Beyonce Derangement Hyperbole Syndrome

Beyonce (Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images)
Beyonce (Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images)

I met a dozen or so people for brunch Sunday afternoon, a meet-up that was the brainchild of my wife and one of her friends to combine our collective love of bacon and bottomlessness to a need to do something about the disconnect in the Black professional population here instead of just talking about it. The goal is to do this each month at a different location, have the group expand, and possibly even incorporate some organic civic good besides the itis.

So, what did this diverse group of Pittsburghers — a collection of writers, engineers, and politicians and shit transplanted from Orlando and Brooklyn and Denver and Philadelphia and Boston (many of whom were meeting for the first time) — spend the first half hour of brunch bonding over?


"Beyonce gave me my whole entire life last night" said the woman who was recently elected regional president of a national organization — proof that she was, in fact, alive before watching Beyonce on HBO Saturday night.


"After I saw her show this summer, I left thinking I could accomplish anything" said the woman who, by her 29th birthday, already had a masters degree from one of the best schools in the country, a business, and a day officially dedicated to her by the mayor of Pittsburgh. This woman has also expressed she'd leave her husband for Beyonce. Coincidentally, I am this woman's husband.

Those of you on any type of social media Saturday night probably witnessed something similar, where a taped performance of a woman everyone has seen before performing a bunch of songs everyone has heard before caused everyone to, for lack of a better term, lose their fucking minds.

"All I need is God, Febreeze and Beyonce" one oddly-worded status message claimed.

"This concert is everything I've ever needed in my life" said the least ambitious person ever.


"Beyonce is an alien, and we are her conquered masses" said someone who I made sure to immediately defriend.

Some even uploaded pictures of the concert on their televisions. Not still images from the concert. But pictures of their actual televisions while Beyonce was on screen.


This abnormal behavior has become expected, even synonymous with Beyonce events, which makes her historically unique in one regard.

Maybe Michael Jackson was more universal and transcendent. Maybe Madonna was more influential. And maybe Prince made more people ponder questions like "If Prince is the only man I'd sleep with, does that make me gay?" But no one — at least no one in my lifetime — has made people exaggerate the way Beyonce does. She is not just a singer. Her "voice lapdances on souls." She is not just an entertainer. Her concerts make people "lose their religion and get it back before intermission." She does not perform. She "snatches wigs and edges and wayward teeth." She is not just pretty. She is "so fucking flawless it makes me want to leap inside my own mouth in shame." She is not just a wife and a mother. She is "the reason I started believing in Black love again."


Perhaps this Beyonce Derangement Hyperbole Syndrome is just a byproduct of how social media influences our communication. If everyone is talking about how great Beyonce is, the only way your words will stand out is if you go above and beyond with your description of her greatness. Maybe her work ethic and inability to find a seat has an osmosis effect on her fans. She goes the extra mile with entertaining them, and they go the extra mile with describing her. And maybe she's just in the Illuminati, and her performances are subliminal instructions to release all earthly possessions and start worshipping Zylot, the groundhog warlord.

And maybe all of this exaggeration aint exactly exaggeration. Maybe Beyonce really does give people the gift of life. Maybe she actually does lapdance on souls. Maybe she will literally snatch your edges.


I don't know. I do know though, that, if true, she needs to stay the hell away from my wife.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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The Beyhive is just an e-sorority for women who didn't pledge in college.