“Thanks, Beyoncé, but if we’re verbing, I think you meant ‘Bill Clinton-ed all on my gown,'” Monica Lewinsky wrote in a May 2014 essay for Vanity Fair, referencing a NSFW line in the pop star’s 2013 song “Partition.” In the song, which describes a steamy tryst that takes place in the back of a limo, the Grammy winner sings, “He popped all my buttons, and he ripped my blouse / He Monica Lewinsky-ed all on my gown.”
The line was a reference to former President Clinton’s 1998 affair with the London School of Economics and Political Science graduate, who was a White House intern at the time. Clinton was impeached as a result of the scandal, while Lewinsky became a punch line for decades.
The activist brought the track to fans’ attention again in August 2022 after Beyoncé changed the lyrics in her song “Heated” to remove an ableist slur. “Uhmm, while we’re at it… #Partition,” Lewinsky wrote via Twitter at the time.
Renaissance, Beyoncé’s first solo album since 2016’s Lemonade, was met with multiple critiques following its July 2022 release. Just one day before the album dropped, Kelis slammed the “Crazy In Love” singer for using a sample of her 2003 hit “Milkshake” without permission. “My mind is blown too because the level of disrespect and utter ignorance of all 3 parties involved is astounding,” the cookbook author explained via Instagram at the time. “I heard about this the same way everyone else did. Nothing is ever as it seems, some of the people in this business have no soul or integrity and they have everyone fooled.”
Explaining that she felt the move was “offensive,” Kelis continued: “It’s not about me being jealous. It has to do with the fact that, from one artist to another, you should have the decency and common sense and the courtesy to call. … There are [bullies] and secrets and gangsters in this industry that smile and get away with it until someone says enough is enough.”
It’s not just Beyoncé’s albums that have raised eyebrows, either. In 2016, those with conservative political views claimed that the “Halo” singer’s performance of “Formation” at the Super Bowl — which featured Beyoncé and her backup dancers wearing Black Panther-inspired ensembles — fostered anti-police sentiments. “I mean, I’m an artist and I think the most powerful art is usually misunderstood,” she told Elle in April 2016 about the reaction to her music. “But anyone who perceives my message as anti-police is completely mistaken. I have so much admiration and respect for officers and the families of the officers who sacrifice themselves to keeps us safe.
The Texas native continued: “I hope I can create art that helps people heal. Art that makes people feel proud of their struggle. … Everyone experiences pain but sometimes you need to be uncomfortable to transform.”
Keep scrolling to relive more of the Queen Bey’s most controversial career moments: