In the video for her song Haunted, Bey takes a casual stroll through a haunted mansion. As she makes her way down the hall, she glances into the various rooms, each one containing a “frightening” or “freakish” scene. But I think King Bey used the scenes to push back on our (sub)conscious societal fears. So according to Beysus, what are some of the things our society fears?
1. White woman at the disposal of black men
One of the first rooms in Beyonce’s house of “horrors” includes a group of black men enjoying a game of cards and being served by a “sexy” white woman in uniform. This room taps into our fear of black male sexuality as a threat to the purity of white women. Later, we see her seductively engaging them on a table.
2. Female sexuality
In another room, there is a group of women dressed in black leather, one of whom begins to grind on a male viewer. This room was scary because we were face to face with the outcome of dominant female sexuality running rampant.
3. Deviant sexuality
Many of the rooms suggested sexual deviance via images associated with BDSM, drastic age and race contrasts, and couples dressed in gas masks and feathers and shit. We are afraid of any display of sexuality that does not fit heteronormative ideas about sex only qualifying as acceptable if the point of arousal involves penile penetration.
4. Gender bending
One room features what appears to be a man dressed with feminine accessories. They are posed in a traditionally feminine stance in a bathtub, blowing bubbles. And in another room, what appears to be a woman of color is muscular with short hair. It’s no secret that we fear people who’s gender we are not able to immediately identify and label.
5. Suspicious black men
Four black men with their faces disguised in the infamous black and white face paint of the criminals in the film Dead Presidents stare intently back at us. In America, these faces are threats to our safety and national security.
Bey mingles these images with those of eerie twins, dying patients, and dead old women uplifting the fact that these fears are equally rooted in fictional perceptions of reality. I see what you did there Mother Bey.