Valuing silence among celebrities

Queen Bey has the world of pop culture all abuzz today, per usual. But this time it isn’t because of something she did, but rather, something she didn’t do.

She didn’t say a single word.

The “Drunk In Love” superstar graced the world with her presence on the cover of the September issue of Vogue, which hit stands this week. With a teaser caption “The art of global domination,” the magazine includes a spread of elegant and undeniably sexy photos of Beyoncé paired with an essay by Margo Jefferson about Beyoncé’s infinite star power. Beyoncé, however, didn’t contribute any words to the story, coming away as the first Vogue cover celebrity in over five years to not participate in an interview.

Beyoncé’s silence is nothing new. The New York Times reported that in May, a member of Bey’s team noted that despite numerous appearances, she had not answered a direct question in more than a year. And while she still continues to make headlines on a daily basis, this time Beyoncé’s silence is being particularly recognized.

Silence is a rare commodity in the glitz and glam of Hollywood, and in modern society as a whole. With countless forms of social media blowing up our phones and entertainment news quenching our thirst for the latest celebrity gossip, it’s curious and noticeable when celebrities shy away from the spotlight. Perhaps that silence, though, makes what is eventually said that much more important.

“Communicating verbally and then being silent are both vitally important. They form two parts of a whole that we dance between,” Bob Edelstein, an Existential-Humanistic psychotherapist, said in a column in Psychology Today. “The verbal communication expresses to the world what is going on inside of us. The silence, the gap between our talking, if it is valued, will allow us to digest what we just said and to discover what we want to say next as it emerges in the present moment.”

Emma Watson has exemplified how silence and carefully weighing ones words can have a profound impact. Last year, Watson went on a silent retreat, void of social interaction and technology, and focused on herself. Surrounded by silence.

In the year since her quiet getaway, Watson’s words have struck chords around the world, not just due to her celebrity status, but because of the eloquent, educated and inspiring messages she’s conveyed. From her speech on feminism and gender equality at the United Nations to, most recently, her support for gay rugby player Keegan Hirst, Watson has used the power of her voice to inspire change.

It could be said that spending time in silence helped lead Watson to such empowering thoughts and words.

“Silence creates an atmosphere, not only that is so much more intensive, but it’s actually so liberating,” said Sharon Salzberg of Insight Meditation Society in an interview with NPR. “It’s like we can leave behind so much of what we feel we need to present to others about ourselves and that kind of social dynamic and it just frees us up to explore very fully the different domains within.”

Some celebrities, however, haven’t quite understood how liberating silence can be. Take Kim Kardashian for example.

Unlike Beyoncé who effortlessly makes headlines even without uttering a word, Kim Kardashian makes headlines on a daily basis because she can’t seem to stop. In the last few months alone, Kim has appeared on Live with Kelly and Michael in May, was the main story and cover model for Glamour and Rolling Stone’s July issues, talked gun control, feminism and politics at a Commonwealth Club of California event in San Francisco, and just last week caused a stir with her nude, pregnant selfie and comments on body shaming.

Unfortunately, neither silence nor constant publicity seem to earn praise in pop culture. Too much talking leads to twisted stories and criticism, and silence causes people to think something’s being hidden from the public.

Regardless, silence should be appreciated. It’s reinvigorating, reflective and necessary. In some ways, silence holds more power than words. It allows the words that are spoken to carry more meaning and to be more noticed.

I think Beyoncé’s silence is impressive. What do you think?

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