Around a fortnight ago, Beyoncé Knowles did a private performance in Dubai for an audience of largely very rich men from the world of business. It was meant to be hidden away from the world and only for the eyes of those in the room – but as is almost inevitable in this day and age, footage quickly leaked onto social media.
Whilst Ears To The House tries to avoid commenting on how other people look, we did notice from the photos on Mail Online that Knowles’s dress was more conservative than her normal attire. Hardly a surprising state of affairs given the laws in the United Arab Emirates, of course. Jason Okundaye wrote in The Guardian last week about this – and we think he’s got it about right.
But there is one aspect of the controversy that no one seems to have mentioned – and that is the fact that almost nobody in the dance music world has commented on this. And that strikes us as downright odd – Knowles’s “Renaissance” album last year was sold on the grounds of how it spoke about Black culture and the LGBTQ+ community.
Yet here was Knowles performing in a country where homosexuality is a criminal offence – and the fact no one was officially filming or documenting the event rather suggests she would have preferred to keep it under wraps. The likes of Honey Dijon, Green Velvet and Luke Solomon were involved in the making of this album, but none appear to have anything to say over this subject.
The silence of Honey Dijon – real name Honey Redmond – is particularly stark. As a transgender person, she is an unashamedly vocal advocate for this community, and she also speaks out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community too. Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this – but there is a lack of consistency on Redmond’s part here.
Due to who Redmond is, she wouldn’t be allowed to perform in the UAE – being transgender is also illegal in the country. And whilst it must be emphasised that the UAE are far from the only country in the world with anti-LGBTQ laws, their sheer wealth and influence means they’re going to get more attention. But on the subject of her friend performing in the country?
She has not got one peep to say. Nor has anyone else in the dance music world – a world which would not exist without the primarily gay and Black communities which nurtured it in the 1980s when they themselves were under intense scrutiny due to the likes of AIDS. The silence is deafening…