back to the studio and silently released a self-titled 14-track/17-video set with the song under a new name, “Flawless,” which features an enthralling speech by African feminist/author Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche.
An excerpt of the Nigerian writer’s words from a 30-minute TEDTalk, “We should all be feminists” makes a surprise appearance in the middle of the uptempo track:
“We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls ‘You can have ambition, but not too much.
‘You should aim to be successful, but not too successful, otherwise you will threaten The Man.’
Because I am a female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Marriage can be… a source of joy and love and mutual support. But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same?
We raise girls to see each other as competitors, not for jobs or accomplishments which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men.
We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are…
Feminist, a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes…”
Bey then beckons us to chant, “I woke up like this. We flawless. Ladies, tell ’em. I woke up like this. I woke up like this.”
The tune stands out in the album’s sea of vulnerability and emotion. Watch Chimamanda’s full speech below.