BEYONCÉ: When life gives you lemons, you make Lemonade
In less than a month, We are about to release our wiggle and dance to Beyoncé’s new pop-dance record entitled: Renaissance Act 1. It is presumed to top Billboard HOT 200 chart, and receive multiple nominations. And, maybe who knows? A potential Album of the Year Award from the Recording Academy. However, before we set foot onto the new era, let’s look back to one of her monumental albums as we commemorate the era and know what we can learn from Lemonade that gives off a soul-baring message.
Lemonade is a triumph
In April 2016, Beyoncé broke the internet after dropping her sixth visual album entitled: Lemonade. The contemporary R&B album became the best-selling album of the same year, and it garnered a 92 Metacritic score. Despite her losing the award (Album of the Year) to Adele, it is undeniable that the album is a triumph. Its success speaks for itself.
Black Feminism portrayed in Lemonade
Although it purportedly tackles marital infidelity, unpacking the ontological crisis of black womanhood in the American culture is also one of the central themes. Yes, you heard it right, it’s about black feminism; a win for her African-American roots.
She embraced her blackness and paid homage to her African heritage throughout the Lemonade era, manifested in her songs, images, and live performances. She also released a Netflix documentary film of her legendary Coachella 2018 performance. That’s how dedicated she is as an artist.
Profound message from Lemonade’s Images
The consistently conceptualized visuals and images that emanate the whole theme adds perfection to the whole era. Although we are barely unpacking the motifs of the album, we are digging in through a glimpse of themes that are intriguing and noteworthy.
In one of her music videos entitled Hold Up, she showed an image of the stereotyped black woman depicted as an angry woman by society. She stuns in a yellow Roberto Cavalli dress smashing store windows, cars, and cameras. Beyoncé makes a profound and subtle commentary on society’s negative impression of an angry black woman.
The lyrics —“what’s worse, looking jealous or crazy” — allude to Black women brooding over how society perceives their actions as they express their anger and rage, especially in public.
Another image that we should unpack in this era is from the Sorry music video. She rocks afro braids with her face, painted in ‘Ori’ (a sacred Yoruba tradition).
Professor Amy Yeboah said,
“This idea of inscribing who you are on your face and your body is seen throughout the diaspora, and we see that in the use of Yoruba face markings and the women who join Beyoncé on the bus.”
Furthermore, Beyoncé on the bus adduces a woman traveling from civilization to an open field, surrounded by her black sisters — the much-needed solidarity that uplifted her soul after the dreadful journey (as depicted in the narrative in the mv) she had with her partner, the society and herself.
Formation is a love letter
Lastly, her lead single entitled Formation is also something worth delving into. The images pay homage to the black-southern culture. It is a love letter to the beautiful black people. The message revolves around learning to love themselves while finding strength in solidarity which will make them powerful and impalpable.
Lemonade recipe and the message it tells us
“Take 1 pint of water, add a half pound of sugar, the juice of 8 lemons, the zest of half a lemon, pour the water from one jug into the other 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 the instructions down to your own daughter, who then passed it down to her daughter.”From ‘All Night’ MV
words by Warshan Shire
Indeed, a Lemonade recipe is what we need to hurdle adversities in life. These words by Warsan Shire defined the theme and message of Beyoncé for this masterpiece. As humans, it is our nature to confront struggles, pain and issues that breaks our very being but Beyoncé’s Lemonade is here to empower us and push us to move beyond past our pain and struggles.
We are all Lemonade makers; a soul-baring message to remember before we say goodbye to this era.
JV majors in Communication at the Ateneo De Naga University. He has the eye for a great fashion moment and which statement pieces should be talked about, you name it. He's gonna give you everything you need to know—from Runway collections, Fashion Film and History, and Even the Maisons and Atelier’s tenets; he makes sure he gets everything right! Always ready to be vocal and striving for nothing but excellence in his field.