Lifetime kicked off Black History Month with The Gabby Douglas Story, in which the Olympian says Beyoncé inspired her. Beyoncé and her husband Jay Z’s usual notoriety has been eclipsed lately by heated reactions to Bey’s new album and to the couple’s Grammys performance, which sparked questions about Beyoncé’s feminist status and charges that the song “Drunk in Love” endorses domestic violence.

What lessons can Beyoncé and Jay Z offer us as we enter Black History Month?

The recent criticism of this influential pair can help move us toward a more complex understanding of how race, class, and gender intersect in contemporary popular culture.

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