It’s been almost 2 years since Beyoncé’s Lemonade album came out in 2016, but that doesn’t mean we’re done talking about it! While surely the album has its critics, it is also an incredible album that addresses issues surrounding feminism, race, and intersectionality. I hate to admit that I just discovered the wider social applications of this album upon researching topics for a discussion on diversity and inclusion, but my mind has been blown! So, I thought I would share some of my findings with you in hopes it may spark some conversation topics and inspire you to jam out to some Queen Bey!
1. Intersectional feminism: Beyoncé’s added another layer onto “If I Were a Boy” and “Single Ladies” by embracing her Blackness. The majority of women in her videos for this album are women of color.
2. Police brutality: Particularly in the “Formation” video where Beyoncé is featured on a sinking New Orleans police car. Both Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown’s mothers are also featured in the video holding pictures of their sons. In addition, Black history is visually represented with the use of plantation houses. There are so many other powerful lyrics and visuals throughout this video–check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDZJPJV__bQ
3. The multiple emotions you experience! As Rolling Stone said, the album take you through intuition, denial, anger, apathy, emptiness, accountability, reformation, forgiveness, resurrection, hope, and redemption.
4. This message from her grandmother–when life gives you lemons, make lemonade… “Take one pint of water, add a half pound of sugar, the juice of eight lemons, the zest of half lemon. Pour the water into one, then to another several times. Strain through a clean napkin. Grandmother. The alchemist. You spun gold out of this hard life. Conjured beauty from the things left behind. Found healing where it did not live. Discovered the antidote in your own kitchen. Broke the curse with your own two hands. You passed these instructions down to your daughter, who then passed them down to her daughter.”
Lastly, I thought it is relevant to mention that Beyoncé did receive some criticism after this album came out due to the fact that she had been relatively silent on social justice issues prior to Lemonade’s release. Also a good topic of conversation, and I will leave you with this SNL skit about it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ociMBfkDG1w