After some will-they-or-won’t-they drama, Destiny’s Child reunited at the Super Bowl halftime show this evening. Fans of their early-aughts oeuvre were treated to snatches of their hits, including “Independent Women” and “Bootylicious.” It should have been an occasion for camaraderie, nostalgia, and rejoicing. Instead, Beyoncé—despite the fact that her success and fame have wildly outstripped those of our counterparts, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams; despite the fact that she married the best rapper in the world and then birthed the coolest baby; despite the fact that she was just last week invited to sing at Barack Obama’s second Inaugural and crushed the tricky national anthem (backing track or no, she sounded great)—chose to be stingy about sharing the spotlight with her former fellow Children.
First, she required a trick entrance: Rowland and Williams were thrust to the stage on springloaded platforms. Rowland, who has notched a few hit songs in recent years, handled her arrival with aplomb, but Williams, who has been focusing on theater, fumbled the pop concert stagecraft, wobbling like a Jack-in-the-Box crossed with the ghost of Billboard charts past.
But Beyoncé’s lack of magnaminity reached its peak as their medley came to its climax. Instead of launching into a full rendition of “Say My Name” or some other Destiny’s Child classic, she said “Kelly and Michelle, can y’all help me sing this one?” Kelly responded, “Sho’ nuff, baby,” and the trio launched into “Single Ladies,” Beyoncé’s solo hit—about how great it is to be solo. This was, as Dave Weigel tweeted, “Like Beatles reuniting and singing ‘Mull of Kintyre,’ ” Paul McCartney’s Wings classic.
Beyoncé, don’t shame Kelly and Michelle by dragging them back into the national spotlight and then making them sing the very song that shows what a culturally relevant force you still are, and what afterthoughts they have become! Be generous. Share the spotlight. You have so much.