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Beyonce, My Daddy and Me: The Blackness of “Lemonade”

Get that sh*t off my TV! 

No, for real! This is perhaps the mildest version of my daddy running my sisters and I away from the TV whenever he saw us watching anything Beyonce related. The gyrating, vulgarity, nakedness, vile lyrics and, to him, blatant disrespect of a woman’s body was all she was about. A woman, who he thought, only used her body and “struggly” voice to sell millions of albums and influence even more minds. He hated Beyonce, not the woman, but the act she played for the world. For many years now, he’s been so heavy into African religion, culture and tradition; teaching us constantly about the Black man and Black woman’s place in this world. He loves to talk about where we came from, where we are now and how we got here. He’s a staunch proponent of awakening Black people to our strengths, our power, our resilience, how we’ve been wronged and how to make it right. The very things much of today’s music refuse to speak about.

So I was very perplexed when I got a phone call the other morning from him, asking me if I’d watched “Lemonade,” Beyonce’s latest visual album. Why does he care? Doesn’t he despise this woman? For him, she exposed young girls (like his innocent daughters :)) to sex, drugs and booty shaking for all the wrong reasons. But after watching Lemonade, he’s a part of the beyhive…or at least a fan! With so much being said about who and what the album is or isn’t about, after watching it the first time, I knew there was so much more to it than met the eye. So I went to the one person who could help me break this down on a more conscious level…my daddy!

This album almost brought me to tears! 

WHAT?! Doesn’t he despise her? Here’s a man who was anti everything Bootylicious, Flawless, 7/11 and everything Beyonce, now praising what he calls her musical genius and spiritual awakening. And I could see it! For me…

Lemonade strikes a chord so deeply rooted in my Blackness, it awakens the Mother Africa in me, my queendom is excited and my womanhood rejuvenated. I am in formation hunny…not for the entertainment of it either, but for the Black, consciousness it represents!

For my daddy, Lemonade is all about a spiritual awakening in Beyonce and soon…the world.

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This album shows that she’s transcending on a spiritual level and she’s taking all of us with her. She’s expressing her personal understanding about hurt, while making a political and personal statement. She touched on all the things a Black woman goes through in America and around the world. You know I’m no Beyonce fan, but I love this album. I watched the whole thing.

I know what I’m seeing in her. Look at the evolution in her and where she came from; booty shaking, singing about foolishness. Even if she did that just to sell records at that time, that still shows that she’s now bold enough to have put herself out there for ridicule just to get where she is now.

I know what I get from it when I watch it because a lot of it I can relate to, I’m into what she’s portraying and that’s African, that’s blackness. I’ve seen the articles about Rachel Roy and Jay-Z and all that but these people who only see that aspcet are lost. She’s using her platform to speak to Black people, she’s now showing a level of consciousness; social consciousness, social awareness and social awakening. What she needs to do is a part 2 to show them that, ‘This is what I meant to do. I will let this reverberate and I’m going to say this again and again. If you didn’t get it the first time, I will say it again.’

Who’s supposed to speak on our behalf? Who’s supposed to speak on behalf of a Black woman today? If it wasn’t for slavery we would have never lost sight that the Black woman is God and was always revered as God. The fact that Beyonce now has to speak out on all of our behalf shows that the Black man has lost his way because the Black woman never had to speak for our race, the men did that. Women now have to stand on their own.

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I was impressed with what she said on this album, I’m impressed with her. I’ve never intently watched her one second in my life, but I watched this entire album. You have to listen to the words, but also listen to what she’s not saying.

Someone who knows about African history has been talking to her and I could tell because I know African history. The painting on the faces, the voodoo references, which people think is evil, but it’s really not, it comes from the word voodon which is simply your inner voice, your inner spirit, your inner divinity. But that’s been taken to mean something evil and “black.” Look at what she’s wearing; African garbs, African inspired clothing and jewelry, look at the hairstyles. Beyonce is wearing an ankh, the oldest ancient symbol known to man, she could’ve worn a cross, that still shows some level of white supremacy, but she wore an ankh. That’s the womb, that’s life, that’s the phallic symbol, that’s Black!

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She’s doing something that Janet Jackson, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston and all the other Black artists should’ve. Could you imagine if Whitney Houston was conscious when she had the world in the palm of her hand?

The fact that Beyonce quoted Malcolm X in this album lets me know what she’s into and that’s standing up for our rights and not being sorry about it and not going down without a fight. If you don’t think this video is conscious, aware and awakening, then something is wrong with you.

Beyonce is acting like Queen Nzinga, and Queen Nefertiti, the women who ruled this world back in the day and were unapologetic for their blackness. 

You know I used to be hard on her but once you’re talking Black, I’m listening.

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Whew!!!!! Broken down that way, I totally get it! I get that, being the master of symbolism and metaphor that she is, that Lemonade goes way deeper than her marital, family and life issues and shows that these may have very well been the things that “woke” her up! The trials and triumphs she had to go through to reconnect with the queen in her, to summon the Black power she possesses and in turn getting us all in formation to see our own! Of course I didn’t need a Beyonce album to know all of this, but when you have an album with 13 beautiful songs and a 1 hour, 5 minute and 32 second video it gives you that “ah ha!” moment. I really am no Beyonce stan, but Lemonade is something special.

I love how this article breaks down all the African references to Lemonade.

Do you agree that Beyonce is more socially aware and it’s bleeding out of her new album?

In case you were wondering…here’s daddy and me!

 

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