For some unbeknownst reason, Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon is calling Beyoncé out for her longstanding partnership with Pepsi. The Grammy Award-winning artist, who was infamously and incorrectly referred to as “Bonnie Bear” in 2011, recently questioned the Queen’s artistic integrity for her deal with the soft drink conglomerate.
“You can never be self-righteous, but it’s okay to be a little righteous,” Vernon recently told The Guardian while promoting his new album, 22, A Million. “You have to believe in something. Like, I’d prefer Beyoncé didn’t do a Pepsi tour. Do not take two million dollars from Pepsi and be a role model for young girls. Do not do that. That stuff does anger me. And I feel like I am not afraid to talk about that stuff.”
Well, Vernon’s comments are highly hypocritical considering he starred in a campaign advertising Bushmills whiskey back in 2011. But, leave it to a straight white dude to criticize one of the most successful black musicians of our generation.
Vernon continued, complaining about the role of artists and their responsibility to listeners: “Playing a lot of shows, realising that playing shows for Live Nation is just bullsh-t and f-ck that. I grew up loving bands like the Indigo Girls, and they stood for something, doing benefit shows and talking about sh-t, and changing culture or changing people’s mindsets and raising awareness. What’s music for? It’s not about having a bunch of CDs.”
When Vernon says “changing people’s mindsets and raising awareness...” does he mean, like, using one of the largest platforms in modern music to take a stand against the senseless killings of black men, women, and children at the hands of police officers? Does he mean, like, using one of the most viewed television events of all time to declare yourself a feminist?
I mean, I’m sure it’s hard to build a log cabin, lock yourself into it, and produce Grammy Award-winning albums, but Vernon has accomplished nothing compared to Beyoncé in terms of social justice efforts, and until he accumulates half the praise, money, and audience she has, he should shut up and get back inside the cabin.