Beyoncé’s highly anticipated documentary “Life Is But a Dream” premiered on HBO this past weekend and it seemed as though all of social media was tuned in. Both fans and critics seemed equally intrigued at the chance to see a little “behind the veil,” and get a glimpse of what life must be like for one of the world’s biggest superstars. There were moments of refreshing honesty and others that reeked of staged “regular girl” pandering, as to be expected. And, of course, some were enthralled by any and every mundane detail of “being Bey,” while others were repulsed by what they felt was just empty fawning over yet another celebrity they’ve deemed “overrated.”

But one consistent source of biting humor and scathing criticism was her voice.

Not that force she unleashes during resort concerts, halftime performances and award show tributes. No. Her speaking voice. The decidedly unrefined, quietly unassuming voice that you hear in interviews and that you heard during voice-overs throughout “Life Is But a Dream.”

Beyoncé was famously mocked by talk show host Wendy Williams for sounding “like she has a fifth grade education,” late last year when the documentary was announced. And the Twittersphere was overrun with criticism ranging from “She sounds so dumb” to “I wouldn’t be shocked if she was illiterate.”

Are we overstating here? Or worse — are we bashing one of the world’s most famous women for daring to sound like — gasp! — a girl from Houston?

Stereo Williams

Todd "Stereo" Williams, entertainment writer based in New York City. He co-founded Thirty 2 Oh 1 Productions, an indie film company.

  • lwc30326

    Give me
    a break !

    Yes, she is “Southern”, but she’s a long way from “stupid”. In
    many ways she reminds one of Paula Deen. She’s also very Southern, but is she
    stupid ?

    Both women have been very clever in the way they have handled
    their businesses, their lives, and their men.

    Beyoncé speaks very much
    like my mother, aunts, grandmother and many of the women I grew up
    with in Houston, most of whom are intelligent, college educated

  • SpartanW

    I had never heard about this before today when I searched it, and my wife pointed it out when we were looking at her documentary. Beyonce can sing, sure, but she can’t speak eloquently at all. She sounds like a kid.

    • Regan Purdy

      Ha – correction ya’ll, it’s not her voice that makes her sounds stupid, it’s her choices that maker her actually stupid. Everything she’s been doing lately equal immature and yes, stupid. Can’t argue that.

  • Elaine

    Leave Bey alone! God don’t like “UGLY”

  • Julz

    In case you were too busy digging up b.s. about Beyonce and over looked my tweet:

    @RollingOut Beyoncé sounding ‘stupid’ or ‘southern’? Really now— it’s obvious YOU understood her… How you keep climbing in her windows, snatching her and her people up… got her and her family cut/copy & pasted all over your website… if she’s talking stupid, at least it’s not outta both sides of her mouth.#drymouth #youthirsty

  • Legalempress

    It is amazing to me that all the media can cover is negativity spreading over social media. Being southern is no way related to being stupid. Many successful people are southern they just moved from the south to another state. Everyone has their own dialect and now everyone want to pound on Beyoncé for her southern dialect. Give me a break… That is why this world is in so much turmoil, all people like to do is criticize and/or destroy others. If you listen to people from New York, New Jersey, and Boston to name a few, it is clear to see that the different dialect, voice tone, etc., is what makes each person unique. Everyone has their own uniqueness in their voice– why is it that a southern dialect has to be associated with being stupid.

  • jjjjjf,gfsrfghkdjtrdfygtukj

    Justin is so stupid. what do people like about him?

  • Richard Sr

    It might sound funny or even awkward to many in and associated with social media, but you sound like a bunch of jealous children. How can you fix your mouth to ridicule somebody when you mispronounce almost every word coming out of your mouth in a live conversation? I know you have a fun job because all you do everyday is sit around and look for fault in people. But when people find fault in you; it make you very upset and immediately you go on the defensive. The majority of you not only sound stupid but “you look like the idiots you really are!” I believe it’s called “functionally eliterate.” You can’t even begin to do the things this Southen Bell has already done and been recognized all over the world, so you have to make some noise so people will know you’re somewhere in the area. Its not your accent that makes you who you are. I dare you to stop acting like big babies and give this highly respected Black woman, wife, mother and multifacited patron of the arts; her proper respect!

