Beyoncé’s Lemonade album has inspired former music video model Karrine Steffans—famous for writing the groupie Holy Grail tell-all Confessions of a Video Vixen in 2005—to reflect on her past life as a “Becky.”
In an essay for xoJane published today, Steffans writes about the dilemma of being a “Becky” to famous men before becoming a wife herself. More specifically, she was the “Becky with the good hair,” which we’re being forced to accept as the inescapable new nickname for side chicks thanks to Lemonade.
When Steffans—once better known as “Superhead” for obvious reasons—wrote about her affairs and sexual exploits with celebrities (Jay Z, Usher, Vin Diesel, etc.), she let everyone in on the shady lifestyles of famous cheating men. Here, in a long piece about her transition from side chick to married woman, she speaks on her experience hearing Lemonade and feeling a kinship with both Becky and Beyoncé.
“As I watched Lemonade, I heard a wife, a Beyoncé, cry about a Becky,” Steffans writes. “I resonated with how she felt as a woman who was promised forever and faithfulness only to have these notions dashed by a woman, or women—by ‘Becky with the good hair.’”
Yes, this otherwise thoughtful essay about a woman’s internal reckoning with past decisions—and the idea of how art can inspire that—is ruined by the pervasion of “Becky.”
Steffans’ most famous exploit may have been the one she had with Jay Z at 21, an experience she also detailed in her book. On xoJane, she writes:
Over 15 years ago, I had Beyoncé’s husband.
Yes, I was one of Jay Z’s Beckys back in the year 2000 for about three minutes, which is about as long it takes me to satisfy a man in the back of a Maybach while overlooking the beaches of Malibu.
Steffans makes it clear their encounter (a quickie blowjob in a car) happened way before Beyoncé was in the picture:
This was pre-Yoncé, of course, but the fact is that a Becky is a Becky, and I was the Becky for many men, and they were all my salvation and my destitution. They were my reason and my rationale, my life and my death, and eventually, my fame and my infamy.
This long Becky opus continues with Steffans explaining her transition to married life via three marriages, including her most recent toxic relationship with Columbus Short. She describes him as an alcoholic and cheater and writes:
I still wonder if I should have saved my marriage at any cost, no matter how much it hurt me.
I wonder if I could be Beyoncé.
I saw my role. I saw hers. I saw an endless march of Beckys who can never be stopped no matter the rage, no matter the brilliance of the lyrical vein cutting.
While watching this incredible visual album, Steffans says she had a revelation:
I witnessed as she went through the same stages I’ve gone through and am still traversing through as a wife, and the stages I have contributed to as a Becky.
Until Lemonade, I thought these two women were mutually exclusive but quickly realized they are not and are, in fact, often the same woman.
Despite the essay’s execution being questionable, Steffans has a valuable perspective as a woman who’s been on both sides, like many women:
There is a stigma attached to the other woman, the side piece. There is this notion that her position alone warrants shame but, honestly, I don’t see the difference. Becky may not have him all the time but what she gets of him is usually more honest, for he fears not being judged and there are no consequences, no higher standard, no vows to uphold.
With Becky, he can be free.
(WE HAVE CREATED A BECKY MONSTER WHAT HAVE WE DONE)
Steffans ends the essay:
I am Becky with the good hair. I am Beyoncé. I am the keeper of secrets, the betrayer of women, the confessor of my sins, the owner of my secrets, lies and salvations. I have traded in my Scarlet A for a Scarlet Bey.
Because we are all Becky with the good hair. Every last one of us.
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