The BeyHive (and much of music Twitter) swarmed songwriter Diane Warren’s account Monday after she asked, “How can there be 24 writers on a song?”The tweet was also accompanied by an eye-roll emoji The tweet was in reference to the credits on Beyoncé’s Renaissance standout, “Alien Superstar,”Which has the same number credited writers.
Other than some pointed responses about her AgeA red-carpet Moment with Mariah CareyThat is quite clear stung (no BeyHive pun intended), what resulted from Warren’s shade — whether intentional or not — was a public schooling on Black music history, the art of collaboration, and why the concept of artistic brilliance being a strictly solo endeavor is a “white, capitalistic, patriarchal idea.”
“I meant no disrespect by my tweet. I love Beyoncé’s new album,” Warren tells Rolling Stone. “She’s an amazing groundbreaking artist who I’ve worked with and admire immensely.”
She continues, “Every collaborator who worked on this record should be celebrated.”
At first, the replies to Warren’s initial tweet called out the veteran songwriter — who worked on Beyoncé’s “I Was Here” — for not understanding how sampling and crediting works. Warren would say that Warren was correct, despite the eye-roll emoji in her tweet “not meant as shade”And she was able to understand that “it’s prob samples that add up”The number of writers.
But, like the number of songwriters credited on Beyoncé’s song, the responses to her tweet started to add up, too. Warren sent this tweet hours after feuding against stan accounts: “I meant no disrespect to @Beyonce, who I’ve worked with and admire. I’m sorry for the misunderstanding.”
Okay, I didn’t mean to be disrespectful @Beyoncea friend and colleague I admire. Sorry about the confusion.
— Diane Warren (@Diane_Warren) August 1, 2022
You mean how’s does our (Black) culture have so many writers, well it started because we couldn’t afford certain things starting out,so we started sampling and it became an Artform, a major part of the Black Culture (hip hop) in America.Had that era not happen who knows. Are you good?
— MUSIC ICON THE-DREAM (@TheKingDream) August 1, 2022
But Twitter wasn’t having it. And neither were some Black creatives — including Renaissance‘s lead co-writer The-Dream — who found an issue with what seemed to him like a direct attack on Beyoncé.
“You mean [how] does our (Black) culture have so many writers,”The-Dream responded. “Well it started because we couldn’t afford certain things starting out, so we started sampling and it became an Artform, a major part of the Black Culture (hip hop) in America. Had that era not happen[ed], who knows. U good?”
He challenged her to a one on one writing contest. She said yes. “wouldn’t want that smoke”If it were possible. “You know I love you, but come on,” The-Dream wrote. “Stop acting like your records haven’t been sampled.”
Warren acknowledged that he didn’t know the history of sampling Black music. Send an email to The-Dream, “I didn’t mean that as an attack or as disrespect. I didn’t know this, thank U for making me aware of it. No need to be mean about it.”
Raquel Willis (activist and ex-executive editor of Twitter) was also a part of the twitter uproar. Out MagazineShe says she tweeted a thread on collaboration. “that many can’t flex.”
“It’s a white, capitalistic, patriarchal idea that brilliance solely happens in isolation,”Willis wrote. “We see what happens when people feel their work has been lifted without proper credit.”
We can see the consequences of people feeling their work is not properly credited. We need to be as open as possible about the forces behind what we create. When we aren’t, that could mean we aren’t as skilled.
— Raquel Willis (@RaquelWillis_) August 1, 2022
She then referred to the pushback Beyoncé faced from Kelis, who accused the singer of sampling “Milkshake”Without permission. “We should be as transparent as possible about all of the forces involved in what we create and when we aren’t it means maybe we aren’t as skilled as we think,”Willis wrote. “And, of course, proper credit should always come with proper compensation too.”
Monique Judge, a journalist, posted a thread on Twitter criticizing the way some people tried to reach Warren. She specifically criticized Warren’s inability to win an Oscar despite being nominated for many.
“People are telling her that since she doesn’t have the awards, her work is not great. This is a lie, and it contradicts the argument you like to throw up for your favorite Black artists who also don’t have awards,” Judge. “Y’all are really mean #OnHere a lot of the time. Like, was Diane being spicy? Probably. But did it warrant all of that? Probably not.”
Y’all are truly mean #OnHereIt happens all the time.
— first of all, bitch, … (@thejournalista) August 1, 2022
Regardless of Warren’s intentionality, and the commentary on whether the number of songwriters diminishes the value of what’s good, one thing’s for sure: RenaissanceIt’s a great album.
As Rolling StoneWill Dukes, reviewer, said it. “Beyoncé is more relatable than ever, giving listeners all the anthems and sultry slaps we love and have come to expect from her, proving that inclusivity is the new black.”
What about the people who wrote it? “Alien Superstar,” they are as follows: Beyoncé, Honey Redmond, Christopher Lawrence Penny, Luke Francis Matthew Solomon, Denisia Andrews, Brittany Coney, S. Carter, David Debrandon Brown, Dave Hamelin, Timothy Lee Mckenzie, Danielle Balbuena, Rami Yacoub, Leven Kali, Atia Boggs P/k/a Ink, Levar Coppin, Saliou Diagne, Mike Dean, Robert Francis Anthony Manzoli, Richard Peter John Fairbrass, Christopher Abbott Bernard Fairbrass, John Michael Holiday, Barbara Ann Teer, Kim Cooper, and Peter Rauhofer.