HerStory January 2019: Beyonce

Welcome to HerStory 2019! This year, we are focusing on artists of all stripes from all over the world. Our line-up is absolutely amazing, full of inspiring women, ass-kicking empowerment, and the most transcendent art you’ve experienced in many different mediums. We’re honoring women who create art in all kinds of ways, and our first artist is one the inspires the fearless leader of Knitted Wit daily, singer/visual artist/dancer/producer/everything, Beyoncé. She’s one of the few people in history who need only one name.

Why is Beyoncé our first HerStory recipient of 2019? Oh, let us count the ways: she is unapologetically herself, a black woman in the United States today. She tells the story of the struggle, and celebrates her culture in a way that is empowering and uplifting. Her recent work is all about telling stories of and for the women who have been left out of so many conversations, those who haven’t had a seat at the table. She uses her art to broaden feminism and center blackness in a time in which we are seeing more in-your-face racism and misogyny than we have seen in a long time.

Beyoncé’s public persona has taken on almost-mythic proportions, striking even in a society that lives to mythologize its celebrities. And she has taken full advantage of that mythologizing, using her celebrity to elevate the black voice, to celebrate black womanhood, and to refuse to allow even those who have put her on that pedestal to write her narrative. In short, Beyoncé is everything we need in today’s society, plus her music is catchy as hell.

Our Beyoncé-inspired colorway, Goddess, takes both its color inspiration and its name from Beyoncé’s centering of black feminism, black beauty, and black motherhood. The gold in the skein is directly inspired by her 2017 Grammy performance, in which an unapologetically pregnant Queen Bey paid homage to multiple goddesses who signify womanhood and fertility, from the African water spirit Mami Wata to Yoruba water goddess Oshun to Hindu goddess Kali. All three of these deities embody feminity, sexuality, and fertility, and Beyoncé channeled every single one in her performance. If you haven’t watched that performance, we strongly suggest you do so, and quickly. The other end of the skein is inspired by the stunning floral arrangements that surrounded her in the pregnancy and birth announcements she shared on Instagram in 2017. We are constantly struck by how much meaning she injects into everything she does, and these images were no different: in both her pregnancy and birth announcements, she mashed the Madonna/Venus archetypes together into her own beautiful interpretation. She deconstructed the Madonna/whore complex, enthusiastically stating that, in her and in all women, both and neither can be and are true at the same time, and womanhood and motherhood and sexuality are all a part of who and what she is.

Whew! We are inspired to listen even more closely to Queen Bey’s music and spend some time watching her visual works, to suss out even more of the meaning she infuses into everything she does. All while knitting socks out of Goddess, of course. How about you? Are you feeling as inspired as we are? Show us! Remember to share your projects on Instagram, by tag @knittedwit, and use hashtags #knittedwit and #herstory2019kal. On Facebook, join the Knitted Wit Knitalongs Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/knittedwitkal), to be inspired by what your co-HerStory knitters have made, and inspire all of us with your creations.

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