Beyoncé sparks debate among LGBTQ+ fans after performance in Dubai

24 January 2023, 12:53

By Sam Prance

People are questioning whether or not popstars should perform in countries where homosexuality is illegal.

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Beyoncé has sparked a viral debate among LGBTQ+ fans following her performance at the Atlantis The Royal hotel in Dubai.

Over the weekend (Jan 21), Beyoncé gave her first concert in over four years. Performing to a crowd of press and influencers at the Atlantis The Royal hotel in Dubai, Beyoncé sang some of her biggest hits alongside deep cuts from the likes of I Am... Sasha Fierce and The Lion King: The Gift. According to Forbes, Beyoncé was paid over $24 million for the private event.

The performance was met with critical acclaim from attendees. However, Beyoncé has been criticised for performing in the United Arab Emirates where homosexuality is illegal and it's now sparked a viral debate online as to whether or not artists should perform in Dubai. Stars such as Elton John, Kylie Minogue, Lady Gaga and Dua Lipa have all performed there.

READ MORE: Beyoncé Renaissance tour: Tickets, prices, presale, dates, setlist and everything you need to know

Beyoncé sparks debate among LGBTQ+ fans after performance in Dubai
Beyoncé sparks debate among LGBTQ+ fans after performance in Dubai. Picture: Mason Poole/Parkwood Media/Getty Images for Atlantis The Royal, Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Atlantis The Royal

Reacting to the divisive performance, journalist Douglas Greenwood tweeted: "No beef but I’m struggling to understand why Beyoncé, who has half a billion dollars, would accept 20 million dollars to make her debut performance of the Renaissance album, a record which lifts heavily from queer culture, in Dubai, a country where LGBT rights aren’t recognised."

Another person added: "Beyoncé doing a paid for press tour in Dubai doesn’t sit well with me especially with the influences for Renaissance being queer ballroom culture and it’s illegal and a death sentence to be gay in Dubai like ????"

Many people took issue with the fact that Beyoncé's recent album Renaissance takes direct inspiration from queer culture. However, Beyoncé didn't actually perform or debut any of her songs from Renaissance at the event.

People also compared Beyoncé's actions to David Beckham being paid millions to be an ambassador for Qatar for the 2022 football World Cup and beyond. However, Beyoncé was performing a one-off gig for a hotel and wasn't working with the UAE government.

Following the negative reaction people were quick to rush to Beyoncé's defence and question where people draw the line.

Ts Madison, who appears on Beyoncé' recent song 'Cozy', tweeted: "So y’all gone be mad At @Beyonce when she Perform on her tour in those US States that have anti LGBTQ laws in place? Or are you gone still get your tickets? The selective outrage is workin my #cozy nerves".

Someone else also tweeted: "white gays complaining about beyoncé performing in dubai… y’all only care about the lives of lgbt people who aren’t living in countries that homosexuality is legal when there’s a celeb going there. [sic]"

As people have pointed out, Dubai isn't the only country with anti-LGBTQ+ laws. Both the US and UK have multiple anti-trans laws. Should artists boycott performing in these countries?

Like a lot of online debates, there's nuance to the situation that can get lost in the character limit of a tweet.

As it stands, Beyoncé is yet to address the backlash to the performance. We shall update you if she does.

What do you think? Was Beyoncé right to perform in Dubai?

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