Wasted Lemons: Reflections on Lemonade

Let’s talk about the hour plus long adventure that is Beyonce’s new visual album, Lemonade (I’m watching as I write, so if this post seems a bit bipolar, that’s why). In my opinion, it’s pretty amazing… in spots…

My problem is that it seems like it might be a waste of her talent. The poetry between songs/chapters is absolutely stunning and particularly deep, and yet it seems so very out of place next to images of Queen Bey driving a monster truck over cars she’s just destroyed, and it seems so petty once you realize that this is an entire album putting her business out there for the world to realize that she was indeed cheated on by Jay-Z.

Furthermore, lines like “I plugged my menses with pages from the holy book,” don’t belong in the same universe as a line like “Who the f*ck you think I is?”

Of course, maybe that’s because Beyonce didn’t write the poetry

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Warsan Shire is the poet credited with writing the really deep, beautiful poems between songs, which in my opinion are much more poignant and considerably better than Beyonce’s lyrics.

Yeah, not a popular opinion, I’m sure.

Anyone remember how frustrated I was with the Queen Bey when she politicized the Super Bowl in a way that glorified the negative aspects of the African American civil rights movement? In short, I felt like she was glorifying the stereotype of the angry Black person, which further divides the people of this country by color instead of bringing us together in peace and harmony.

Let me be clear, I’ve never thought we should forget the atrocities that have happened in the past. They happened; we can’t just forget them, but we can strive to heal each other and embrace each other recognizing our similarities instead of forcing each other only to acknowledge our differences.

What she did at the Super Bowl this past February was more about dividing us than healing us. This new album seems to be more of that… to a point.

With this new album Beyonce attempts a visual event that is somewhat reminiscent of the days when Michael Jackson used to tell whole stories with his albums. I vaguely remember watching the Michael Jackson videos as a family and enjoying the stories that he told with them.

They were entertaining!

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Whereas Michael Jackson’s movies told a linear story with the songs adding to the overall experience, Beyonce’s version seems unable to determine what it is.

On the one hand, it’s very deep, higher level, cerebral, art-house level poetry.

On the other hand, it’s a visual documentary of the different… I don’t want to stay caricatures of African American culture because I don’t think that’s accurate, but I’m struggling with finding the right word. She emphasizes the thug in one song, but then shows images of women dressed in historical style dresses in front of what could well have been slave quarters in another. In yet another, she has women adorned with face paint that may or may not be traditional for some African tribe partying on a bus.

And at the center of it all, Beyonce is telling the world about the infidelity of her husband. She’s monopolizing on the reality television generation’s need to know about every aspect of a celebrity’s life.

And at the center of that, she is showing that men cheat and we as women pretty much accept it.

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It’s a little hypocritical of me to say anything about it at all given how I handled the situation with the Bartender; doubly so because I, too, put it all on here for the world to see, but maybe that gives me more right to point out what we’re both doing. We let men disrespect us, and then we take them back, after they toss us aside like used up toys, and if they appear to be repentant enough, we forgive them.

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If not, we put their infidelity on display in the hopes that they’ll learn some sort of lesson from it.

In reality, all we’re teaching men is that it’s okay to use us as they see fit, because we form these attachments that make us willing to forgive the hurt. Even Bey is trying to prove to her cheating man that he is deserving of love. In one part, she tells him that he is the love of her life, after asking him why he would deny himself love/heaven.

I did the same thing with the Bartender. Trying to show him that because I loved him and he loved me that by pushing me away all he was doing was hurting the both of us. I even wrote a post about how I was going to teach him that he deserved to be loved, because he was a good person…

A good person cheating on his wife and lying to his girlfriend… And who subsequently hurt me to the point that I wanted to, and DID, lash out in anger and hurt to both teach him a lesson and tell his wife what sort of scum she was married to.

Yet, let me be honest with myself, if he’d have come back, I’d probably have taken him back. Why? Because he chose me and he, like all people, does deserve love, and I don’t think he really understands and realizes that… Then again, maybe neither do I.

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How is that right? That they hurt us and we see it as a cry for help, and spend our energy trying to heal them?!

And now Beyonce has created an entire album basically saying that is the way it should be. She goes through, detailing (metaphorically) how her man’s infidelity broke them up and how she overcame it to embrace him and his love. Her “torturer became [her] remedy.”

Meanwhile, the other woman is being blasted. Rachel Roy, the woman who is supposedly “Becky with the good hair,” commented on her social media and the “Bey-hive” attacked her so badly she had to make her Instagram private to avoid all the hate.

Yeah, she was wrong, but why are we still giving the man a pass?

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I enjoyed the music. Believe it or not, I really did!

I just don’t think it was as amazing and wonderful as the rest of the world seems to think it is.

I think it gives the message that women should take back men who have wronged us. I think it further divides us by furthering the agenda that all women are competition for each other. I think the poetry is better than the lyrics. I think Queen Bey is trying too hard to try out new styles.

She wants to be edgy, and I don’t think it works. I think it’s just muddled. She’s thugged out in one song, while trying to do country and western style music in another.

Side note on that, there was an article saying it wasn’t country… I disagree. The lyrics and the style are very country… once we get past the zydeco section at the very beginning. She does not have that country twang that makes it sound country, and so doesn’t come across as country music… Hence, I say it’s muddled.

If you missed it on HBO, the cheapest best way to see it right now is to sign up for Tidal. They have a 30 day free trial.

What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

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4 thoughts on “Wasted Lemons: Reflections on Lemonade

  1. Thank you! I feel like I’m the only person out there not falling all over themselves about lemonade. And I have much dislike over the whole “beyhive” aiming their hate at the other party, but yet have nothing to say to Jay-Z for his infidelity. It’s refreshing to read this.

    • You’re certainly not the only one, but there are probably many people who are afraid to speak out against it because of the animosity of the “Beyhive.” They’re as bad as Trump supporters!

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