All Hail Queen Bey! With her second visual album, singer Beyonce´Knowles-Carter has slayed us all once again.
On April 23, at 10 P.M. the 34-year-old Houston, Texas native debuted her sixth album, Lemonade, after the one hour long video that was more like a small film was aired on HBO.
The album is a collection of emotions swimming in accusations of infidelity, and wrapped in feminism as well as black women’s empowerment. The visual artistry in “Lemonade” is a depiction of the psyche of “the most disrespected and the most unappreciated person in the world”, the black woman.
“You can taste the dishonesty, it’s all over your breath” these words are the first of many stabs at the rumors of her husband, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter”s infidelity.
In the painfully too familiar ballad, “Pray You Catch Me”, Bey describes her ‘intuition’ and how she “prays to catch him whispering and prays he catches her listening” so she does not have to wonder if her husband is cheating, her every word dripping with desperation. The visual adaptation sets us in tall grass as if to obscure the view of what is actually happening right in front of the naked eye; this is also the only display of the songstress alone in the mini movie.
Tying the album together were the poems of Warsan Shire, a 27-year-old Somali-British poet. Shire’s poetry caught Beyonce´s eye with it’s destructively, beautiful content on womanhood and the immigrant experience.
The poems featured on this album are from Shire’s Warsan Versus Melancholy: The Seven Stages of Being Lonely. Denial and frustration come in the form of a baseball bat and a monster truck as the queen practices her swing and throws a subliminal at masculinity as she violently crushes American muscle cars.
She channels novelist Toni Morrison with her “unwillingness to privilege white people” as the very few Caucasians seen in the background are really not seen at all. She also terms “You better call Becky with the good hair” which blatantly and unapologetically refers to a white woman and questions their true intentions with lines like “Let’s imagine for a moment that you…. never had the baddest woman up in the game in your sheets, would they be down to ride?”, in the second song on the album, “Hold Up”.
“Don’t Hurt Yourself “ outlines the cycle of pain informing a man that when he hurts his woman he is inadvertently hurting himself “When you play me, you play yourself. Don’t play yourself.” She continues on her bat of anger consistently asking “Who the f*** do you think I is?”.
Apathy depicted in “Sorry” which a funky, upbeat song letting men know women are not thinking about you after you hurt them, they’re concern is preserving themselves and the children ‘sorry not sorry’.
Searching for reasons to stay but finding more reasons to leave brought the visual to emptiness in a twenties, jazz-rock collaboration entitled “6 Inch” with The Weekend.
The chilling, realization in “Daddy Lessons” comes like a cool breeze of epiphany as she reaches accountability. Dancing to the coolest country-blues song of 2016 she forced the world to confront the generational mistreatment of women. In an effort of reformation she declares “you’re my lifeline and you’re trying to kill me” as she tries to put band aids over her wounds. But her velvety chorus entrances listeners in an air of hopefulness.
“We build sandcastles that washed away. I made you cry as I walked away.” She croons pleading with herself and declaring to her trespassers ‘I forgive you’. “ And although I promised that I couldn’t stay baby. Every promise, don’t work out that way.”
“Forward” is just as it reads. In the adaptation, her “resurrection” is the product of a cleansing by a Native American, dressed in ritual attire. With new found self affirmation, Bey teams up with Kendrick Lamar to make a powerful fight song! A song for women like Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother also featured in “Lemonade”.
“All Night” gives us a glimpse into a hopeful future “They say true love is the greatest weapon to win the war caused by pain.” Redemption is the last stage in this gift to women of color everywhere.
“Lemonade is about the love that black women have- the love that threatens to kill us, makes us crazy and makes us stronger than we should ever have to be,” said Ijeoma Olu, The Guardian.