Beyonce Channels Marilyn Monroe on ‘Out’ Magazine Cover, Talks Women’s Sexual Freedom, Her Surprise Album and More

April 8, 2014

Beyonce is dazzling on the cover of ‘Out’ magazine’s ‘Power’ issue, in platinum blonde hair evoking Marilyn Monroe and talking about the double standard in sexuality for men and women, even as she endorses more sexual freedom for women and shares many tidbits about her new album. The wide-ranging interview is spicy with quotable quotes.

In retrospect, it’s surprising but true; this is the first magazine cover Beyonce has graced since the release of her surprise visual album, BEYONCE. But indeed that just reminds us of how much of a game-changer that album was. There was no parade of magazine covers to promote the album which — in retrospect — we did not know we were expecting.

More than making up for that gap of magazine articles and covers, Beyonce has much to say, most especially on sexuality for the iconic LGBT magazine ‘Out’ and its special Power issue.

In response to the interviewer Aaron Hicklin’s assessment that her BEYONCE album is her “most sexually liberated project” she does not disagree in the least. She sys, “I’d like to believe that my music opened up that conversation. There is unbelievable power in ownership, and women should own their sexuality.” She goes on to observe, “There is a double standard when it comes to sexuality that still persists. Men are free and women are not. That is crazy. The old lessons of submissiveness and fragility made us victims. Women are so much more than that.”

She went on to say, “You can be a businesswoman, a mother, an artist, and a feminist — whatever you want to be — and still be a sexual being. It’s not mutually exclusive.”

And indeed, decades of feminism have gone by and it has been this same conversation. Double standards. Stereotypical perceptions of women. It’s no longer the 1960s and the rise of the Women’s Liberation movement. We’re now in the 2010s and, yet, the same conversation.

After her sobering assessment of these double standards, Beyonce went on to speak about her album, recorded in secrecy revealing tidbits she has not shared previously. She said of it, “When I recorded ‘XO’ I was sick with a bad sinus infection. I recorded it in a few minutes just as a demo and decided to keep the vocals. I lived with most of the songs for a year and never rerecorded the demo vocals.”

She elaborated upon why she made that decision, saying, “I really loved the imperfections, so I kept the original demos. I spent the time I’d normally spend on backgrounds and vocal production on getting the music perfect. There were days I spent solely on getting the perfect mix of sounds for the snare alone.”

She added, “Discipline, patience, control, truth, risk, and effortlessness were all things I thought about while I was putting this album together.”

As for the impact of the lyrics, which have been resonant on these underlying social issues particularly the sexual freedom of women, as well as that of the LGBT community, she said, “While I am definitely conscious of all the different types of people who listen to my music, I really set out to make the most personal, honest, and best album I could make. I needed to free myself from the pressures and expectations of what I thought I should say or be, and just speak from the heart.”

She continued, saying, “Being that I am a woman in a male-dominated society, the feminist mentality rang true to me and became a way to personalize that struggle… But what I’m really referring to, and hoping for, is human rights and equality, not just that between a woman and a man.”

“So I’m very happy if my words can ever inspire or empower someone who considers themselves an oppressed minority,” she adds. “We are all the same and we all want the same things: the right to be happy, to be just who we want to be and to love who we want to love.”

And indeed, her album has sparked a discussion. While some have taken issue with the explicit lyrics of the songs, others have, as noted, found solace and affirmation in the brazen sexuality and freedom and boldness it represents.

The full interview — and the cover picture and inside photos by by Santiago & Mauricio can be seen here. It’s a lengthy read and well worth it.

Pictures: PR Photos

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