Yes, this is indeed another article about the great and powerful Beyoncé Knowles. You may be thinking, “my God, why is everyone so obsessed with this woman?” And I understand, the pop-culture world is pretty Beyoncé-saturated. Saturday Night Live even parodied the mania surrounding the pop star with the 2014 digital short, “The Beygency”. But despite the occasionally overwhelming buzz, the Beyhive is swarming for good reason. And in 2016, Queen B made something even better than honey. She made Lemonade.
When Adele was awarded the Grammy for Album of the Year for 25, she graciously thanked her family and those who worked on the album, but she partially ceded the award to the artist she thought truly deserved it, Beyoncé. “What the f**k does she have to do to win album of the year?” she implored in a backstage interview with the press. She explained herself saying, “the Grammys are very traditional, but I thought this year would be the year that they would kind of go with the tide.” While I cannot really say it better than those who have said it before me, I can echo Adele’s sentiment that Lemonade was monumental.
Lemonade is more than just good music. As Nylon Magazine contributor, Sydney Gore, writes, Lemonade is a “love letter from Beyoncé to black women.” She writes, “Beyoncé artistically shows what it means to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders when no one else is willing to help with the loads of depression, heartbreak, and anger that come with it”. With only 12 songs, Beyoncé takes the listener through a black woman’s narrative of defeat, resentment, redemption and revival.
The last black woman to have won the coveted Album of the Year award was Lauryn Hill, whose 1999 album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, also seemed like a powerful exhibition of black feminism. It has been more than 16 years since the release of Hill’s album, and her themes of blackness and womanism are still relevant. In fact they are urgent. With Lemonade, Beyoncé beautifully and thoughtfully launched herself into a cannon of black artists claiming their space in the world. Lemonade is a beautiful, innovative and “soul-baring” (to use Adele’s words) interpretation of the black experience and it winning the Album of the Year would have been a victory for everyone.
Some great articles that that explain why Lemonade is great better than I can:
“Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ is a Revolutionary Work of Black Feminism: Critic’s Notebook” by Miriam Bale (http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/7341839/beyonce-lemonade-black-feminism)
“‘Lemonade’ is a Love Letter from Beyoncé to Black Women” by Sydney Gore (http://www.nylon.com/articles/beyonce-lemonade-review)
“Beyoncé’s Lemonade is about much more than Jay Z and infidelity” by Ijeoma Oluo (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/apr/25/beyonce-lemonade-j…)