The Feminist Beyoncé Sampled in ‘Flawless’ Has Mixed Feelings About Her

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a well-respected feminist author. In 2014, Beyoncé introduced Adichie to a new audience. In her song “Flawless,” Beyoncé sampled Adichie’s 2012 TED Talk about feminism.

“Flawless” is one of the most famous feminist songs of the past decade. It sparked an interest in feminism. However, Adichie had mixed feelings about the song and Beyoncé’s version of feminism. She also resented fan and press reaction to “Flawless.”

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Beyoncé’s ‘Feminism is Not Mine’

Adichie said Beyoncé’s heart was in the right place when she made “Flawless.” “[Beyoncé] portrays a woman who is in charge of her own destiny, who does her own thing, and she has girl power,” Adichie said, according to The Politic. “I am very taken with that.” Adichie captured a major part of Queen B’s appeal in her comments. However, Adichie drew a line in the sand between her ideology and Beyoncé’s.

“Still, her type of feminism is not mine, as it is the kind that, at the same time, gives quite a lot of space to the necessity of men,” Adichie said. “I think men are lovely, but I don’t think that women should relate everything they do to men: did he hurt me, do I forgive him, did he put a ring on my finger?” Adichie feels women discuss men too much.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie | Leigh Vogel/Getty Images

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Fans React to Adichie’s Comments

Adichie’s comment about a man putting a ring on a woman’s finger alludes to “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It), another of Beyoncé songs. Many fans view that song as a quintessential girl power anthem. Therefore, Adichie’s words could be seen as contrarian.

Some fans were angry at Ardichie’s remarks while others found her comments thought provoking. The irony here is that, unlike other Queen B songs, men are not the focus of “Flawless.” Most of the lyrics in the song about men and boys come from Adichie’s speech.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on fan reaction to ‘Flawless’

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Adichie has mixed feelings on “Flawless” and on Queen B’s feminism. The author was inundated with interview requests after being sampled in “Flawless.” Adichie was resentful of this. She felt people didn’t care about her books — only her connection to Beyoncé. However, as a result of “Flawless,” some fans sought out Adichie’s writings. According to The Fader, Adichie said “Beyoncé is a celebrity of the first order and with this song she has reached many people who otherwise probably never have heard the word feminism, let alone gone out and buy my essay.”

Adichie did not speak much to the press about “Flawless.” Regardless, she considers Beyoncé to be a real feminist despite her mixed feelings. According to The Atlantic, Adichie said “all you need to do to be a feminist is identify as one.” Beyoncé and Adichie are both feminist icons who are dedicated to empowering women, despite having different approaches.

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