The recent release of Beyoncé's new single “Formation,” and the rise and fall of Cam Newton from the Super Bowl, have resulted in a string of controversial comments and opinions that relate to the role of authenticity in this generation.
We have an intrinsic need to find our place in this world based on our unique and individual personalities and viewpoints.
The brazen, in your face style of authenticity in some can bring out the worst in others.
For those who missed it, the Super Bowl was full of controversy on and off the field.
Beyoncé's new half-time single, characterized as the Black Lives Matter anthem, is being touted by Fox News as an anti-police mantra much like NWA's “F*ck Tha Police.”
Her homage to the Black Panthers, a '60s political rights organization, and Malcolm X is apparently unsuitable for the likes of the NFL, land of life-altering concussions and spousal abuse.
On the other hand, blacks are cheering her on, defiantly displaying their mini hot sauce bottles as an affront to “the man.”
Cam, currently persona non grata in the sports world, and experiencing the wrath of Twitter, teary-eyed Michael Jordan memes included, after losing the Super Bowl is bearing the brunt of statements like, “They haven't seen nothing they can compare me to.”
A few have come to his rescue, noting his mere four years in the NFL and the lagging defensive game of the Panthers, but most are raging against his personality, damning him for his pre-game and confidence in the midst of a major loss.
The reactions to both Beyoncé and Cam are confusing and disparate, fueled by our own self-perceptions and fears.
We get an initial rise — almost a high — out of watching people expose themselves boldly. But then longing disguised as judgment takes over.
How dare they be so haughty right in our faces. Damn, I wish I could do that!
I want to do that, but I'm afraid. There is much to be learned from Beyoncé and Cam on how we think we should be versus who we really are and how we can share that proudly with the world.
Here are five things we can take away from their experience, as we move toward exposing our authentic selves:
1. Do what you love.
Have you ever noticed that when you do something you love, time no longer exists? We get lost in the passion and commitment of what we're doing because it feels so right, so good and so meaningful.
We want to do it as much as we can and as best we can and get better at it. If we're lucky enough to know what that thing is or are brave enough to admit it, it's a life changer.
We've watched Beyoncé take her passion for entertaining from the little girl in Houston, to the member of Destiny's Child, to the superstar known as Sasha Fierce and now into the unapologetic and sexy Mrs. Carter.
She's living the life of her dreams.
Cam Newton has and has always had a love for football and a fierce devotion to success.
Though his childhood dream of winning the Super Bowl was crushed last Sunday, it's certainly a dream that's not over.
Knowing what we love and why we're doing it gives us all the motivation we need to move toward our goals.
2. Forget the haters.
Beyoncé doesn't have a whole lot of haters, considering she's backed by an international fan base that watches her every move.
A host on BET's "106 & Park" mocked her infant daughter's hair saying, “I really did wake up like this, because my parents never comb my hair.”
Amy Poehler's show included a joke about R. Kelly pissing on the child when she's old enough.
Beyoncé, being the class act that she is, never said a word.
Her followers are doing all the talking for her, both demanding and receiving apologies.
Cam is both loved and hated, depending on whom you ask.
His haters find him obnoxious, showy and thuggish. He laughs, dabbing at 'em all with his magnificent smile, saying hate all you want, I'm here to stay.
When the haters start to notice, that means we're doing something right. Take it as acknowledgment of progress, smile and do the dance of your choice.
With the haters in place and success on the horizon, it's time to take it a step further because “they don't want you to win" as DJ Khaled would say, and so we have to!
It's time to let them catch your fly and your cocky fresh.
Don't apologize. Slay hard. This is game time!
3. Become more of who you are.
Some will despise us, while others will be motivated by us.
Some will help and encourage us, while others will try to destroy us.
Now that you're doing what you love and the haters are in place, this is time to be even more of who you are.
Dealing with the haters is like a game.
With the lyrics of “Formation,” Beyoncé has established herself as the voice of people who have no voice or who need a stronger voice and has redefined “slay” as the ability to be, do and say all that we are without one ounce of hesitation, regret or fear.
Cam's skill and enthusiasm for the game are so strong that when the Broncos won, we actually wanted them to dab on us!
Come up with innovative, non-derivative tactics to success and watch them go wild. It's like being in a stadium and starting the wave rather than catching it.
4. Perform at the top of your game.
Beyoncé announced a grueling world tour with dates in the US, Canada and across Europe.
She doesn't “Run The World” by skimping on the hours she puts into her music or her performances.
She's known for grueling workouts and a strong work ethic.
Cam is also known for inspiring and impressing his teammates with his commitment to studying the game, his ability to lead and his physical preparedness.
The bottom line is, if we want to be successful at anything we do, we have to put in the time and be focused on our mission.
5. Let mistakes fuel you.
Cam went into the Super Bowl with his game face on and lost, but I guarantee you when we see him again, he's gonna come out all the way hard, fired up by every error.
Setbacks show us what we're made of and how committed we are really are.
Mistakes can expand our vision if we let them.
There will always be failures in our lives. How we deal with those failures is what defines us and our ability to win.
Our job is to be unabashedly and unapologetically ourselves, and to learn, grow, accomplish our goals and be all that we're meant to be every single day.
So, slay and dab on that. Let's go!