Awake into the wee hours of the morning, propped in bed with a laptop balanced on a pillow, my eyes danced over every square inch of the computer screen as Beyoncé gloriously took her baseball bat to car windows, swung her braided-up hair, bounced her breasts and flipped the bird.
I’m talking about Lemonade i.e. Queen B’s visual album which dropped this week, and made everyone put what they were doing down and watch slack jawed as she flipped it and reversed it.
It was as if we collectively felt the sound of a giant record scratch and all stood awkwardly in awe and faintly aware that something big was happening.
Never have I felt more connected to my fellow humans.
I don’t typically write about the music scene because my discoveries often come by shazaming “new” songs while grocery shopping (see Missy Elliot reference above). But at the risk of outing my pop culture ineptitude and diminishing whatever street cred I’ve accumulated by living in (ok, near) Oakland, I simply can’t drink this lemonade on the sly.
Today I take my place as a drone in the Beyhive and, without shame, will pollinate the Queen’s message in any ear that can handle the buzz.
Sure, from the outset Lemonade appears to be the typical man cheats on woman, woman says deuces, man cries, woman takes him back relationship story. We’re to believe this album is inspired by Jay Z’s philandering with “Becky with the good hair,” cough, Rachel Roy.
This subject in and of itself is not so novel. It’s what Beyoncé does with her pain that puts her on par with greatness.
The cheating, the disillusionment, the death of her belief in true love? She doesn’t waste time pining for what was lost, or proclaiming her self worth. She’s confident in that already. Instead, wait for it … her sorrow becomes fuel for empowering Black Women Everywhere to remember their own fundamental worthiness and beauty.
And, she WILL quote Malcom X to make that point clear.
The lemons we’re handed as Black women are these: Loss of consideration, loss of heritage, loss of honor, “angry” for expressing ourselves, too physically strong and we’re manly, too feminine and we’re primal, can’t keep a man, can’t keep our legs closed, can’t get off the government’s tit, can’t keep a job ….
With each shattered car window Beyoncé said, call me crazy, but this is some bullshit.
“When you hurt me you hurt yourself,” she sings, and it’s not hard to believe she’s referencing discrimination and its impact on society.
Lemonade features all shades and shapes of brown, radiant in their unbleached, unprocessed hair, celebrating their heritage, owning the hip grind and walking ass to ass into the morning dawn.
It’s poetic. It’s irreverent. It’s magic.
I watched this wrapped in threadbare sheets so thin I’d worn a hole in them weeks ago. In my ghetto fabulosity (it’s a word), I rotated the sheet to the other side to avoid ripping them further throughout the night.
Beyoncé made me question this.
Why has barely enough become good enough? What am I accepting because I believe I don’t deserve more, and more importantly, where did I learn this?
I purchased my first set of 100-percent Egyptian Cotton sheets as soon as the credits rolled. I did this not because I’m trying to “fake it ‘til I make it” or because I’ve been seduced by the Queen’s glitter and gloss. These sheets are just for me.
When I go to sleep I’ll receive a hug in the form of the nicest linens I’ve ever owned reminding me to put my own love on top.
Thank you, B.