Okay, can we just talk about this for a minute? More than a minute. I. am. in. awe.
If for some odd reason you haven’t listened to or watched it yet and don’t know what I’m referring to – I don’t know what rock you’ve been living under for the past week but honey, you need to come out and smell the fresh air!
Beyonce’ dropped Lemonade on 4/23, and the Beyhive has been buzzing (and stinging) ever since. Whether you understood and appreciated the true meanings of this amazing body of work, or got lost in the sauce and are convinced that Jay-Z should be beheaded for betraying the queen, there is one thing everyone can agree on — the emotions this visual album ignites are intense, to say the least. The powerful impact it possesses can literally bring one to tears.
I’m currently burning the midnight oil on this Friday morning of 4/29, and after a week of refusing to listen to anything BUT Lemonade and just letting it resonate, I am finally getting a chance to sit down and write this out.
Let’s start with the basics. The main themes: pain, anger, forgiveness, heartbreak, confidence, rebellion, courage, self-respect, healing, vulnerability, joy, passion, and of course the end-all be-all, love.
Before we begin, disclaimer: listening to the album alone without first actually watching it may be a mistake. I find that people who’ve done this are a little lost. It’s much easier to understand and piece together the full body of work once you’ve already watched it firsthand. And besides that, let’s be real, watching it is just an amazing experience altogether… so why wouldn’t you indulge?
The music. The cameos. The culture. The collaborations. The emotion. The poetry. The lyrics. The Black girl magic. The strength. The imagery. Beautiful.
My overall takeaway: All of the lemons Black people, and even further, Black women (and women in general) are faced with… yet we always find a way out of what seems like no way, to make lemonade. Powerful.
What Bey has successfully done is create an awe-inspiring montage of the ‘secret life of the Black woman.’ Ups, downs and everything in between, including relationships with parents and even effects of parents’ relationships with each other on children. So many issues touched, while equally paying homage to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, featuring the mothers of slain Black teens Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown and Eric Garner.
I found that if you’re consuming it correctly, every time you listen you understand it a little more. Like a puzzle, piece by piece. As a young Black woman, Bey had me feeling even more lucky and empowered to be exactly who I am, showcasing a range of beautifully radiant Black queens in every shade, shape and age. Winning AF.
Fast forward to what’s current — if you still haven’t caught up on the latest or are still stuck deciphering what exactly you think went on behind the creation of Lemonade, here’s the scoop. According to The Breakfast Club, information was received from a source very close to Beyonce’ and Jay-Z that confirmed it is indeed a “direct reflection” of real things they’ve been through in their relationship within the past few years. To this I say: Duh. Whoever was arguing that this was all fictional and made up for “marketing purposes” and to “just make more money” or whatever else, should seriously re-evaluate and clearly needs to sit down and watch the entire video again. Do you really think Bey and Jay just needed “extra money?” Or a “boost” in publicity for that matter? C’mon now, people. Get real. Yes, conflict helps to sell more albums (I guess), but this is music’s first billionaire couple we’re talking about for goodness sake. That’s not nothing.
I knew from the moment I started watching it that nobody could erupt such deeply genuine and transparent emotion inside of a woman, like that of a man she truly loved who broke her heart. I am however, extremely relieved that they have since moved past all of their issues and worked it out for the sake of true love (as successful couples do! Every couple goes through some sh*t, ESPECIALLY at a certain status when you’re constantly in the public eye). I know Beyonce’ must be relieved to have finally been able to create a body of work that exudes confidence yet reveals her vulnerability and showcases that at the end of the day, she’s human and still just a woman… like any other woman. I imagine it felt so liberating to create art that also helped clear the mind. Jay is a true believer in self expression and was 100% supportive of the project, “humbled” by their personal experiences and understanding of this art being a result of her pain. He knew everything before release – the music, all the lyrics, the implications, the whole 9. The point is, Beyonce’ and Jay-Z as a unit are not going anywhere. Get over it.
I continue to respect their marriage because more than anything, they are very private about their relationship. Even now, she only decided to release this after they’ve “healed” and the storm is seemingly over. That’s one reason, no doubt, that they even made it through. Time will only tell if they’ll truly last forever… but so far they’ve done a pretty good job of keeping the dirty laundry in the hamper. Smart couples know this is the key to success. Moving on!
Bey, I’m sure I speak for many when I say I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed witnessing your evolution. This is your best work yet. Thank you. Thank you for constantly embodying Black excellence, and for coming down to an extremely humane and vulnerable level to express and pour out your genuine life experiences, trials, and victories in order to relate to your fellow queens. It has enriched us all. Bless!
If you have yet to do so, I strongly urge you to purchase this visual album. Just for the experience the consumption of the visual provides, if nothing else. And if you’ve already been in line at the lemonade stand asking for another cup along with the rest of us, what did you think?
*photos (obviously) do not belong to me.*