Beyoncé’s pregnancy with twins spawns split opinions

Also: On Trump, Matthew McConaughey urges ‘embrace’


On National Signing Day, Houston hero Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter signed two star recruits to the team. The pop superstar is pregnant with twins, she announced on Instagram on Wednesday.

People had opinions.

Beyoncé posted a photo of herself, veiled and surrounded by flowers, holding her stomach. The caption read, “We would like to share our love and happiness. We have been blessed two times over. We are incredibly grateful that our family will be growing by two, and we thank you for your well wishes. - The Carters.”

The singer and her husband Shawn Carter (aka rap mogul Jay Z) already have one daughter, Blue Ivy, born in 2012. But you probably knew that, because you are a human being capable of processing the information around you.

Beyoncé later posted a host of artfully shot pregnancy photos on her website, including a few that made the Virgen de Guadalupe references more explicit and some taken underwater. Homework, reader: Call and ask the JC Penney portrait studio how much that particular package costs.

Now, Beyoncé is a polarizing figure, which is inevitable when you’re famous enough to go by a mononym. Think about how Enya and Charo have courted controversy over the years. The former Destiny’s Child leader has transformed from a just-very-famous singer to an icon — I do not use that word lightly — over the course of 20 years in the spotlight. For some, she’s an aspirational, inhumanly perfect star who “changed the game with that digital drop,” whose recent embrace of political art on acclaimed album “Lemonade” has made her a conversation-setter on matters of race, gender and sexuality.

For others — immediate family members and people who comment on internet articles about Beyoncé, in my experience — she’s obnoxiously omnipresent. The far-right website Breitbart has accused her of stoking anti-police sentiment; Beyoncé, whose “Formation” video tackles police brutality, told Elle magazine that “anyone who perceives my message as anti-police is completely mistaken.”

She is, to paraphrase her own lyric, the woman who causes all this conversation. When the “Single Ladies” singer announced her blessed event, the internet was thus quick to ring the alarm, often in all caps. Oscar-winner Brie Larson tweeted “NO - YOU ARE CRYING BECAUSE BEYONCÉ IS HAVING TWINS.” Huffington Post entertainment writer Julia Brucculieri tweeted simply, “BABYONCES.” The Statesman web staff already started brainstorming baby names, including Red Rhododendron and Green Chrysanthemum; Luke and Leia; Kelly and Michelle; Alpha and Omega.

A sample of similarly excited Twitter responses:

  • @aantonides: “5 different friends called me to congratulate me on Beyoncé’s pregnancy like it was my own child”
  • @HannahDelit: “Waiting for somebody to love me as much as everyone loves the fact that Beyonce is having twins”
  • @toofacedmami: “BEYONCÉ GIRL YOUR BABIES JUST SHOOK THE UNIVERSE”

And now for the rebuttal from our Facebook comments. One reader wrote, “Don’t give a hoop nanny about her having twins,” while others assessed the pregnancy photo as ugly, tacky and creepy. (OK, the photo is indeed a little … shabby chic.) Of course, the usual chorus of “Who cares?” that accompanies any celebrity story also sang out. Then there were the racist comments comparing Beyoncé to various animals, which we deleted when we saw them, including one that called Beyoncé’s unborn children “trash.”

Yeah. Yikes.

Texas Monthly had a nice take about finding uplifting news wherever it might appear (“Beyoncé’s joy is our joy”). The magazine also attributed significance to the Instagram post’s timing, theorizing that “it doesn’t seem like mere coincidence that Beyoncé dropped her pregnancy announcement on the first day of Black History Month. Beyoncé may be out of the public eye (and now we know why), but she’s still black and proud.”

It takes a village to raise a child, so it’ll take the entire state of Texas to raise two children whose birth announcement knocked President Donald Trump out of the social media news cycle for a mid-week minute. Find joy in babies, Knowles or no. Remember that happy Hollywood headlines are not an assault on your better news judgment. We know you’ll probably just say “Who cares?” but the answer is: you, if it really bothers you that much.

Well, he does like orange

When it comes to Donald Trump, accept reality, Austin actor Matthew McConaughey urges.

The “Gold” star got political in a BBC One interview aired last weekend, responding to interviewer Andrew Marr’s question of whether it’s time “Hollywood and the cultural elite of America” gave Trump a break.

“Well, they don’t have a choice now,” McConaughey said. “He’s our president. It’s very dynamic and divisive of an inauguration in time that we’ve ever had. At the same time, it’s time for us to embrace.”

McConaughey went on, urging Americans, in his signature style, to be “constructive” in a Trump administration.

“Shake hands with this fact, and be constructive with him over the next four years,” McConaughey said. “So even those that most strongly disagree with his principals or things he’s said or done, which is another thing, we’ll see what he does compared to what he had said. No matter how much you even disagreed along the way, it’s time to think about how constructive can you be. Because he’s our president for the next four years, at least. President of the United States.”

As Vulture pointed out, it’s unclear whether this interview was filmed before Trump’s executive order on immigration, which in part temporarily banned refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. McConaughey’s wife, Camila Alves, emigrated from Brazil to the United States.

This one hurts

Austin may be the Live Music Capital of the World, but apparently it’s not too great if you’re expecting to raise your child to be a famous musician — at least according to one recent list.

Care.com released a list of the 10 best cities in America to raise the next rock star, and Austin is nowhere to be found. Inexplicably, College Station is No. 8 on the list, the only Texas city to make the top 10. The whole list is pretty surprising, actually: Gainesville, Fla., tops the list, followed by Tallahassee, Fla., and Ann Arbor, Mich. There are other Texas cities listed outside the top 10: Lubbock (home of Buddy Holly) comes in at 16, and you can find Austin all the way down at 34, followed by Dallas at 77 and Houston at 83.

Since we’re mostly talking about raising kids here, some of Austin’s major music perks don’t carry much weight in this ranking: number of live music venues in the city, support for local musicians, overall number of working musicians, etc. This study is all about the availability of music lessons per child, and that metric is based on the number of music tutor profiles listed on Care.com, which primarily exists to link parents to child caregivers in their area.

So if your kid wants to be the next Stevie Ray VaughanWillie Nelson, Janis Joplin, Townes Van ZandtGary Clark Jr., Alejandro Escovedo, Patti Griffin, Robert Earl Keen, Ben Kweller, Carrie RodriguezBob SchneiderShakey GravesRay BensonDale Watson … do we need to list any more Austin musical acts to prove that Austin’s actually a pretty great place to be a rock star? Didn’t think so.

— Katey Psencik, American-Statesman staff



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