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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Ain’t I a Diva? Beyoncé and the Power of Pop Culture Pedagogy is a work of non-fiction focused on education and socio-political themes and was penned by author Kevin Allred. From a perspective of utilizing the power of pop culture and modern-day icons to examine a range of critical thoughts on feminism, race and modern life in general, Kevin Allred chooses the undeniable star power and influence of Beyoncé Knowles-Carter for his subject matter. Unpicking her lyrics, successes, failures, and influence against a background of writers from Black feminist thought and modern social and political shifts, we discover the true power of Beyoncé’s influence as a reflection of culture and a creator of culture.
I absolutely loved this book from start to finish for its acknowledgment that celebrity has real power in the world and is not something which academic thinkers should turn away from in distaste. Author Kevin Allred presents the old favorites from Bey’s career in the hindsight of social movements and changes that have occurred alongside them, as well as unpicking more recent lyrical endeavors against themes of empowerment, gender, mental health, and self-care. On top of this comes the pedagogical consideration of how this example of a pop icon can be used for the betterment and greater understanding of teaching and learning, which I also found to be highly compelling and effective. Overall, Ain’t I a Diva? Beyoncé and the Power of Pop Culture Pedagogy is an important work for educators looking at the social world and comes highly recommended.