R&B Divas Rule the Super Bowl: Why the Game was Bigger Than Beyonce

Destiny's Child backstage during the Super Bowl, 2013.

Beyonce/Tumblr

Last night (Feb. 3) wasn't only a triumphant night for Beyoncé, but for R&B divas across the board. Bey/ Destiny's Child, Alicia Keys and Jennifer Hudson -- i.e. some of the biggest and boldest voices in the genre -- performed at Super Bowl XLVII, which is destined to be one of the most watched events on national TV this year. What makes their performances even more more socially impactful is that all of last night's performers were women -- Black women, at that.

"What a proud day for African American women!!!!," Bey' wrote on her Tumblr page after burning down the halftime stage with Destiny's Child members Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. "Kelly, Michelle, Alicia, JHud. You are all beautiful, talented and showed so much class! It was an honor to perform at the Super Bowl with you phenomenal ladies."

Alicia echoed the sentiment with a poignant tweet of her own late in the game:

R&B isn't a genre led by one voice, but by many together. Last year, artists like Frank Ocean, Miguel and Solange Knowles brought a new flavor, but always held on to R&B's soulful root. The music coming through R&B radio over the last year has been more thirlling at times than others, but it's never been devoid of creativity. If anything, it's showed that we're witnessing a genre in the midst of an important evolutionary phase. And what gives the new voices a platform to success is the fact that thier big brothers and sisters continue to break down cultural barriers with their music.

 

 

R&B fans hold their artists close because of moments like last night. We're proud to see acts from our genre -- especially ones of color -- who once had to hustle for their big voices to be appreciated triumph in front of a mainstream audience of millions. When Bey emerged on the 50-yard line, we experienced the same swell of pride we felt when she performed the National Anthem for our president's inauguration (backing track or no), and when J. Hud and Alicia serenaded the First Couple at the ball later that evening. Even if they've ruled the charts with pop hits, as is the case for these women (especially Beyoncé), they've stayed true to themselves and their love for R&B sonically while never compromising where they came from. They prove that R&B has much life in its lungs is ready to blow any remaining boundaries into yesteryear.