I had to sit back and let the hype die down before weighing in on Beyoncé’s new visual album, Lemonade– arguably her greatest work of art to date. As a day-one fan and proud member of the Beyhive, I wanted my critique to be short and as sweet as mama’s lemonade. I’ll spare you the lengthy, opinionated, and borderline political essay that I’m sure you’ve already read on just about every media entity. I’ll just share my thoughts on the chart-topping masterpiece in a list.
- The cultural pride was everything. Beyoncé is a black woman, and she’s proud of it. I never doubted this, but in case anyone else did, Lemonade took a bold cultural stance, full of all the beautiful and flawless blackness that one could ask for from one of the most commercial mega-stars on the planet. I love that cultural pride was one of the strongest themes of the project, with tracks like “Formation” and “Freedom” (feat. Kendrick Lamar).
- Feminism, vulnerability, and infidelity. Queen Bey has identified as a feminist for the longest, but judging by Lemonade, she knows a thing or two about being vulnerable. With lyrics like, “I’m not too perfect to ever feel this worthless,” the Queen hints at feeling like shit in a relationship just like any other woman probably has at least once in her life. She sings of the pains of infidelity and the hesitation of putting pride aside in favor of forgiveness. Besides, “what’s worst, looking jealous or crazy, jealous or crazy, or like, being walked all over lately, walked all over lately?” I’d rather be crazy too, Bey. “Don’t hurt yourself,” Jay Z.
- Genres for days. Lemonade is not a mere pop album, created for the sole purpose of commercial success (Well, knowing Beyoncé, it literally could be a PR stunt to expand her empire). This album features an array of musical genres including, R&B, hip-hop, blues, country, soul, and rock. With a modest 12-tracks, versatility is an understatement.
- An ode to black women. From Malcom X audio clips to powerful images of the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, and Eric Garner holding photos of their deceased sons, Beyoncé made it clear that this was an album for black women. She juxtaposed solidarity with pride.
- Unapologetically, Beyoncé. Effortlessly stylish. The woman slayed Lemonade, the album and the film. Raw emotion and stellar fashion permeated the film. Who can forget that yellow, Roberto Cavalli dress that Beyoncé wore as she smashed windows and cameras with a baseball bat?