On April 21, 2016 the world had to say goodbye to legendary artist Prince. It was a devastating day for the music industry, with many mourning the tragic loss. About two days later, Beyoncé Knowles released her sixth studio album called Lemonade, proving to us that there are still legends walking on this Earth and ready to serve. And ladies and gentlemen, the lemonade has definitely been served.
This will be her second visual album in her career and it has the word masterpiece written all over it. Beyonce gave us glimpses of so many different genres, ranging from R&B, pop, gospel, and trap. She not only gave us practically every genre, she also worked with a diverse group of artists. Producer James Blake, Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, and Jack White all contributed elements of success to her songs.
Beyoncé made the decision to set up her songs in a categorical order so she could tell the story of how an African American woman can successfully make it through the process of healing. Each song had a certain theme or reasoning and it was visible, this caused her to divide the visual into eleven segments.
The eleven segments were titled Intuition, Denial, Anger, Apathy, Emptiness, Accountability, Reformation, Hope, and Redemption. In other words, these were her eleven stages of grievances, hurt, forgiveness, and spirituality. This unapologetic and artistic way of expressing her pain truly resonated with listeners. She made people uncomfortable, because they were learning something about her that seemed so intimate.
The line, “God is God and I am not” from Don’t Hurt Yourself was particularly interesting. This line is meant to express that people look at Beyoncé like she’s some kind of goddess, when really she’s still human, and she still can be vulnerable when she wants to. She is proving to people that she is still aware of her feelings and that they can’t be hidden. Beyoncé can be anything in the world because she is imperfect, and that’s the beauty of this album. Anybody, no matter what race, gender, or age can relate to the message behind this visual album.
The girl empowerment conveyed by Beyoncé was equally unbelievable. She not only spoke about females standing up for themselves in Hold Up (s song where a woman knows her worth and her control, not needing a man and a man will always need her), Don’t Hurt Yourself, and Sorry, but she never failed to show her understanding of the hurt felt by many African American women. To openly acknowledge what they go through in everyday in America takes the support black feminism to a whole different level.
From her lyrics to the scenes in her video, everything was very symbolic to African Americans. Especially when she addressed the Black Lives Matter movement with sample footage of Malcom X talking about the treatment of blacks in America.
Beyoncé is the kind of artist who can give a voice to those who don’t have the ability to speak out. People can hear their own stories in the narratives she creates. The best part of the album is that she stuck to her roots. In the song Daddy Lessons, Beyoncé touches on her father teaching her how to be her own person. Despite it being her first country song, it seemed to flow perfectly with her album.
She didn’t make this album for only her fans, but herself. This was amazing because sometimes artists forget who they are once they make it big. But with this album, Beyonce told people that even she is human, and can experience heartbreak, sorrow, and happiness. Lemonade is truly a testament to female endurance and the resilience of the human spirit.