  • Anonymous

    Beyonce is a very ambitious and savvy businesswoman, but let’s not get it twisted: there are grade-schoolers who are more eloquent and articulate than she is — girlfriend can barely formulate a coherent sentence! Wendy Williams (despite being a hot mess herself) was just being brutally honest when she made her biting remark. And even though Beyonce’s manner of speaking may be a reflection of where she grew up, I doubt she’s harboring any sort of genuine intellect underneath her precious pageant-girl smile. Yes, she’s got an insatiable appetite for success. But I’d be willing to bet she’s a lousy conversationalist.

    • Ran Wise

      Yes, there is a big difference between a southern accent and a limited vocabulary. This chick doesn’t seem like she’s even read a book in her life. Not even a fiction novel.

  • dood

    Beyonce is a Public Relations nightmare whenever she opens that stupid ass mouth to do anything but sing. She should really just shut the fuck up and shake her fatass and look pretty cuz thats all she’s really good at. The only reason she is famous is because she is light skinned and a bridge between the races. Black people worship her cause she is everything they wish they could be. Light skinned, pretty, rich and nearly white. If she were 3 shades darker she would be as famous as every other Hip Hop slut like rasheeda or tameka or bonquita…

  • whorsieface

    There is nothing wrong with Beyonces’ voice. She is obviously not dumb, as she writes her own music. Anyone listen to her music? I think Beyonce is well aware of the cruel criticisms from the public. If she says one wrong word, it will be twisted into her, Jayz and the girl at the minimart being involved a love triangle. She has to be careful of what she shares. I’m sure that would be stressful for anyone in her position. If you ask me, she has not only shown that she is intelligent but that she is mature beyond her years by keeping the press out of her personal business.

    Dood says that Beyonce is a publicist nightmare? Not true. I can’t think of one publicist that wouldn’t die to have Beyonce as a client. If you don’t broadcast all of your business – Beyonce doesn’t -There is nothing for a publicist to clean up. In fact, I think the Interview that caused all of the pregnancy rumors was her publicist doing. Remember the red dress that her pregnant stomach dropped in? Lol. I had no idea she was coming out with this documentary.. Otherwise, that fiasco would have made a lot more sense. I only watched the documentary to see her pregnant. I’m sure I wasn’t alone.

    • Jordan

      She doesn’t write her own music. In fact, she has been caught taking credit for songs. She just puts her name on songs because she’s the boss.

      • Ran Wise

        Yeah, Jordan. Like “Bootylicious” was something Snoop Dogg said in one of his songs on the album “Chronic” I remember hearing that way back in the early 90s. But she claims she made it up. GTFOH! She’s the most plagiarist person out there. I think Queen Gossip hasn’t realy been listening.

    • Ran Wise

      She copies and pastes other people’s music. Didn’t you know this girl is the biggest copycat ever?

  • Jiji

    She doesnt reallt make sense during the interviews tho …she uses “empowering women” in almost every answer. ..shes talented but..

  • Ran Wise

    No! I know many Southern people who do not sound illiterate. It’s not the accent. It’s not her “voice” per se. It is her grammar. Plain and simple. She sounds like she’s 8 and hasn’t gone through school yet. She sounds like someone that does very little reading. Her vocabulary seems extremely limited. Come on! Most people aren’t stupid. They know the difference between sounding illiterate and sounding southern. ba-ha!

  • steelcitychick

    Yeah…she’s about as stupid as it gets. She can’t form a complete sentence, she sounds like she’s about 16 yrs old when she talks. …yeah it’s not about being from the south. ..she’s just STUPID!