It’s only been two weeks since the release of Beyoncé’s LEMONADE, but I think it’s safe to say that the world will never look at the sweet, yet sour, drink the same way again. If you were one to catch the “Formation” video before it was exclusively available on TIDAL, then you could easily tell that this project was just a continuation of it, but much more raw than the girl-power anthem. The film has 11 chapters and every last one is filled with a powerful message that she has had yet to convey. But she did it so effortlessly and it took the world by storm, and here are my thoughts on it…
In this stage, it’s suggested that her intuition lets her know that something is wrong, as she asks the question, “Where do you go when you go quiet?” This question is a commonly asked one between partners because no matter how “unpredictable” a man makes himself out to be, they are creatures of habit, and we notice (but don’t always take heed) to changes in their behavior. This begins the emotional journey she’s about to begin…
In denial, she jumps from a rooftop in an effort to end her misery that has only just begun. Yet instead of being splattered on the pavement, she ends up in a room submerged in water. During this scene, she says that she fasted, wore white, abstained from mirrors and sex — all in an effort hold on to what she feels she’s losing. Yet it doesn’t work, and that causes the rage that follows…
At this point of the film, she begins to let out her anger after accepting the denial she put herself through. This is also the part that got everyone buzzing about infidelity in her marriage when she performs “Don’t Hurt Yourself” and says, “This is your final warning…you know I give you life…if you try this shit again, you gone lose yo wife.” Yet being the queen of secrecy that she is, she never addresses if it is or not. But we all know better, right?
In this chapter, Bey shows her lack of interest and lets us know that she’s on the verge of leaving and doesn’t care about his feelings because she’s numb to the pain that she’s been through. When she performs “Sorry”, she’s saying that she’s not sorry for being fed up and focusing on what’s best for her — even if that means leaving him behind.
With more spoken word, she speaks about the emptiness that is felt when a woman givers herself to a man mentally, emotionally, and even sexually – only to be betrayed in the process.
This is where she focuses on the importance of fathers (especially Black fathers) and the impact they have on their daughters. With the song “Daddy’s Lessons”, the emotion is strong as she showcases positive images of Black fathers whom are active in their children’s lives. She also plays clips from her childhood with her father, Matthew Knowles, whom she spoke about publicly about a fallout she had with him. But it ends on a positive note with a clip of Matthew playing with granddaughter, Blue Ivy.
In this section, she speaks about the “reformation” of a broken relationship, and that with proper care, it could be strong enough again to “move a mountain”. But in order for this to come to fruition, sincere reparation for the wrong doing must first occur.
This is the moment where she wants to reconcile, but only if it will be eminent, sincere, and true. But just as she states in “Sandcastles” – “every promise don’t work out that way”. Also, another pivotal moment during this scene is the cameo made by Jay-Z, who was probably the most hated man on Twitter up until that point. But his appearance was a sigh of relief and calmed the Beyhive down and everything started to return back to normal.
#BlackGirlMagic is prominent in this scene as she has beautiful Black women pose for a portrait. And there were even cameos from young women such as Zendaya, Amandla Stenberg, Quvenzhané Wallis, and the sister act Chloe & Halle. Another prominent issue in this segment was the Black Lives Matter movement, where Beyoncé paid homage to Black men that were victims of police brutality. She does this by featuring the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and Mike Brown.
In this moment, Beyoncé is standing on a stage in front of an audience full of women as she performs “Freedom” (which is another politically charged and emotional song), with a feature from the amazing lyricist Kendrick Lamar. One of the most outstanding lyrics was, “I’ma keep running cuz a winner don’t quit on themselves.” And it is with that line that you realize (if you hadn’t already) this is about much more than infidelity, but survival in life – PERIOD.
This is where she talks about healing and starting again. It is in this moment that she shows different forms (and shades) of love – hence the happy ending we all desire. There’s also a clip from Jay-Z’s grandmother, Hattie, 90th birthday party where she states, “I had my ups and downs, but I always find the inner strength to pull myself up. I was served lemons, but I made lemonade.” And as women, isn’t that what we always do with all that life throws at us?
In conclusion, not only was the short film an ode to women, but an emotional ballad for Black women everywhere, as she gave recognition to them by using an excerpt from Malcolm X’s “Who Taught You to Hate Yourself?” In it, he states, “The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.”
But whether you’re a Beyoncé fan or not, there is no doubt that this is one of her best works yet. She addresses the stages that we all have felt and gone through when infidelity happens in a relationship. She does it with so much emotion, that you can’t help but want to give her a hug and tell her it’s going to be ok and that it’ll get better. For most women, this piece speaks to us so deeply and if you’re not careful, it can bring back some painful memories. Beyoncé has already made her mark on the world, and after this wonderful piece of art, I doubt her reign will let up anytime soon.
Peace, Love, Blessings, & Hugs