Beyoncé vs. Bev Skeggs

Donna Carmichael

Although this conference is packed with outstanding scholars presenting on a wide variety of important and fascinating topics, I have to confess that I was inordinately excited about the prospect of hearing Bev Skeggs speak in person. As a new PhD student, I’ve read all her work and watched reruns of her LSE seminars on YouTube, and have long hoped to have the opportunity to hear her speak in person so I was naturally delighted to see her name on the TSR program. So yesterday morning I was filled with a giddy anticipation prior to the start of the conference.

In reflecting on what I felt was a rather schoolgirl’ish reaction to the prospect of hearing my academic idol speak, I was reminded of conversations I’d had with my 10yr old daughter about her adulation of Beyoncé at the time. I recall haughtily lecturing her about the ‘cult of celebrity’, and that just because someone was a celebrity doesn’t mean they are a good person, or particularly intelligent, or kind. She didn’t really care what I had to say about Beyoncé or any other music or TV celebrity that she worshipped, and responded with “but I have all her albums, and I’ve watched all her videos on YouTube, and I really really want to go to a Beyoncé concert!”.

Of course, one can’t help but notice the similarities in our reactions to a person that each of us respects and admires. In reflecting on my own reaction to the opportunity to see Bev speak, I’ve decided that I will no longer belittle or judge my daughter for her excitement about seeing her music heroes in concert…i realize now that it is very much a human response to the opportunity to fulfill a goal or a dream. She’s now a 19yr old university student, and has moved on from her fascination with Beyoncé. I am hopeful that she will find an academic ‘hero’ to inspire her…maybe I will send her one of Bev’s articles 🙂.

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