After watching the Lemonade visual album on Tidal or HBO last night, I'm sure we can all agree that Lemonade is as black as the video for "Formation" and is yet another love letter to black girls. As the SNL skit about white America's online response to "Formation"points out, Beyoncé has always been black, but in 2016 her videos have been like, "Black girls? Hey girl heeeey! I see you!" I'm here for it. I know y'all didn't miss the Malcolm X audio from his speech where he says,
"The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman."
If you disagree with that quote, or Beyoncé's use of the quote, or don't get why that's important to her fans or fans of this project or just important in general, then Lemonade is just not for you and that's ok. Everything is not for everybody. Yes, the themes in Lemonade are universal, but based on the visuals, this is for us. But y'all can come too, though.
I don't know if Lemonade was inspired by Beyoncé's own experience, her mom's experience or the shared experiences of women in committed relationships who have survived infidelity, but it's definitely about black love and the survival of black love in concert with female self-love and self-preservation. It's a different message from what we usually hear when infidelity threatens to end a committed relationship. We know all the songs about leaving and being strong and independent. Beyoncé sang most of them. We often leave with brokenness and having lost some of our sanity, trust in love and maybe in ourselves. Beyoncé has a few years of marriage and motherhood under her garter belt and she is sharing real wisdom in Lemonade.
In the Lemonade visual album, with her songs woven together using spoken word, Beyoncé explores pain and redemption and forgiveness and survival in love relationships. Infidelity will make you come out of your natural self with jealousy and you won't care if you look crazy or jealous and you'll hope you look crazy because everybody involved needs to know you crazy. lol After "Pray You Catch Me" [snooping and eavesdropping], in "Hold Up", Beyoncé says, between looking jealous or crazy, she'd rather be crazy. We can't keep losing our minds behind these negros. In "All Night" she talks about the power of true love and how it can get you through the hardest obstacles and back on the way to a better love. She says if the love is real, nothing can threaten it. Right before the "All Night" performance, in footage from Grandma Hattie's 90th birthday celebration, Mama Hattie says, as Blue Ivy peeks from behind the curtain, she has been through some things and she was given lemons, but she made lemonade. Beyoncé gives us the recipe for lemonade too, literally and figuratively. I made a mental note to add the zest.
So step one, examine your relationship and if he's not playing, if the love is real, it might be worth it to start a path towards redemption and reconciliation. Nobody's here for staying to put up with relentless, disrespectful behavior. However, if he's showing you his scars, maybe take the painful road to redemption. She said teach your daughters and they will teach their daughters, and so on. Form truly loving relationships and put in work to make them strong and keep them strong. That includes willingness to ask for forgiveness and to forgive, which can be harder than tap dancing barefoot on a beach full of washed up jellyfish and scorpions. But it can strengthen a union so much. A unified, loving black family is the dream, and it's a beautiful thing. I could go into how hard the United States government's "war on poverty" and "war on drugs" have worked to break up black families, because a strong black family creates a powerful black people and we can't have that in America. Every leader black or white that has caused a swell of movement of black people in a positive direction has been murdered, from Lincoln to Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. and y'all know everybody else in between. It's not a coincidence. There is a real fear of a strong, unified black community in this country and the black family is the foundation. But that's another conversation for another post. I bet Beyoncé knows about it though. Lemonade features black women, young and old, affected by the unjust and unjustified deaths of their black men due to racism. Recommended reading: The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. I digress.
In 2016, Beyoncé said she gave y'all enough songs to dance to. Formation was fun and the choreography was life, but it's time for y'all to watch, listen, then discuss amongst yourselves how we as black women are going to get in formation and recognize true love, fight for love, have these kids and raise a black nation strong in love and in self-love. Love self and love each other and love these black babies and let's rise.
I like where her projects are headed. I'm here for the evolution of Beyoncé.
Also, the visuals in this production deserve their own blog post. What I will say about them is I just want to wear a black leotard and heels and twerk and seductively massage the floor with my body at the foot of Beyoncé's throne with Serena Williams and wear a white vintage gown and join Beyoncé and Amandla nem in the bayou and chop cabbages and sit in trees and be witchy and renew my feminine power.