Work It Got Me Fired Up So Let’s Settle This: It’s Not “Queen Bay” & It Never Has Been

PHoto: Courtesy of Netflix.
Towards the end of Netflix's new teen-dance-comedy Work It, lead character Quinn (Sabrina Carpenter) says a prayer ahead of her big dance competition. "Beyoncé," she says kneeling at her bedside. "Queen Bey. I pray that you make my feet swift tomorrow. May my flow be precise and may my moves have swagger. In the name of the 'Single Ladies' video, the Lemonade short film, and the Netflix special Homecoming, I pray."
It is silly. It is kind of cringe-y. It has the requisite Netflix shoutout. And it has one big problem: Quinn says "Queen bay." As if "Bey" is pronounced "bay" and not "bee." In the words of Beyoncé, "Ring the alarm! I been through this too long!"
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The madness needs to stop. Beyoncé's nickname is Queen Bey, pronounced "bee." Period. It just makes sense, but because I'm fired up I'm going to spell out the two major reasons why.
First, her name is pronounced Bee-oncé. We know this. No one (I hope) is going around calling her Bay-oncé, so why the heck would the pronunciation change when her name is shortened to a nickname? Maybe "bey" looks like it'd be pronounced like "bay" on its own, but this is someone's actual name, a proper noun. Not, according to the Dictionary.com definition of "bey", "a provincial governor in the Ottoman Empire."
Second, the nickname is based around the fact that "Queen Bey" sounds the same as "Queen Bee," you know, a thing that actually exists. Queen bees are the head of the hive — more on the beehive in a second, 'cause damn, people are really blinding themselves to the obvious truth here — and a queen bee is also the term for the leader of a social group. All of this adds up for the nickname for a hugely popular singer whose name, remember is pronounced "Bee-oncé." What is a "queen bay"? Nothing. It's nothing.
All the lingo around Beyoncé and her fans falls apart if we call her "Queen Bay." The Bay-hive? It's beehive. That's a thing! As noted by PopSugar, in 2012, Beyoncé posted a vocabulary guide on her website with words including "Beyhive" (her fans), "pollen" (information), "wasps" (haters), and "Queen Bey" (Beyoncé). Sure, they didn't all catch on — even Beyoncé can't win 'em all — but clearly, there is a bee theme. Not a bay leaf theme or a "bae" theme or a theme devoted to provincial governors in the Ottoman Empire.
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PopSugar also notes that Beyoncé once wore a sweatshirt in an Instagram post that reads "queen bee," which is further evidence that she recognizes the connection between her nickname and bees.
Currently, Beyoncé sells merch on her site that further speaks to the correct pronunciation of "bey." There is a "beyloved" (beloved, not bay-loved) T-shirt and a "beysearch" (like, research, not ray-search) bodysuit. There is stuff with bees on it for crying out loud.
So, yeah, this doesn't have a whole lot to do with the movie Work It, which is really just a typical teen dance rom-com about a girl who has to enter a dance competition in order to get into Duke University. There's quite a bit about the plot that doesn't make sense, and there was no reason for the pronunciation of Queen Bey to be another perplexing moment. It could maaaaybe be argued that the character Quinn doesn't know the right pronunciation of Queen Bey because she doesn't care about music at the start of the movie, but she's, apparently, seen Lemonade and Homecoming and is willing to literally pray to Beyoncé, so no excuses.
Either way, Work It did set up a learning opportunity for anyone on team Queen Bay: You're wrong. And that's the pollen, wasps.
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