Religious Iconography in Beyonce’s Grammy Performance

In an article written for Religious News Service on Monday February 13th, Erin McFarlan Miller, points to the heavily religious symbolism present in many of the performances held at the 59th annual Grammys, especially looking at the performance made by Beyonce. In a political climate that is strife with arguments from opposing sides of religious freedom and discrimination in regards to Trump’s failed “un-official” Muslim ban, many highly recognized people are speaking out along with the rest of the angered public. Beyonce’s performance utilized what can be interpreted as borrowing from many different religions and displaying different religious and cultural interpretations of divine beings. McFarlan Miller quotes professor Elizabeth McAlister, stating “…the singer was ‘performing brilliantly the image of the powerful divine mother, and that image can be found in the Virgin Mary, the Afro-Creole goddesses and the Hindu goddesses.'”(McFarlan Miller). In doing this, one can interpret Beyonce’s intentions of bringing to light figures from different religions, focusing on a divine motherhood, and especially drawing on her own Creole roots. McFarlan Miller continues to quote McAlister, stating, “The professor described it as ‘a performance of religious Creolization in action, in movement,’ describing the way colonized peoples have continued to practice indigenous religions ‘under the cover of Catholicism’ by blending the traditions.”(McFarlan Miller). The embrace of  one’s culture and religious symbolism seems like a way to combat and resist the rising religious and political tensions of America.