Words || Natalie Duru
Beyoncé’s poetry-like, audiovisual album entails mixed emotions of redemption and awe. From Formation to Lemonade, Queen Bey has proclaimed 2016 her year to slay not only physically, but politically and culturally. Many continue to Jam, Dab and even Twerk to the tune, however what lies underneath the captivating album is a redemptive message – a dedication to Black Women. Lemonade is a story rarely publicised by the media, which even people who are not black can learn and appreciate from.
Beyoncé presents the struggles of Black Women through a cycle of 11 parts: Intuition, Denial, Anger, Apathy, Emptiness, Accountability, Reformation, Forgiveness, Resurrection, Hope and Redemption. Lemonade is an incredibly woven poem, within the “Deep South” gothic setting of Louisiana. She portrays the challenges accompanied by pain, heartbreak, anger and depression. Lemonade shatters the assumption of an emotional story about the infidelity in her marriage, and instead conveys the flawed & complicated nature of relationships also referencing that of her parents in “Daddy Lessons”. It is undeniable she uses men as tools in the album with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Ezra Koenig, The Weeknd to name a few. Bey forces us to understand her intentions and exhibits a raw version of herself, a version never been exposed. A scorned woman is sweet and resentful “grief sedated by orgasm, orgasm heightened by grief.”
Irrespective of whom “Becky with the good hair” is, Bey represents the image of black women viewed as undesirable, unattractive and unable to be loved passionately- viewed as nothing but exotic and sexual beings. The qualities of “good hair” signifies hair politics within the black community. The texture of a black woman’s hair has rarely been intriguing or desired in the socially contrasted idealism of beauty in the Eurocentric standard.
Lemonade pays homage to the African culture through allusions of African deities and traditions. Quotes from the 7 stages of being lonely for “women difficult to be loved” by Somali-Brit poet Warsan Shire’s poetry to Yoruba Ori body arts by Nigerian artist Laolu Senbanjo’s which showcases the ascendance from anger to healing.
Additionally, Blue Ivy’s presence serves as a symbolism of pain, caused towards children by adults despite their innocence. Despite the dark realities, viewers were presented with bright scenes of Serena Williams in “sorry” twerking to her loathers and an angelic moment of Michela Deprince in “freedom.”
Lemonade captures African tribalism and the different experiences of black women conveyed through various music genres creating a setting to nourish Black women to believe more in our love, strength and beauty.
“The most disrespected person in America is the black woman, the most unprotected is the black woman” – Malcolm X.