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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Bow down to Queen Bey, ‘Lemonade’ was a masterpiece

In a male-dominated industry flooded with perspectives tokenizing and even dehumanizing women, an artist like Beyoncé has always stood out as an empowering force and voice.

Beyoncé outdid even herself, though, and truly became today’s best artist — while staying true to her roots as a young black woman — when she released hour-long, visual album Lemonade on Saturday, April 23.

The album consists of 12 tracks of all differing genres that take the listener on a journey through pain, disappointment, betrayal and forgiveness. Between the production on each track, collaborations by The Weeknd, Jack White, James Blake and Kendrick Lamar, and the entire visual aspect of the album, Lemonade is masterfully created. She is also credited as a writer and producer on every single song — something almost unheard of for artists of Beyoncé’s caliber in this day and age.

In addition to being incredibly well made and diverse musically, Beyoncé lays her heart and soul into every track. We listen to this woman who has been dragged out and beat up for years in her work and personal life choose to take the pain and reclaim it as power.

The trope of the woman without control living her life only for her husband has not only been well documented through media, but for many years was the only perspective people had on the life of a woman (in addition the stereotype that women are weak because of “emotions” is pervasive in our society, from TV to opinions about presidential candidates, of course).

Beyoncé turns every one of those stereotypes on its head.

In Lemonade, she takes the story of a woman who’s been betrayed and lied to, and demonstrates how much power is in that woman. Beyoncé tells the world that being an emotional woman has made her that much stronger and helped her that much more. She’s warning the world that strong and emotional women are not to be trifled with, and showing young women it’s okay to be emotional — they can channel that emotion into empowerment.

We lack representation of strong black women in the media, and although I cannot speak to or understand the perspectives of being a black woman, I will say the representation of strong black female voices in this visual album is absolutely amazing.

Beyoncé highlights the talent and vulnerability of such perspectives by using the poetry of Warsan Shire, a Somali-British poet, between each song in her visual album. Lemonade also includes appearances from a slew of strong black female voices such as Serena Williams, Quvenzhané Wallis, ballerina Michaela DePrince, Winnie Harlow, Amandla Stenberg, Zendaya and her sister duo Ibeyi. She additionally intertwines shots of New Orleans and even uses excerpts from Malcom X’s “Who Taught You to Hate Yourself?” speech during the visual portion of “Don’t Hurt Yourself.”

Lemonade is Beyoncé’s response to the life, perspectives and pain that she’s been handed. She discusses her husband and marriage, her identity and her experiences being marginalized. Each step of the way she draws you in with her simplicity and truth. In doing all these things, she shows the value in vulnerability.

Lemonade was an act of true power and bravery. Beyoncé has had — and continues to have — a lasting legacy in the music industry. In this album, she took us into the depths of her pain and showed us the power that lies within her. She took stereotypes and pushed back against them. She demonstrated years of racism and sexism all while making a gorgeous piece of art.

We must truly bow to our Queen Bey.

Follow Sabrina Etcheverry on Twitter.

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