The Tiger & The Bee: My Contradictory Feelings About Tiger Woods & Beyonce´

Petty wasn’t a word we used back in 1978; but I realize that I was a bit petty in elementary school.  Bottom line, if you didn’t like me, I immediately didn’t like you, and pretended that I never did.  I haven’t changed.  Rejection hurts; and I still react to it with the same response of disgust, followed quickly by dismissal.

This same dynamic applies when it comes to my “relationship” — or rather my lack of one — with Tiger Woods.  I come from a family of golfers.  During family gatherings my uncles used to drink brown liquor and tell stories of the golf courses they were barred from playing on, of having been mistaken for caddies, and of the many shocked White men they beat. The Masters barred Black players until 1975, and its hallowed club in Augusta, Georgia, had no black members until 1990. Today, there are still private golf clubs that don’t admit Black members. So, the golf course was where my uncles enacted their own mini civil rights movement.  So when Tiger Woods came onto the scene I saw him as joining the march, proving that Black men could not only play “intellectual” sports, we could dominate them.  And Tiger did dominate. He holds the record for most consecutive weeks, 281, atop the world golf rankings.  He won 79 PGA titles and 14 majors (now 15), putting him second all-time on each list. 

Go on, Brotha!

Little Black boys and girls started enrolling in golf lessons in droves, Black people started watching golf tournaments en masse, Fuzzy Zoeller commented that Tiger would probably want “fried chicken and watermelon” served at his Masters banquet.  Yet, in the face of this, Tiger claimed that he wasn’t even Black, but rather Cablinasian (a nonexistent term that he created to blend Caucasian, Black, American Indian and Asian).  Wood’s mother is Thai and Chinese, so it would have been understandable had he said that he was Black and Asian; but to be so pressed to create a new term demonstrated his desperation to distance himself from “Black” . . .  from Us.

Tiger Woods wears his green jacket holding the winning trophy after the final round for the Masters golf tournament Sunday, April 14, 2019, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Those of us who have had our DNA assessed understand the ridiculousness of thinking anyone is purely one thing.  I fervently argue with people who try to make Black uniform. We are not monolithic.  Tiger plays golf, marries a White woman, is friends with Trump: yet I would still accept him as a Black man.  Black people do everything, Black people are everywhere.  But I have a hard time embracing someone who has affirmatively and outwardly rejected me and my people.  Just like in 3rd grade, if you reject me; I reject you. 

Conversely, I’m 3rd-grade crushin’, teenage-obsessin’, grown-woman lovin’ me some Beyonce following the release of Homecoming, her documentary chronicling the preparation and her performance at 2018’s Coachella. Now, I am a member of her buzzing Bey-hive — hands sticky from scooping up handfuls of the Black honey she produced. 

Like honey, the documentary was sweet, organic, comprised of the nectar of all with whom Beyonce has come into contact. Nectar produced from the  sweat from her ancestors; tears from her family;  wisdom from the greats like Toni Morrison, Nina Simone, W.E.B. Dubois, Alice Walker, Marian Wright Elderman, Reginald Lewis, Cornel West, Maya Angelou, Audre Lorde, Malcolm X, Chimananda Ngozie Adichie, Tessa Thompson; the sticky funk of New Orleans styled brass bands and Southern-born drumlines; the swag of breakdancing, hip hop and crunk; the allurement of African drums; the wetness of wokeness. She wove all of this into a beautiful, intoxicating mixture.

during 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival Weekend 1 at the Empire Polo Field on April 14, 2018 in Indio, California.

Beyonce was invited to headline Coachella; but she put Blackness on stage instead.  She put Black culture, Black history, Black bodies of all sizes, Black hair of all types – afros, twists, weaves, waves, braids, cornrows, bobs, shaved; Black musicians – from violins to bass players, Black dancers—baton twirlers, to bee-boppers, to ballet; Black colleges and Universities; Black style; Black sororities; Black literature; Black love. America, look at us.  Ain’t we beautiful? Aren’t we magnificent?

It was if she was saying, “You can no longer deny us — or our greatness – America.”

“Aint that about about a bitch,” she said after announcing that she is the first Black woman to headline Coachella. From there she made it her absolute business to represent for all the women who should’ve been on that stage before and to set-the-stage for any woman who wants to come after.  She said that she never worked that hard before, nor will she ever again. But, every Sista and Brotha out there gets it: she was representing not just herself but her entire race.  She knew that she wasn’t presenting herself – Beyoncé, the person that thousands paid to see – but herself, the Black woman. At a point in her career where she – for many- had transcended race – where she was past human and more of a character or product – she reminded the world:  I am a Black.

Undoubtedly, for many Black attendees, the Blackness felt like a cool mist; while for many White attendees, the environment became humid. What is this? When Beyonce belted out the National Negro Anthem, many probably felt the same way I and many other Black people feel when we have stood with my hand on my heart, singing the racist stanza of the National Anthem, written by a racist, while living in a country built on racism and still feeling sometimes walled in by it – feeling conflicted and confused; wondering how to be simultaneously patriotic and Black.  Beyoncé posed the question. You love me and I’m Black (not just Black with and asterisk so you can feel comfortable but woke-ass Blacky-Black.)  How ya like me now?

Ya, Beyonce did that.




I can’t remember the last time I ever felt so celebrated.

She sees herself. She accepts herself – her whole self, which mean she sees me. She accepts me.  And both the third grade little girl in me, and the middle-aged me digs that.

Tell the truth to yourself first. Maya Angelou

4 Responses

  1. Beyoncé was a twinkle in the eye of her Mother when the poem/song, To Be Young Gifted and Black, came out, but every time I see her that stanza immediately comes to mind. She represents the sentiment so well. I’m a Beyoncé fan too, but I’m an even bigger fan of her Mom. ????????

  2. I was privileged to catch the first Coachella, Beychella performance when it live streamed on YouTube and it was hard to put the feelings I felt into words then as now. To borrow from the youngun’s, she snatched my whole life with that performance. I grew up in Nashville in a home with 2 Tennessee State University alumni who very much raised us on that campus in a sense. We went to football games, basketball games and yes, homecoming. I have long believed that black college homecomings represent us being wonderfully and authentically us and Beyonce captured that perfectly. She definitely represented and I appreciate how the documentary keeps that intact while bringing so much more to the experience. Between that and she and Jay taking their The Carters tour on the road and showing the world an intact nuclear black family, not so different from the one I grew up in, well I too am a lifelong member of the Beyhive. I always liked honey anyway…

  3. Thank you for articulating the conflicting emotions with your comparison and contrast of the “anthems”. I loved this article.

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About Randi B.

Randi is a diversity and inclusion strategist, speaker, trainer and writer, focusing on making connections and cultivating empathy in this diverse world one trip, speech, article, book and conversation at a time.

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