By: Janai Gee
“I was served lemons, but I made lemonade.” — Hattie White, Jay-Z’s grandmother
Beyonce showed the world her eleven stages of grief in her visual album Lemonade that premiered on Saturday April 23, 2016 at 9 p.m. on HBO. These stages Intuition, Denial, Anger, Apathy, Emptiness, Accountability, Reform, Forgiveness, Resurrection, Hope, and Redemption are representing a cycle of pain that Beyonce went through and represents what every black woman goes through as well.
Lemonade starts out with Intuition which features Beyonce talking about the men in her life coming back home to her at three in the morning while lying to her about his whereabouts. In the next chapter Denial, she questions her marriage with Jay-Z. “Are you cheating on me?” is repeated over and over as she opens a door wearing a pretty yellow gown as water flows out.
The Queen Bey is outraged with anger. With the famous “Hot Sauce” quote from Formation on her bat, she smashes a car window. Lemonade takes place in New Orleans. Bayous, plantation houses with the muddy, cloudy look that is everywhere. There’s a lot of deep southern culture with clothing and accessories. The South holds a symbol for African Americans. It’s where the slaves were tortured to work in the fields or in the house of their owners. The South also holds a history of music like jazz and blues, soul food like collard greens, fried chicken and red beans and rice. The South holds a special meaning to black culture and will remain forever.
Beyonce had the Black Lives Matter movement shown with special guests, Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, and Lesley McSpadden the mother of Michael Brown. She demonstrates her political beliefs strongly about police brutality to the black mothers who lost their sons as they hold up their pictures to the screen. This is very important because it shows the world what happened to these women who lost the most important people in their lives, their sons were unarmed, innocent young boys that died from being shot from policemen. This fits in with the cycle of grief.
Lemonade also recognizes the importance of confidence every black female in the world should have. African American women have been impacted on the image of what beauty looks like, fighting a system that marginalizes black women of what they should be and not what they should become. Influential guests that also faced harsh criticism from society made special appearances in the album, like the model, Winnie Harlow who has a skin condition, Vitiligo. Harlow aims to show people that her skin condition doesn’t make her ugly to show other females that the skin they are in doesn’t make them ugly either. Tennis player, Serena Williams dances next to Queen B as she sits on her throne in the song, “Sorry”. Williams shows her confidence to the people that made ignorant comments about her body and demonstrates that she “Ain’t Sorry” to anyone. “Lemonade” was ranked No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, in the week ending on April 28, proving that it was the most popular album in the U.S. Her songs feature guest singers like James Blake in “Forward,” the Weeknd in “6 Inch,” and Kendrick Lamar in “Freedom.”
Each song in the album shows how women reform after relationships are strained, a loved one passes away, or someone deals with problems that seem to never end. Beyonce mentions in her album that her rapper husband Jay-Z has cheated on her, stating, “He only want me when I’m not there/ He better call Becky with the good hair.” This created chaotic questions from the BeyHive fans and the whole internet, who were wondering, “who is ‘Becky?’” Rumours have been going around saying that designer Rachel Roy is “Becky,” after she posted a picture of her with her friends on instagram with the caption “Good hair don’t care, but we will take good lighting, for selfies, or self truth always, live in the life #nodramaqueens” just hours later after Lemonade premiered.
Regardless of what the rumours say, Beyonce’s pain expressed in the album has been an inspiration to a lot of women who have faced similar struggles.
Many people follow pop culture and look to Beyonce as a role model. The pop icon has taken on a new role as an activist, inspiring people to persevere through all the bad times in life, because sooner or later life will get better. Women have the strength and courage to rise above. Through this album, Beyonce shows that, like making lemonade, a relationship can be sour at first, but if you keep working to make it better, eventually it could be sweeter in the end.