Over the weekend, Beyoncé took to the stage to perform her first concert in five years, but not everyone was excited about the singer’s return.
The 28-time Grammy-winner headlined a private concert in Dubai to help celebrate the opening of hotel Atlantis The Royal. According to the BBC, no phones were allowed in the massive 1,500-seat venue. But somehow how, footage of the event flooded the internet.
While some fans were excited to see Bey perform, a few Beehive members weren’t too thrilled that she performed in Dubai, a city where LGBTQI+ people have faced prosecution due to the UAE’s strict laws against same-sex relationships. Homosexuality is illegal in the UAE. Depending on the offense, same-sex activity may be punishable by death.
Why are LGBTQ activists mad at Beyoncé?
According to BOSSIP, Bey received a whopping $35 million to headline the Dubai show. Some naysayers felt like the Texas native sold out to get a paycheck, especially, given the message behind her latest album Renaissance.
Released in July 2022, Beyoncé’s dance floor-inspired album celebrates queer culture and pays homage to Black LGBTQ icons that have shifted music.
The album also celebrates the life of her late gay Uncle Johnny, who died of complications from AIDS.
Inside Hook Managing Editor Bonnie Stiernberg slammed Bey for putting money over the community.
“Idk, if I already had $500 million, I don’t think an additional $35 million would be enough money for me to go perform the album I dedicated to my gay uncle in a country where being gay is still punishable by death,” she tweeted Jan. 22.
During an interview with the BBC Newsbeat, freelance music journalist Abigail Firth called the singer’s performance “a misguided choice.”
“She’s obviously a multimillionaire anyway, she didn’t really need to do this, she didn’t really need the money,” she added.
Drag Race UK star Kitty Scott-Claus questioned why some fans were “celebrating “Beyoncé’s performance when David Beckham faced similar criticism. During the 2022 World Cup, the famous soccer player signed a deal with the Qatar government to promote the big event.
In the past, the annual sporting competition has been slammed for mistreating the LGBTQ community, which upset some of his biggest fans.
Like Beyoncé, Beckham has also been celebrated within the LGBTQ sphere, famously posing on the cover of the best-selling gay magazine Attitude in 2002. Kitty wondered if there was “one rule for one and one for another.”
Lawrence Barton, who runs a chain of gay bars in Birmingham, said it was “truly disappointing” to hear about the mother of three’s performance in Dubai.
“Beyoncé is considered by the LGBTQI community as an ally,” he said. “But we don’t actually know whether she even considered the LGBTQI legislation over there, it might not have even been a consideration.”
Barton said that he wants “to hear from Beyoncé herself about how she feels about the situation.”
“She has fans all over the world that adore her, some will be upset and some will think it’s an amazing thing,” he added.
TS Madison defends Beyoncé’s Dubai performance
After news of the show rocked the internet, a few fans rushed in to defend Beyoncé, including actress and LGBTQ activist TS Madison.
While chatting about the controversy with TMZ, Madison applauded Bey for traveling overseas to get her “bag.” The Zola star said she believes Bey still “loves her fans” despite cashing in a fat check.
“Tell me, I wanna ask any one of those folks over there if there were given $24 million- I heard it was $35 million- Any one of those girls would put on their wig, hair, makeup, lashes and run right over there to the Atlantis Hotel and gather their 35 million dollars and come right on back home,” Madison said.
“It’s still the same love for her fans. I’m not mad at her getting her money. She didn’t wave anti-LGBTQ flags, you know? She put on a concert, she got her money, and these were her fans.”