As soon as Beyoncé’s 2016 visual album, Lemonade, had been released I tuned into Tidal to see what the album had to stay for itself and was completely astounded by the entire production. If I could describe Lemonade using one word I would struggle, so I’ll use a few: heart-stirring, incredible, emotionally engaging, provocative and comforting. Lemonade is not only visually captivating but is lyrically inspiring. Bey’ has definitely done it again! The album, through its stunning visuals and heartfelt lyrics vividly presents the journey from pain to purpose; from fragility to obtaining unbreakable strength through struggle.
The spoken word between each song has a profound impact on the album as a whole, providing a truly raw yet artistic insight into the black woman’s struggle. Some of the Poems were written by Warsan Shire, an award-winning Somali-British poet, teacher and editor; we also hear selected parts of Malcolm X’s speech on Protecting Black Women. Lemonade is not only one of Beyoncé’s most publicly intimate albums, it unequivocally reinforces the message that “Black Lives Matter”.
The album is essentially a 1 hour, 5 minute and 22 second long video, made up of a series of videos, each depicting a stage in the natural healing process. Whether a person’s healing is a result of pain caused by the deterioration of a relationship, facing daily adversity, or mourning a loved one, this album will encourage people to be able to “grow through” the trials and tribulations they may “go through”.
Don’t Hurt Yourself, a Rock number featuring Jack White follows the title ‘Anger’ on the album and I must say this is where Beyoncé really surprises me, showcasing a whole new level of versatility with this ballsy, electrifying track.
Aside from showcasing her versatility as an artist, throughout the album Beyoncé flaunts the versatility of natural hair once again (like she did in the video for her single ‘Formation’) as she switches hairstyles in almost every scene! Bey’s celebration of natural hair, black beauty and black culture is truly encouraging. Lemonade illustrates the importance of loving yourself completely, being unapologetically black and unapologetically beautiful which leads me to the cameo from Miss Serena Williams! Wow, Serena Williams who has been the topic of many twitter conversations due to her physique, looked absolutely phenomenal in ‘Sorry’ by Beyoncé as she fluttered like a freshly evolved butterfly around Bey. From her hair and makeup to the flattering pieces she wears, Serena keeping it fun, sophisticated, and sexy in this video is a true embodiment of femininity.
In the may 2016 issue of ELLE magazine Beyoncé was asked in an interview “what do you want to accomplish with the next phase of your career?” Bey replied “I hope I can create art that helps people heal. Art that makes people feel proud of their struggle. Everyone experiences pain, but sometimes you need to be uncomfortable to transform.” I feel like with the launch of Ivy Park, Bey’s fitness and lifestyle brand and Lemonade she has definitely accomplished this. Beyoncé firmly solidifies her feminist role by continuing to empower women, both physically with Ivy Park and mentally with her music.