Grammys 2021: Beyoncé makes history with number of awards

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Beyonce, 41, headlined a private gig in Dubai over the weekend to mark the opening of the new five-star Atlantis Royal Hotel. Despite a strict no-phones policy, footage of the performance was shared on social media and sparked backlash from some disappointed fans.

The performance is controversial because homosexuality remains illegal in the United Arab Emirates, while her latest album Renaissance had taken inspiration from LGBT+ culture.

It has not been confirmed how much Beyonce was paid for the hour-long performance, but TMZ reported that she made $24million.

One journalist, Douglas Greenwood, tweeted: “I’m struggling to understand why Beyonce, who has half a billion dollars, would accept $20million to make her debut performance of the Renaissance album, a record which lifts heavily from queer culture, in Dubai, a country where LGBT rights aren’t recognised.

“So many people saying, ‘She didn’t perform anything from Renaissance though!’ – does that actually make a difference?

“She’s in cycle for an album indebted to queer culture. The question should be: why didn’t she? Could she?” 

Bev Jackson, co-founder of the LGB Alliance, also said the performance “casts a shadow over [Beyonce’s] support for lesbians and gay people”. 

Piers Morgan’s wife Celia Walden took aim at the Crazy In Love singer in her latest column, writing in response to Bev’s comment: “That understates the eye-watering severity of Beyonce’s hypocrisy.  

“When you consider that the multi-platinum selling US artist didn’t perform any tracks from her Renaissance album on Saturday night, this wasn’t so much casting a shadow over her LGBTQ+ tub-thumping as making a mockery of it.” 

The Telegraph journalist also highlighted that Renaissance debuted at number one and was Spotify’s most-streamed album of 2022 in a single day by a female artist. 

She continued in the publication: “So Beyonce reaped the rewards of her loudly voiced moral rectitude… 

“I only hope those suitcases full of Dubai dollars were worth it, and I’d like to say that you can’t have your virtue-signalling cake and eat it – but I fear that’s no longer true.”

When Renaissance was released back in July, Beyonce dedicated the album to her uncle, Jonny, who died following a battle with HIV.

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In a message shared to her website at the time, Beyonce said: “A big thank you to my Uncle Jonny.

“He was my godmother and the first person to expose me to a lot of the music and culture that serve as inspiration for this album.”

She had previously honoured Jonny during her 2019 GLAAD Media Awards acceptance speech.

She said: “Witnessing his battle with HIV was one of the most painful experiences I’ve ever lived.

“I’m hopeful that his struggles serve to open pathways for other young people to live more freely. LGBTQI rights are human rights.”

Nevertheless, not all discussion about the mother-of-three’s one-off performance was negative.

American TV personality and LGBT+ activist, Ts Madison, jumped to her defence, telling TMZ that the singer is “loyal to her fans” and has been an ally of the LGBT+ community for years.

Beyonce’s representatives have been contacted for comment. 

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