Becka Wall – @beckawall
During Sunday night’s GRAMMYs ceremony, Adele won the title of “Album of the Year” for her album “25.” While Adele’s album was AMAZING, and certainly deserved much of the accolade it received, this felt like a major snub to Beyonce’s “Lemonade” – her album from 2016 that was part music, part feature-length film and 100 percent a creative, groundbreaking work of art.
In her acceptance speech, Adele acknowledged this. She did so without denigrating her own art – which was also worthy and important of recognition. How did she do this?
Adele went full Cady Heron from “Mean Girls.” She dedicated her award to Beyonce, not just on stage, but also backstage. She made it clear that “Lemonade” was her album of the year, and the power and significance it had for black people, particularly black women.
From just Adele’s few minutes on stage, we can pull three important lessons about how to be a good intersectional feminist (a topic which quite a few white women struggle with):
- Share the spotlight and give credit where credit is due. Adele thanked the judges for choosing her for the award, credited her managers and staff and then addressed Beyonce directly, telling her she wanted to share this award with her.
Recognize the achievements of women of color, acknowledge their historical and cultural power and celebrate them publicly. Adele didn’t just tell Beyonce her album was amazing, she detailed what “Lemonade” and Beyonce’s work as an artist means to the black community, specifically black women.
- Call out hypocrisy and injustice when women of color – or any marginalized group – are not getting the recognition they deserve for their achievements. Adele’s call to share the award was polite to those who gave her the award, but was firm and clear as to why she couldn’t accept this award without also recognizing Beyonce’s incredible album and art.
Feminists everywhere – take notes. When faced with a situation where women of color are not being recognized and you’re not sure how to speak out, speak to women of color and ask them how you can help.
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