This past weekend Beyonce Carter, formally known as Beyonce Knowles, broke the airwaves and media streams alike as she dropped her magnificent visual album entitled Lemonade. In the days that have followed a ton of reviews, perspectives and insights have been offered. But most notably are the rustles in the wind which highlight Beyonce’s latest work of art as a opportunity she took to bash her husband Jay-Z, but I beg to differ! Beyonce, simply took the time to engage her audience and open herself up like she hasn’t in times past to show her connectivity and understanding to all women, rich or poor, American or international, domestic or independent.
First, let me start by saying I am a man and a very macho man at that. I’ve never really been one to engage or care much for celebrity couples but I can honestly say Beyonce and Jay-Z have caught my attention since they became a married couple. Why? Simply because of their status and significance in the Black community and more importantly, for the business acumen they possess. Both are genius entertainers and they have grown to embrace their social responsibility to offer insight on events that have been occurring in the world today. These two are much more than American stars, but are figures celebrated by the global community as a whole.
I say all this too lead to the fact that the people focused on what is going wrong in Camp Carter are all wrong. These are the individuals with perhaps their own issues of infidelity and mistrust. They are scavenging around for an opportunity to verify their feelings, but I’ll digress. Lemonade’s audio and visual appeal alludes to the beauty, perseverance and loving nature of black women as a collective and not the negativity and sophista-ratchedness most would want it to become.
Beyonce paints a picture of pain by introducing how intuition, denial and anger play a major part in many relationships. Whether the man is cheating and it is a speculation or proven fact, it has become a socially accepted norm for the women to stick around and hold her man down. Generationally, we find women learning to take the cards as they are dealt within a relationship setting as she is reminded of grandfather with the lines: “you remind me of my father, a magician, able to exist in two places at once and in the tradition of men in my blood, you come home at 3a.m. and lie to me.” While love is an euphoric, roller-coaster high that once experienced cannot be describe or replaced with anything alike, love does tends to hurt at its lowest points but it is never intended to lead to a person to being scorned. Lemonade spoke of a women not willingly taking shit or “being walked all over lately,” undoubtedly, to lay a foundation but this by far wasn’t the lasting theme or impression being conveyed.
Lemonade points out the daily struggles of Black women and offers a tribute to their beauty and resilience. Queen Bey, alludes to a concept that perhaps we all have missed and that is Black women are the most forgotten and unappreciated group of people throughout mankind. In recent history they have survived slavery, rape, birth of fatherless children and countless hours in the sun oftentimes, delivering the same levels of work as men. In modern times, black women are the back bone of their families although this fact has not changed much throughout history. Their ability to work jobs full time and financially progress the house hold is amazing. These are the women that cook, clean and let’s not forget, find time to shop, which once the dust settles and we step back and observe their juggling acts and feats, is absolutely amazing! These women are the one’s left to raise children without a strong male figure in the household as the prison industrial complex has taken charge and put so many men behind bars thanks to our good friend, Bill Clinton with the introduction of the 1994 Crime Control bill. These are the women left to shine shit and make gold out of the illegitimate pick of the litter men that never learned how to be a great man and treat his women as a queen. Instead these women are expected to be man and women and do a tremendous job doing both, because the continuation of the race depends so greatly upon the weight put on their shoulders. This is the imagery that Beyonce was alluding to and this is the imagery that we as a people should highlight and embrace.
Beyonce rounds out her wonderful ballad as she gathers a few of today’s bravest Black figures. We see blackness in its chain links of solidarity as flashes of Serena Williams, Sybrina Fulton, Lezley McSpadden and Gwen Carr gallop across the screen while the audio is paid tribute by hip-hop figurine and philanthropist Kendric Lamar. We find Beyonce intimately opening her personal life to the world in a display of imperfect but gentle Black love as she flashes memories that her, Jay-Z and Blue Ivy have shared. This is Lemonade and that is the art she spoke so eloquently about in the recipe of creating Lemonade that her grandmother once used, “First, pour 1 pint of water into a large jug. Then, add 1/2 lb of sugar and the juices of eight lemons into the jug of water. Next, zest half a lemon and add to the jug. Stir. Once mixed, gently pour the water from one jug, then into the other, making sure to do this several times. Finally, strain through a clean napkin. Enjoy.”
When life hands you lemons, make lemonade!