Students use Beyoncé to encourage freedom

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Students use Beyoncé to encourage freedom

Kierra Frazier

DeKALB — The Gender and Sexuality Resource Center held its first creative arts discussion, Beyoncé: Your Own Freedom. The event is made to help students feel comfortable in their own skin by painting and reflecting on Beyoncé’s freedom. Participants dissected Beyoncé’s music from the start of her solo career to now and broke down her growth through music. After each song was played, attendees painted their emotions inspired by each song.

The event, held Monday, was created by graduate assistant Mary Stamps. Stamps said she created the event because she loves music and counseling, and wanted to combine the two.

“[The enent] had to have a meaning behind it; I had to develop and think about the things I wanted to talk about, which was Beyoncé and freedom,” Stamps said.

Stamps opened the event by playing “Freedom,” a song off Beyoncé’s most recent album, “Lemonade.” Stamps said she opened with the song because it’s what gave her the idea for the event.

“This is a representation of the power Beyoncé has to influence what we hear and what we see,” Stamps said. “[Freedom] is what prompted me to create this event.”

Graduate student Timothy Lewis said he came to the event because Beyoncé is someone he looks up to.

“Beyoncé is so open and able to be herself in her own skin, which is why I’m so drawn to her,” Lewis said.

The painting began after attendees to Beyoncé’s first solo hit, “Crazy in Love,” released in 2003. Participants were told to paint the foundation of their canvas a color that depicted how the song made them feel. Many attendees used bright colors after listening to the fast-paced song.

Stamps told attendees there’s no such thing as being good at art. She said this to encourage participants to try their best on the paintings, despite not feeling confident.

Participants were also instructed to include pictures of Beyoncé on their painting based on which picture represented them the most. Most pictures were from music videos or Beyoncé with her family.

“I had no idea that topics like Beyoncé and freedom had so much in common,” senior social science major Chavonis Black said. “I didn’t know Beyoncé songs had that much to.”

Stamps said Beyoncé gained her freedom when she met Jay-Z because it was the first time she went public about a relationship.

After reflecting on Beyoncé’s freedom, participants were asked what freedom meant to them. Black said freedom means making her own decisions.

“Being freed from my parents gave me this realization that I’m really all by myself, and I have to start making decisions for myself,” Black said. “Freedom to me also means coming to the realization that I don’t have everything figured out, and that’s OK.”

Attendees related the colors on their paintings to their personal lives, matching them with the seven different chakras. Most matched with blue, to be true to oneself.

“It’s your decision on how it is you plan to implement your freedom into the work you do. Here at my job I have the freedom to take everything that I learn and turn that into a program like the one today.” Stamps said.

She also said the chakra colors ranging from deep red to purple are supposed to match up with who we’re trying to become in life.