Media Power and the Online Dance Remake: Remixing Beyoncé's "***Flawless" in the YouTube Archive

Location
The Dome, Bramall Music Building
Category
Arts and Law, Research
Dates
Wednesday 31st January 2018 (13:00-14:00)
Download the date to your calendar (.ics file)

  • Music Colloquium series 2017-2018

Speaker: Kristin McGee (University of Groningen)

Venue: The Dome, Bramall Music Building (3rd Floor)

All Students and Staff are welcome to attend. Attendance is required for all MA Music Students.

Abstract

In an age of media convergence (Jenkins Convergence Culture), audiovisual music performances, as meta-texts, remain powerful vehicles for promoting neoliberalism’s resilience discourse (James). In her self-titled video-album BEYONCÉ (2013), super star Beyoncé challenged the conventions of both film and music genres to promote her resilient feminist voice while expanding her international celebrity status. Since then, her work has elevated the status of music video as the essential facet of the visual album genre. One of the most compelling and publicly evaluated facets of Beyoncé’s videos are their continuation of the black performance aesthetics of collective dance. Ultimately the continued appearance of choreographed dance sequences symbolically enacts forms of subjectivity such as sisterhood and cultural pride evident in earlier forms of black expressive culture. In order to examine the tensions between the presentations of individualized stardom and an aesthetic of feminist solidarity implicit in her work, this article prioritizes the dance sequences from Beyoncé’s 2013 video “***Flawless.” Further, it looks beyond Beyoncé’s corpus to critically examine the dance remake, a forum in which dancers harness ‘media power’ (Carroll) within the YouTube archive to remake and re-signify Beyoncé’s (and other’s) work through collective choreographed dance. In this environment, dancers construct alternative biopolitics (from the mainstream music industry) grounded by localized and participatory modes of identification. In short, this article argues that Beyoncé’s deeply personal and multifaceted poetics, when remixed via collective articulations, prompt non-essentialist corporeal negotiations of black culture’s intersectionality (Krenshaw). Ultimately it is in the YouTube archive where such multifaceted and intersectional responses to Beyoncé’s visual album symbolically complicate recent debates about feminism, resilience, and sexuality within the music industry. It is also here where the role of the professional dancer and choreographer has assumed an elevated yet precarious status.