Beyoncé and Bruno, Barnabas and Paul and Jealousy


I think the criticism of the performance of Beyoncé at the Super Bowl is ridiculous.  The game was ok, but not exceptional.  Both teams were strong, but Denver survived.  I called my dad to watch the game with him.  He is not walking too well, with a painful knee that makes it difficult for him to get around.  I thought I would go over to his apartment and watch the game with him and his wife.  As it turned out, he and his wife Doris went to visit friends in the same apartment building who threw a party to watch the game.  At half time there was a group called Cold Play.  They were energetic, but did not move me.  Their show was colorful and I thought refreshingly religious.  I was not familiar with them, but they had a nice performance.

Then it happened.  Bruno Mars and his band came out dressed in black leather.  They danced and stepped in sync with verve and soul.  I had heard of Bruno Mars but never seen or heard them.  They were refreshing with their energy and enthusiasm.

Just when I thought I had seen it all, Beyoncé and her crew of black leotard and fishnet clad young black females lined up and seemed to stomp their way to the stage where Bruno Mars and his team perched like roosters at dawn.  Yes, the women with Beyoncé had afro puffs, but I did not think anything of it.  Yes, at some point they made fists and shoved them into the air.  I did not think anything of her show other than it was high energy, enthusiastic and exciting.  Seeing Beyoncé’s group of women and Bruno Mars with his guys, all dressed in black – dancing up close and in each other’s face it reminded me of the kind of parties I group up with in black communities all across the United States.  That is how we party.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  It does not mean a thing other than young people having fun.

When they finished I shouted to the people fixated on the television something like this:  “I guess the NFL felt like they had to reach out and get some young black people to bring some life into the half-time show!”

Nothing more.  Nothing less.  The next day when I learned that former Mayor Rudy Giuliani had criticized Beyoncé’s show as a put down of the police and embracing the Black Panther Party, I thought he was over the top and ridiculous.  The Black Panthers could be called a lot of things, but I do not ever remember their females dressing in black, tight, short suits with stockings marching down the middle of a football field to entertain a predominately white audience.  To me Beyoncé and her women were not making a political statement.  What they did do was to put on a heck of a show that frankly was much more exciting than the game.

When I heard of the criticism of Beyoncé, I thought to myself about how when the Apostle Paul brought the word of God to Antioch, the Bible recorded that some people were jealous because it seemed like the whole city had gathered to hear the Word of God preached.  I began to wonder if the criticism of Beyoncé was justified or was it that she and her group of young women and Bruno Mars and his young men just happened to be

44 The next sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy; and blaspheming, they contradicted what was spoken by Paul.[1] (Acts 13)

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What are the root causes of jealousy?
  2. Why do you think the crowds in Antioch were jealous of Paul and Barnabas?
  3. What do you think of the criticism of Beyoncé’s performance at the Super Bowl? Was it justified?



God, help me to appreciate the creativity and excellence in those around me.  Teach me to see something good and wonderful in others.  When I see others who are energetic and excited about life, temper my thoughts and help me to encourage and commend rather than criticize and condemn.  Lord, help me to rise above the temptation to be jealous.  Help me not to hate the excellence of others.  Bless me with your Spirit.  Bless me with your presence.  Bless me with your power and your peace.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray.  Amen.


Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Nicholas Hood III

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[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ac 13:44–45). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.