The Rhetoric of Beyoncé



Source: Keirstead, Zachary. “Beyoncé – Formation Music Video.” Rhyme Junkie. FanSided, 18 Feb. 2016. Web. 24 Apr. 2017.

In the Winter of 2016, I took a Feminist Rhetorics course and I created a project about the rhetoric of Beyoncé. Each student completed a slightly different final product; my projected consisted of collecting and displaying my research on a website that I created myself. To check out my final product, click here. Below is an abstract about my project:

From her performance at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2014 to the Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show performance this year, Beyoncé has stimulated strong reactions in regards to the messages about social and political issues presented in her music. Through her music, Beyoncé has developed an intriguing and powerful rhetorical artifact. Whether this is an unintentional or purposeful act is up to her audience to decide. When studying Beyoncé’s music, countless questions came to mind:

How can music exemplify rhetoric? How can rhetoric be used in music, especially music videos, to persuade an audience of something—or perhaps teach an audience about something? 

These questions are what drove this research and inspired the overall thesis. The goal of this project is to determine how Beyoncé’s music videos not only serve as a rhetorical artifact and how the message of the music is more than just a persuasive one, but how Beyoncé’s rhetoric influences feminist rhetorical theory. By using Kenneth Burke’s Dramatistic Pentad and feminist rhetorical theory, this project explores the rhetoric of Beyoncé’s music as well as how an artifact, such as music, can be informative not just persuasive.