Beyoncé dropped a bomb on us, again! As if we would expect anything else from the head of the Beyhive. We knew that soon enough Beyoncé would burst out with new music, something to scream along to in the club. New songs that we could relate to, new videos that we could learn routines to, hairstyles that we could duplicate( we all remember the ‘Upgrade You’ braid?). But this year, Beyoncé did something new. It’s been about three years since Beyonce’s last album, Beyoncé: The platinum edition; muva Bey had some time to reflect. Bey has had time to develop Lemonade. There’s always been speculation in regards to Beyonce’s marriage to Jay Z, naysayers questioned its sincerety, questioned if the couple were actually on the outs, and definitely questioned divorce rumors after the elevator fiasco in 2014! Although I do not personally know the Carters, I’m here to tell you that they are human. There isn’t a perfect relationship, there are trying times, anger and arguments, and then there’s lemonade. Carefully constructed, the entertainer released Lemonade this weekend on Saturday April 23rd, 2016. More than just an album, Beyoncé released a visual masterpiece to prove that ‘Lemonade’ is more than just a title. Narrated by Beyonce, the artist used the powerful words of poet Warsan Shire to bring her vision to life.
Artistically, lemonade is a gift to women, to black women, to wives, to women who have been in long relationships and have been hit with infidelity. The laws of marriage are simple, on paper, “I vow to honor and love you for as long as we both shall live, until death do us part.” The vows of marriage flows off the tongues of anxious love birds, but the reality that we neglect to see is that vows are made to spend your whole life working to perfect.
Of course we all want a faithful man, a happy relationship, glitter and jewels, peaches and cream and all of the thing that everyone would like to believe embodies love. But sometimes, marriage gives you lemons, marriage builds you up, makes you feel superior to the girls in love with love that have yet to feel what you felt on that special day. However, marriage has its down side.
Lemonade tells a story of infedelity, depression, heartache, resentment, revenge, acceptance, compromise and forgiveness. Compressed into an hours worth of musical masterpiece, whether fact or fiction, Beyoncé expressed truth. She expressed the trials that a wife expierences after finding out that her husband is cheating on her, the blow to her chest.
Each song was carefully composed and led into the following track piggybacking off of the record before. Beginning with “Pray you catch me,” and “Hold Up.” “What’s worse looking jealous or crazy? Or like, being walked all over lately? I’d rather be crazy.” Those records expresses ones initial denial when having an inkling that something isn’t right in their relationship.
Bey made several references to her father, Matthew Knowles, who’s most recently known for legal battles between himself and the mothers of his two new children. “Daddy Lessons,” is a country inspired record where Bey sings about how her father warned her to never fall for men like him. “My daddy warned me about men like you/He said baby girl he’s playing you/He’s playing you/Cause when trouble comes in town/And men like me come around/Oh, my daddy said shoot.”Around the middle of the album there’s “Love Drought” where Bey questions her husbands love for her. She asks “What did I do wrong,” she questions “If I wasn’t Bey would you still feel me? Or am I not thirsty enough?” Love drought leads into “Sand Castles,” a raw gritty record of a woman going through the emotional changes caused by heartache which leads her back to the man that she loves. “Show me your scars and I won’t walk away/I know I promised that I couldn’t stay/Every promise don’t work out that way.”
The album ends with some of the most powerful songs on the record and the song Freedom is one of them. Freedom is the straw that broke the camels back. Hope is expressed in Freedom, freedom from hurt, freedom from inequality. Kendrick Lamar is featured on the song, making the record that much more powerful. “Lord forgive me, I’ve been running/Running blind in truth/I’ma rain, I’ma rain on this bitter love/Tell the sweet I’m new.”
The album ties together with “All Night” and “Formation,” after all of the changes in hurt and love, love prevails. “Nothing real can be threatened.” Bey teaches us that of the love is pure, it cannot be broken. We are human, imperfect beings with the ability to restart and reinvent our relationships. Lemonade teaches us that it is ok to be hurt, it is ok to go through all of the anger that a woman must go through to regain her strength and reignite the fire in her relationship. Whether fact or fiction, marketing or truth, black women were praised, placed on a pedestal, and re-imaged through Lemonade. A shock wave was sent through the nation upon the viewing of the HBO special, and for once the most disrespected being in the nation was the most admired. Thank you Beyonce, for showing the world black girl magic, unapologetically!