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Flawless, Beyoncé featuring Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

***Flawless is a music video from Beyoncé’s fifth album, Beyoncé, that was released in 2013. The song features samples from author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TedX talk “We Should All Be Feminists.” The song can be divided into three sections: in the first, Beyoncé discusses perceptions of her marriage versus her career and repeats the refrain “bow down bitches,” in the second Adichie’s audio is played over footage of a mosh pit, and in the third Beyoncé relates how she “woke up like this–flawless.”

discussion

Why does the video start and end with a clip of one of Beyoncé’s earliest public performances on the TV series, Star Search? How does this clip relate to the opening lyrics of the song? How does the music video subsequently diverge from this clip (in setting, mood, tone)?

Where is the video set? How do the setting, costuming, and actions of Beyoncé and the other individuals tie to the tone of the song/video? How do the black and white cinematography and editing style further contribute to the tone?

What is the meaning and significance of Beyoncé’s refrain: “bow down, bitches”? How does the tie to the overall message of the song/video, and the idea that she is “flawless”? How is Beyoncé addressing other women in the video? What is she encouraging them to do?

Why does Beyoncé choose to sample from Adichie’s 2013 Ted Talk on feminism? Does the sampling contribute to the messaging in the song/video? Why or why not?